Future Cinema – Digital Cinema

7.1 Surround Sound

7.1 Surround Sound

Digital Cinema

Cinema – Digital Cinema conversion

With the ongoing process of converting Cinemas to Digital Technology this opens up new possibilities for sound technology. The majority of Digital Cinemas offer 5.1 Surround Sound that is 6 channels of audio and now many offer 7.1 Surround Sound, 8 channels of audio. The additional speakers are either positioned high above the existing front speakers, that is Front Left and Front Right, alternatively they are positioned mid-way between the front and rear speakers.

Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound. Site Accessed 23/11/2011

Digital Cinema – Future Cinema will be able to deliver a growing number of audio channels as the technology advances. For this project we think that some of these additional audio channels could be used to deliver a more immersive audio experience directly to individuals in the audience.

X Rocker Gaming Chair

X Rocker Gaming Chair

As an example of this we can look at the Games industry and a relatively low cost piece of Technology the Gaming Chair.

These come complete with their own built in 2.1 Sound Systems including a sub-woofer and the ability to deliver additional sensory experience using rumble and vibration to create sensation of movement directly related to sound levels and frequency.

X-Rocker Gaming Chairs site Accessed 23/10/2011

A cinema fitted out with these types of chairs could deliver a whole new experience to the cinemas audience.

For the purposes of the project the chairs speakers provide the means to deliver the additional sound tracks we conceptualised, to be able to deliver a personal message, a sound clip direct to the audience in very close proximity – the whisper in an ear, the gun shot fired inches from your ears. Such a close proximity in the delivery of sound to the ear would also be felt as well as heard as the compression of loud sound waves or sound coming from a location in  close proximity to the ear would create air pressure effectively pushing against the ear drum, the sensation of wind blowing in the ear.

I’ve thought of a side benefit of using these chairs which would be to provide additional sensations using the built in sub-woofer to create rumble and vibration, in fact feeling as well as hearing the sound. This could be a possible update to Sensurround introduced for a small number of films in the 1970’s for example ‘Earthquake’ released in 1975.

The failing of Sensurround was that it relied on using additional Bass speakers and playing low frequency sound at high decibel levels which could be heard in adjacent theaters ruining the audience experience due to hearing the sound of another film through the walls of the Cinema.

My idea using these chairs would mean that the the high decibel level could be avoided and yet still get the vibration effect.

Our binaural soundtrack could be sent to the speakers in these chairs negating the need to use headphones. Although some of the effect would be lost by using speakers the close proximity of these speakers to the ears and combined with some form of sound processing to simulate the 3D Stereo effect and the brains ability to process sound information known as “interaural level differences (ILD) and the interaural time differences (ITD) that characterize two-eared human hearing” Ambiophonics. Site Accessed 23/10/2011 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambiophonics

The Human Ear or rather the human brain can determine not only where a sounds location originates from, anywhere in a 360 degree perspective, but can in fact localise and process sound in a sphere. The visual medium still has some way to go before it can deliver a cinematic experience based on a humans spherical perception.

Future Cinema – Links to Related Blog Entries

  1. Future Cinema – Project Conclusion
  2. Future Cinema – Sound Effects
  3. Future Cinema – Digital Cinema
  4. Future Cinema – 5.1 Surround Sound
  5. Future Cinema – Binaural Sound – Digital Sound Recording
  6. Future Cinema – 360 Degree Camera Mount
  7. Future Cinema – Learning Agreement (Updated)
  8. Future Cinema – Audio / Film Script 1st Draft
  9. Future Cinema – Binaural Sound Recording
  10. Future Cinema – The Film Pitch
  11. Future Cinema – does it have one?