Watching a movie in a theater gives us a better experience than watching the same movie at home. But I never knew how much better it could be with the latest cinema sound technology until I was invited to watch The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 in Dolby Atmos at Cathay, JEM last weekend. The audio experience was truly beyond my expectation!
We all know Dolby as the leading global developer of audio, imaging and voice technologies for cinema, home theaters, PCs, mobile phones, and games. Dolby brings us true-to-life audio and visual experiences that are more real and intense.
Dolby Atmos is the latest innovation in movie theater sound. It’s a cutting-edge, sound technology that gives audience a powerful and dramatic new listening experience with more natural, realistic, immersive and 360 degree sound.
Before the movie began, we watched a short clip that explained how Dolby Sound System has evolved through the years to create the most realistic surround sounds. It was very interesting and informative.
From Dolby in Film, Dolby Stereo, Dolby Surround, Dolby Digital 5.1 and Dolby Digital 7.1 to the latest Dolby Atmos, this technology is the most complete surround sound system to date, employing up to 64 speakers, with some speakers laid directly overhead the audiences, allowing the filmmakers to position and move sounds around the cinema with its Pan-through array feature.
Instead of dividing the surround sound into zones of grouped speakers like 5.1 and 7.1, it is now zoned by each individual speaker which can carry different sounds from the other speakers. It gives the impression of sound travelling from one end of the cinema, to above the audience (which has not been done before), and then behind them to create the most realistic sound impression.
Internationally renowned directors like Ang Lee (Life of Pi), Wong Kar Wai (The Grandmaster) and Gareth Edwards (Godzilla) have chosen this powerful new listening experience for their movies. With Dolby Atmos, they can precisely position and move sounds anywhere in a theater to heighten the realism and impact of every scene.
After watching The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1, I can fully understand why filmmakers around the world are embracing Dolby Atmos technology. For the audience, it’s not just about the loudness that immerses them into a movie, but the design of the sound that they can actually ‘feel’.
First of all, I love the fact that the dialogue always remains crisp and clear. Secondly, the action sequences and explosions are greatly enhanced with sounds coming from all directions, including overhead, with astonishing clarity, richness, details and depth.
One of the best examples is the war scenes in District 8. It was really immersive and completely out-of-this-world! The movement of the sounds makes me felt like the planes were zooming pass my head, and the bombs just exploded in front of my eyes. I can really feel the devastation of the wrecked District 8.
The scene where Katniss shot down a hovercraft with a single arrow and had it crashed into the hospital made me particularly excited. The multi-sensory sound carries the weight of that action and the seriousness of what the character was trying to achieve. Dolby Atmos greatly enhances the impact and intensity of that scene.
There are also multiple scenes where ‘peacekeepers’ gun down rebel civilians. The gun shots sound so astounding, I felt like I was part of the movie. It really brings me the thrills I’ve never experienced before.
This movie isn’t your typical children’s firm; the storyline is too difficult for Edison to understand. Nonetheless, he was completely amazed with the audio and visual experiences. In a particular scene where buildings were under attack from the capital, he felt like the deafening roars of the planes and their missiles were coming from his overhead. It was a truly exciting experience for him.
What are Dolby Atmos benefits?
- Delivers a powerful and dramatic cinema-sound listening experience (high definition, clarity in sound, multi-dimensional and 360-degree)
- Allows sounds to move around the theater to create dynamic effects
- Reproduces a natural and life-like audio experience that perfectly matches the story
- Adds overhead speakers for the most realistic effects you’ve ever heard
- Reflects the artist’s original intent, regardless of theater setup
- Employs up to 64 channels (vs. 7 channels in a regular theater) to heighten the realism of every scene
Therefore, I highly recommend watching a movie in Dolby Atmos for that out-of-this-world mind blowing experience of being fully immersed in the movie. Like Dolby’s promo said, ‘Feel Every Dimension in Dolby Atmos’. With the multi-dimensional and realistic experience, you can easily transport yourself into the movie.
As we walked out of the theater, I heard my boy said, “Wow… what an exciting show! Shall we do it again?” Yes, that certainly warrants us another trip to experience Dolby Atmos again. We want to experience the captivating cinematic experience again for sure!
I hope to see Disney and Pixar animation films in Dolby Atmos in the near future. Toy Story, The Incredibles, Monsters, Inc. and A Bug’s Life, just to name a few. They are all our favourite animation films – suitable for audience of all ages. I will definitely be the first to experience Dolby Atmos with my family.
And the good news is – we can bring this exciting Dolby Atmos experience home with the Onkyo Dolby Atmos speakers. To find out more about Dolby Atmos and other sound Dolby-related technology, please visit DolbyAsia Facebook Page at http://facebook.com/DolbyAsia.