October 1, 2017

Inside Dolby Cinema: Tour of One of the Most Immersive Movie-Going Experiences Ever

An inside look at how Dolby Cinema aims to give you the absolute best movie-going experience.

Throughout history, movie theaters have evolved to attract new movie-goers. In the 1910s through the 1940s, movie "palaces" were ornately decorated theaters designed to provide patrons with an atmosphere mimicking an outdoor courtyard, complete with facades, fauna, and projectors called Brenograph that projected clouds and stars onto the ceiling.

Even though more modern cinemas don't look anything like they did a century ago, theater owners still strive to give movie-goers a unique and immersive experience, whether it's with the snacks and food, 3D, or stadium seating. Dolby Laboratories is one company that is aiming to take theater audio and visuals to places it has never been before, and the team over at RocketJump Film School got to take a tour of Dolby Headquarters based in San Fransisco to learn more about its premium cinema concept, Dolby Cinema.

In a time when more and more people are choosing to watch movies at home on TVs, computers, and smartphones, it seems as though Dolby's battle is largely uphill. Theater attendance is down, box office sales are down, movie theater chain shares are down—how do you get people to drive to a theater and pay for movie tickets when they've already got popcorn, Netflix, and a 72-inch 4K TV at home?

Popular chains have already introduced better options to attract customers, including better food, alcoholic beverages, and leather recliners that can be reserved ahead of time. But perhaps one of the most effective, or at least spectacular attraction is Dolby Cinema's proprietary technologies, the 4K laser projection system Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos, a sound format that allows audio to be reproduced with pinpoint accuracy through 64 individual speakers placed throughout the theater.

Is it enough to get more customers inside auditoriums? Maybe not—not so far, at least. (It's been around since 2014.) However, I imagine most filmmakers can't help but marvel at the technological feat that Dolby has accomplished.      

Your Comment

15 Comments

A shame Dolby used their market strength some years ago to force cinemas to implement Dolby Atmos. That killed the much more precise and "revolutionary" wave field synthesis technology the Fraunhofer institute and others have been working on.

October 1, 2017 at 11:16AM

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More info about that, please? :)

October 1, 2017 at 4:06PM

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It let's sound being produced exactly at the place where sound waves collapse. Dolby Atmos is actually just a better surround system, not a new technology.

https://www.idmt.fraunhofer.de/content/dam/idmt/documents/IL/wave_field_...

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wave_field_synthesis

October 2, 2017 at 10:24AM

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Very interesting! Thanks for sharing!

October 3, 2017 at 2:08AM

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I did a bit of research, and I found this technology to be the basis of "IOSONO" later acquired by Barco, and sold as "Barco Auro 11.1":
https://www.barco.com/en/Auro11-1/Auro11-1-explained

October 10, 2017 at 10:53AM

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You all have GOT to experience this if you can. Easily the best way to see a film that isn’t film projection.

October 1, 2017 at 1:44PM

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Henry Barnill
Director of Photography
671

Every good 2K projection is better than 35mm film projection, not to mention 4K, Sony and so on :)

October 2, 2017 at 6:29AM, Edited October 2, 6:29AM

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Dolby Cinema is the best cinema experience if done correctly, I have seen IT in Dolby Cinema at Dubai Marina Mall and it was clearly the best of the best. However in all AMC Dolby Cinema room there is the red light that is not good.

October 1, 2017 at 4:03PM, Edited October 1, 4:03PM

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How do they go with the fire exit light? They had to have a special act of parliament just to change the colour of the fire exit light in the Australian Parliament chamber to red. I don't know if they can turn it off.

October 1, 2017 at 8:04PM, Edited October 1, 8:04PM

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Wayne M
Director of a Life
228

I read that in IMAX theaters in USA there is no such red light, is that true?

October 2, 2017 at 6:30AM, Edited October 2, 6:31AM

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Second one in a week. If I have to see another cherpy trendy Grant Imahara Myth Busters look a like.. ☺️ lol!

I wanted to get one of those locally, but no popcorn, no drinks. What are people going to feel like after they come out of Avatar 2, 3, 4, 5?

So, where do they plan 10k nit HDR?

October 1, 2017 at 7:58PM, Edited October 1, 7:58PM

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Wayne M
Director of a Life
228

Here a suggestion for an article, a comparison between all the top cinema room technologies in the world. Dolby, THX, IMAX derivatives etc.

October 1, 2017 at 8:07PM, Edited October 1, 8:07PM

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Wayne M
Director of a Life
228

Not hard to do, but always remember that tech alone doesn't say nothing about quality :)

For images:
1) Dolby Cinema;
2) Sony laser family (eg. 815 and so on) with white screen;
3) Sony mercury lamp based (eg. 515 and so on) with white screen;
4) IMAX laser (but you have that horrible silver screen);
5) All the others.

For audio:
1) Dolby Atmos with Meyer Sound;
2) Dolby Atmos
3) All the others.

October 2, 2017 at 6:40AM, Edited October 2, 6:40AM

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Thanks. But I am interested in the quality of the cinema layout and all.

October 3, 2017 at 6:19AM, Edited October 3, 6:21AM

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Wayne M
Director of a Life
228

The best layout are the Dolby Cinema and Shpera.

October 3, 2017 at 7:37AM

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