Cinema immersive sound is upside down. Technology providers invest in intellectual property for immersive sound rendering engines, but they compete on the availability of content. Trading on content has been counterproductive to growth, contributing to a lackluster immersive sound installation count that is less than two percent of worldwide screens. Immersive sound has more moving parts to address than distribution, but the industry is fixated on a design from scratch, do-everything, distribution standard that’s two and a half years in the making and at least as many years from finding its way into cinemas. A deeper look shows that the key friction point of production for competing systems has been addressed. It’s time to put immersive sound right side up and grow the format.
Barco Auro 11.1
With the help of system integrator Protronic, Arena Cinemas, Geneva, Switzerland, has equipped each of its nine theaters with Auro 11.1 immersive sound by Barco. The upcoming films Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Lucy and Into the Storm have all been mixed in Auro 11.1.
Columbia Pictures’ The Amazing Spider Man 2 marks a groundbreaking collaboration between visual effects, sound and post-production teams from Sony Pictures Entertainment. The Academy Award-winning Sony Pictures Imageworks crafted over 1000 visual effects shots, Sony Pictures Post Production provided sound – its first project in in Dolby Atmos – and Colorworks performed film scanning, conforming and color grading all in 4K.
Wir waren Könige is the first German movie mixed in Barco’s Auro 11.1 immersive cinema sound format. An independent feature film production co-produced by ZDF and ARTE, Wir waren Könige will be released in Germany this summer.
Next month when The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opens in theatres around the world it may well turn out to be a watershed event in the industry. That is because it will be the latest movie to be widely released in both the Barco Auro 11.1 and Dolby Atmos sound formats. As the budgets for large-scale movies continue to grow, the pressure to open on as many screens as possible increases and Sony Pictures Entertainment clearly wanted this film on every screen it could get.
Anu Ega, one of the theatres in the EGA Cinema multiplex in Chennai City, India has installed Barco Auro 11.1 cinema sound.
Spidey has decided to call a truce in the cinema sound format war. Sony Pictures Entertainment is teaming with Dolby and Barco to mix The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in both Auro 11.1 and Dolby Atmos cinema sound. The movie will be released in theaters internationally beginning April 16 and domestically on May 2. The move will no doubt increase the number of movie theatres available to show the movie.
Few words are as overused by the cinema industry as the word immersive. We at Dolby are perhaps guiltier than most. We’ve used the term in dozens of press releases and marketing materials, most recently when describing Dolby Atmos.
Carmike Cinemas has installed Barco Auro 11.1 3D sound in its Riverstone 15 theatre in Canton, Georgia, one of its premium large format BigD rooms.
AM Studios, Chennai, one of India’s most famous recording studios, has acquired a Barco Auro 11.1 system to enhance its 3D sound recording capabilities. The sound mixing for Maryan, an upcoming Tamil drama thriller film directed by Bharatbala starring Dhanush and Parvathi Menon was done using Auro 11.1.