February 14, 2013 7:25am PT by Carolyn Giardina
Inside Oscars' New VIP Lounge
When nominees such as Jennifer Lawrence, Anne Hathaway and Ben Affleck mingle over cocktails at this year’s Oscars, they will be among the first to enjoy the exclusive Dolby VIP Lounge's sexy new redesign that resembles what sound "looks like.”
On Oscar Night, it will only be accessible to the nominees and VIPs seated in the orchestra and parterre of the Dolby Theatre.
This is the first Academy Awards since the former Kodak Theater was rebranded in the spring. And on Oscar Night, Dolby is not only unveiling its redesigned lounge but planning for an improved sonic experience. This will be the first Oscar ceremony to be presented in 5.1 surround sound inside the theater. And planning for a quality sound experience extends to the live telecast, which is expected to attract 1.2 billion viewers in more than 225 countries.
When it came to designing the lounge, Dolby created "visual representation of sound. The ceiling and the walls show you what sound might look like -- sound waves, sound pressure, video with a visual representation [playing on the walls],” explains Ramzi Haidamus, executive vp marketing and business development at Dolby. "The ceiling has been redone to represent a sound sculpture [using fabric].”
On one wall, behind glass, sits sound pioneer Ray Dolby’s 1988 Oscar statuette.
Dolby also cooperated with the Oscar show team, ABC, and other participants to prepare a quality sound experience.
With planned performances including one from Barbra Streisand, Haidamus notes that telecast director Don Mischer and producers Craig Zadan and Neil Meron "have turned a presentation about entertainment into entertainment about entertainment."
That ceremony will play in 5.1 surround sound inside the theater for the first time, and plans also are being made with an aim to enhance the sound of the broadcasts.
“Since 1.2 billion people will watch this live or time delayed, we want to make it a great experience and represent the nominated movies the best they can be,” says David Gray, Dolby’s vp worldwide production services.
The Academy Awards have been broadcast in 5.1 before, but this year “the amount of material going out in 5.1 is greater, including the nomination clips” which were mixed in the surround format, Gray said. “If we start with a surround broadcast, even [where it is played in] stereo it seems to have better quality.”