To create the sounds of Middle-earth for his Hobbit films, director Peter Jackson is considering the new Dolby Atmos audio format, which has been developed to create “lifelike” sound via speakers placed all around an auditorium and across its ceiling. This new system is able to transmit up to 128 simultaneous audio channels.
Jackson, who is already experimenting with advanced technologies – shooting The Hobbit films in 3D and at 48 frames per second – recently told Hollywood Reporter that, “Dolby are coming down to New Zealand to give us a demonstration. Our particular postproduction schedule is reasonably tight (but) three dimensional sound would be fantastic. If we can do it I would be pretty keen.”
Disney/Pixar’s Brave will be the first film tested in the Atmos format, with Dolby installing the new sound system in 10-15 theatres worldwide. After a cinema launch, the company’s long-term goal is to introduce the Atmos sound experience into the home – via tablets, PCs, and mobile devices.