Dolby has partnered with Sathyam cinemas in Chennai to launch the first Dolby Atmos technology enabled theater in India. The Sathyam Serene in Chennai becomes the first theater in India to be equipped with Dolby’s new object oriented sound technology. Along with this, Sivaji 3D becomes the first Indian movie to have its audio mastered with Dolby’s new technology. While no changes were made to original film, the audio was re-mastered in Dolby Atmos. Also Read - OnePlus Nord 2 is a rebranded version of Realme X9 Pro, launch next month: Report
Dolby calls Atmos a new audio platform, which is wildly different from the traditional surround sound setup consumers are used to. The idea is to provide a more realistic and natural sound experience. Object oriented sound goes well beyond the traditional channel based sound by creating points of objects in the sound field that can controlled independently rather than having an entire channel with a particular sound. Also Read - Battlegrounds Mobile India new teaser released: It reveals launch date is getting closer
Apart from giving more control to the content creator, Atmos allows for overhead speakers creating a more realistic sound field. Additionally there can be up to 64 speakers that are controlled individually. Also Read - E3 2021 Ubisoft Forward: Far Cry 6, Just Dance 2022, Watch Dogs: Legion Bloodline and more
An advantage of Atmos technology is that it is a scalable platform that takes into account the size of theater and renders a customized sound for different theaters of different sizes with one master audio working with many theaters.
It also allows for a hybrid approach that meshes traditional surround sound elements with object oriented sound fields. Atmos enabled theaters don’t only have more speakers than an average theater but it makes use of better full range speakers with each and every speaker having an amplifier of its own.
Because of its object oriented nature the sound mixer can place different sounds to different speakers unlike the surround sound format that has maximum audio placed in the front channel.
Sathyam Cinemas Kiran Reddy claimed that the total cost of implementing Atmos technology to the Serene theater in Chennai was approximately in the range of Rs 20 lakhs that included new speakers, treatment to the hall and a new Atmos processor. Admittedly, Reddy said that the processor used in the Serene theater is a beta product and is not yet commercially available hence the price of the processor was not taken into account. He also said that there were new theaters that were being constructed with support for Atmos technology baked in, and said implementing the technology to a current theater was definitely more costly.
Interestingly for sound engineers, Dolby is providing a custom Atmos decoder and plugin for Pro Tools. As of now, sound engineers cannot master a Dolby Atmos track using anything but Pro Tools, which admittedly is the industry standard for mastering audio.
Currently, Atmos technology will remain restricted to theaters and Dolby has no solution for home-audio products. Some of the movies that are already enabled with Atmos technology include Brave, Taken 2, and Life of Pi. Additionally, the soon to be released Hobbit is also mastered in Dolby Atmos along with Star Trek into Darkness.
Disclaimer: Dolby paid for our travel and stay.