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Thursday, October 30, 2008

On the way: 3-D audio?

I wish I could've heard this demo at the SMPTE Technical Conference in LA this week: 3-D sound. According to The Hollywood Reporter, "The 3-D sound system at the Mann [Chinese 6 Theater in Hollywood] is a ring of 380 speakers, set six inches apart, around the wall of the auditorium." (More on the technology is here.)

Fans of history will recall that Disney's original theatrical release of 'Fantasia' used 54 speakers. The equipment costs were deemed too expensive back in 1940...and so that sort of ultra-surround-sound didn't take off.

Will it be different this time around? I'm sure the speakers are less expensive these days...but Iosono, the company trying to commercialize the new technology, will have to convince theaters to make the investment, and persuade studios to record and mix the sound in their new format.

Challenging... but I totally support any attempt to improve the quality of the theatrical experience.

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