DOLBY LABS SFAS EVENT
On Thursday afternoon August 10 some lucky SFAS members had the pleasure of being treated to a tour of Dolby Labs in San Francisco. In case you’re not already aware let me first say that Dolby Labs is not the same company that you grew up with recording cassette tapes with Dolby “B” or “C”. Dolby has grown and expanded its company from reducing cassette tape hiss to full-on surround sound (Dolby Atmos) and cinema (Dolby Vision) processing to enhance movie going and home theater experiences.
The tour was held at the relatively new home of Dolby Labs at 1275 Market St. in San Francisco. The 16 story building completed renovations in 2015 which includes an only one-in-the-world theater and over 100 labs for listening to and evaluating sound processing.
The tour was led by John Loose, Director of Audio-Visual Production which started out in the Dolby cinema where we were treated to several movie and music demonstrations that showed off the impressive visual and auditory capabilities of the system. The cinema includes over 100 front, side, back and ceiling speakers with 10 subwoofers in the front alone. The cinema is also equipped with Meyer Constellation acoustic system for concerts, speaking events etc. The video capabilities are amazing as well with blacker blacks, greater contrasts and truer colors. Two laser projectors by Christie Digital powered by Christie IMB Cinema Server are used for video playback. Movies are authored using Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision. Clips of the Revenant, Guardians of the Galaxy and two songs from the highly regarded Atmos version of the Beatles Sargent Pepper’s album. The demonstrations showed the complete immersion of sound and vision of the Atmos and Vision technologies.
Following the Dolby Cinema demonstrations we were split into groups and were treated to tours of the SoundHenge, Recording Studio and Home Theater labs. SoundHenge was equipped with professional-grade ATC speakers and top of the line electronics in a smallish lab solely for the purpose of evaluating the sonic qualities of recorded sound tracks. In the recording studio we were shown how Atmos is applied in 3-dimensions in the recording process. The home theater lab demonstrated the versatility and configurability of Atmos with different numbers and types of speakers in the home environment.
All-in-all it was a fun and interesting event with the folks at Dolby being gracious hosts, answering numerous questions and providing a glimpse into the technologies that are enhancing our sound and cinematic experiences.