CinemaCon 2012: Pixar's 'Brave' to Test Dolby's New Atmos Format

Brave - H 2012

The Disney release will be mixed in Dolby’s new sound system, which will be installed in as many as 15 theaters.

LAS VEGAS -- Disney/Pixar’s Brave will be the first film to test Dolby's new Atmos format, which was developed to create sound that Dolby says is more "natural and lifelike."

Dolby aims to have the new sound system, which it debuted this week at CinemaCon, installed in 10-15 theaters worldwide for the test, for which Pixar will prepare a special mix of the film.

Seven-time Oscar winner Gary Rydstrom is serving as sound designer and re-recording mixer on the project.

At CinemaCon, sound designer and supervising sound editor Erik Aadahl, who was nominated for an Oscar for his work on Transformers: Dark of the Moon, said of the new format: “This is, I think, the biggest breakthrough in sound that has happened in my career.”

Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Aadahl, who did sound design using Atmos on a demonstration trailer that played at CinemaCon, likened the new Dolby format to having a new instrument to play.

“We’ve barely scratched the surface of what we can do with this technology,” he said. “What I could have done on the Transformers movie with this! … And it doesn’t have to be an action movie. It could be lush atmosphere.”

Atmos is capable of transmitting up to 128 simultaneous and lossless audio channels, and renders from 5.1 up to 64 discrete speaker feeds, according to Dolby. Speakers would be positioned around the theater and even overhead to create the immersive experience.

For the sound team, Aadahl noted that it might require some changes. He explained that the mix might add a “slight” amount of time to the schedule thought he expects it would be offset by a simpler process for creating deliverables as the sound team would only need to complete an Atmos mix.