Dolby Cinema has been announced as a new and better cinema experience. Dolby wants to combine the best in audio and picture by using systems such as Atmos and Dolby Vision. The first cinemas will open in spring 2015, and Star Wars could reportedly be the first movie the new format.
Dolby Cinema will challenge IMAX
Dolby - best known for sound – wants to challenge IMAX and take cinema to the next level. It hopes to do so by utilizing new imaging technology but Hollywood also needs to play along to make it work.
Cinemas will be equipped with wall-to-wall and ceiling-to-ceiling canvases, says Dolby. The sound stage will be based on the Dolby Atmos systems that can place “sound objects“ in the room, thus delivering a unique sound experience.
But the big news here is imaging technology. The system will utilize Dolby Vision, which is a system that incorporates several different technologies. One of them is HDR (high dynamic range), which allows Dolby to reproduce very dark and very bright objects in the picture simultaneously. Dolby believes that the much higher contrast will take the cinema experience to the next level compared to today’s movie projectors that generally reproduce very weak contrast. Dolby will make it happen by using laser projectors, and there is some speculation that they will actually use two; one for bright elements and one for dark elements.
But that is not all. Dolby wants to combine HDR with 4K resolution and a larger color space as well as HFR (high frame rate) – for example 48 fps as seen in the HFR versions of The Hobbit movies.
Star Wars in Dolby Cinema?
The biggest challenge for Dolby is to convince the Hollywood studios. Because of all the new imaging technology, Dolby needs studios to create movies specifically for the Dolby Cinema experience. Or in other words; a new movie format.
Dolby says that studios have shown interest, and the man behind the visual effects in Gravity says that he is very interested in working with HDR. The Hollywood Reporter reports that Disney is one of the early backers and that Star Wars: The Force Awakens could be one of the first movies in the Dolby Cinema format together with Tomorrowland. They also speculate that the next Pixar movies will support it.
The first Dolby cinemas will start operating in Eindhoven, Netherlands later this month, but the new equipment will not be installed until spring 2015. A cinema complex in Barcelona has also been confirmed, and Dolby is planning to open theatres in the US, too. In the Netherland a ticket is expected to cost around 50% extra compared to a standard ticket.