Scalable Format and Tools to extend the possibilities of Cinema Audio

Monthly seminar by Nicolas Tsingos – Dolby Laboratories

On 18/12/2012 at 10:30 to 11:30. Amphi la Rotonde, INSA de Lyon
Informations contact : S. Servigne et G. Damiand. +33 (0)

Surround sound has been making cinematic story telling more compelling and immersive for over 30 years. The first widely deployed surround systems used magnetic recording. Later, optical recording became standard, enabling up to 7.1 channels of audio. With the transition from film to digital distribution there is an opportunity for the next generational step forward. In this presentation we describe a new surround sound format that dramatically advances the capabilities of cinema sound. The format was developed in close cooperation with industry stakeholders and was specifically designed to provide the most desired new capabilities and provide a path for future enhancements, while respecting and leveraging the strengths and know-how of the current sound format and pipeline.


In particular, it adds the flexibility of dynamic audio objects into traditional channel-based workflows. These audio objects allow moviemakers to control discrete sound elements irrespective of any specific playback speaker configurations, including overhead speakers. In this presentation, we will review the hybrid channel and object-based representation and tools used in the new Dolby Atmos format and the benefits they bring to cinematic storytelling using examples from the first Dolby Atmos titles, from Disney/Pixar’s Brave to Ang Lee’s Life of Pi. We will also review the design choices for loudspeaker configurations and how they contribute to improved audio quality and screen-to-room consistency.


Nicolas Tsingos is a senior platform manager at Dolby Laboratories. He designed and prototyped the authoring and rendering tools for the Dolby Atmos cinema technology and now oversees its future evolution.