ShowEast 2012: Dolby’s Atmos and Barco’s Auro 11.1 Sound Off

3:17 PM PST 11/08/2012 by Carolyn Giardina
Paramount Pictures

The “Star Trek” sequel will be mixed in Atmos. Barco highlights its DreamWorks Animation agreement. Meanwhile, projectors makers showcase d-cinema options for small theaters.

HOLLYWOOD, Fla.—Dolby and Barco both made noise at ShowEast, which wrapped Thursday at the Westin Diplomat, with each highlighting their new immersive theater sound systems.

Both companies said they expect to have in the neighborhood of 100 installations worldwide by year's end and were emphasizing a growing slate of supported content. It remains to be seen whether one of these new sound systems will dominate the market or whether they will co-exist.

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Dolby revealed another 2013 title that will be mixed in Atmos: J.J. AbramsStar Trek Into Darkness, which is scheduled to be released May 17 by Paramount.

Academy Award winner Andy Nelson and multiple-Academy Award nominee Anna Behlmer are the rerecording mixers at the helm of the Atmos mix; Academy Award winner Ben Burtt and multiple-Academy Award nominee Matt Wood are the supervising sound editors.

Dolby launched its format earlier this year, and it expects to end the year having had six Atmos releases: Disney/Pixar’s Brave; Fox’s Taken 2, Chasing Mavericks and Life of Pi; DreamWorks Animation/Paramount’s Rise of the Guardians (which also will be offered in Barco's Auro 11.1) and Warner Bros.’ The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. In addition to Star Trek, 2013 Warners titles Gravity and Pacific Rim also have been announced as Atmos titles.

Also at ShowEast, Dolby unveiled it Atmos Cinema Processor CP850, which provides theaters with playback of Atmos, Surround 7.1 and 5.1 all in a single device.

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Last week, Barco and DWA announced that DWA plans to create sound mixes in Auro 11.1 for all of its upcoming titles, starting with Rise of the Guardians, which was screened in Auro at ShowEast.

Beginning in 2013, DWA is slated to release three movies a year. After Guardians, DWA’s next release will be The Croods on March 22. Barco’s Patrick Lee said additional Auro releases are expected in that time frame.

The first Auro 11.1 release was the George Lucas-produced Red Tails, which opened in January.

While these sound systems -- at least for now -- generally are viewed as technologies for large premium theaters, the small- to midsize theaters also were getting a lot of attention from manufacturers at the confab.

With Kodak working to emerge from bankruptcy protection, stakeholders are urging theaters that still rely on film to make a switch to digital. With this in mind, projector-makers highlighted their latest models aimed at offering a more cost-effective system that accommodate smaller theaters.

These included Barco’s new DP2K-10Sx, Christie’s Solaria One, NEC’s NC900C and Sony’s SRX-R515. All four manufacturers said their projectors would support high frame rates.

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