Dolby Atmos, Wildsound, and the Future of Sound in Cinema

Dolby Atmos was introduced by Dolby Laboratories back in April 2012 and was first used by Disney and Pixar for their animated film Brave. It is a step up from the previous 7.1, 5.1, stereo and mono technology used by sound engineers for feature films and advertisements alike. 

But what is Dolby Atmos? Let's watch a quick clip from Dolby's YouTube channel below.

A SOUND FORMAT: Dolby Atmos allows sound to be moved around as if it's in three-dimensional space.  It utilizes multiple numbers of speakers where a certain object, a dialog or a sound effect, can be placed precisely at, and can then be panned around during mixing. It allows for 128 tracks of audio, each can be assigned to an individual channel, and can be controlled by the Atmos panner, a plugin for Avid's audio workstation software ProTools. 

AN EXPERIENCE: Watching a film in Atmos is an awesome experience. With this technological advancement in sound, you can be placed at the exact time and space as the characters in the film you're watching. Bullets will whizz past your ear and helicopters overhead can be heard as they reach the ground for landing. 

DOLBY ATMOS & WILDSOUND STUDIOS

Wildsound Studios is no stranger to the Atmos technology. In fact, we have a studio capable of providing and mixing Atmos for feature films. Designed by Walters-Storyk Design Group, it is a testament to the dedication of giving only quality services for clients big or small.

Wildsound Studios is no stranger to the Atmos technology. In fact, we have a studio capable of providing and mixing Atmos for feature films. Designed by Walters-Storyk Design Group, it is a testament to the dedication of giving only quality services for clients big or small.

THE FUTURE: Atmos clearly is the future of sound in cinema and in video streaming services. Hardware manufacturers have also taken advantage of this technology. Most blu-ray players nowadays, partnered with a capable sound-bar, are capable of decoding Atmos content for home theater applications. 

Just this August, Amazon Prime Video, another streaming giant, already introduced Dolby Atmos to it's platform. Netflix, in fact already has a few titles in it's belt which sport the Atmos content logo.

Screenshot grabbed from Netflix Windows 10 Application

Screenshot grabbed from Netflix Windows 10 Application

In preparation for all of these, Bhaskar Pal and Geoffrey Low, senior content service engineers from Dolby Singapore, flew to Manila to provide training for the team in Atmos for Home content.

From left to right: Bhaskar Pal, Geoffrey Low, Wildsound CEO Mike Idioma

From left to right: Bhaskar Pal, Geoffrey Low, Wildsound CEO Mike Idioma

In their two-day stay in the Philippines, Bhaskar and Geoffrey shared knowledge on how to setup a mixing session dedicated only to Atmos for home set-up, a huge step in the creation of deliverables for future feature films once the demand for blu-ray material with Atmos audio becomes an accepted standard. They've also provided insight to the sound engineers on how things are done on big foreign titles that can also be used on the way audio is mixed in Filipino cinema. 

Representatives from Goldenduck were also present during the two-day visit, exchanging ideas with the Dolby people on how to improve upon the systems currently used in the Philippines when it comes to digital cinema.

Representatives from Goldenduck were also present during the two-day visit, exchanging ideas with the Dolby people on how to improve upon the systems currently used in the Philippines when it comes to digital cinema.

All in all, the visit was fruitful for both parties.  Bhaskar and Geoffrey got to experience Filipino food once more in this nth time they've visited the country, sharing stories and common foreign phrases from their native tongue over lunch and merienda.

We are grateful and looking forward to seeing this people again, until next time!

We are grateful and looking forward to seeing this people again, until next time!

The famous FAMAS

Do a quick Google search with the keyword ''FAMAS'' and you will end up with thousands of results talking about an assault rifle of French origin, a staple in video-game shooters and action films alike. But, when you type in the term ''awards'' after the first keyword, you'll end up with another staple in the Filipino film industry - The Filipino Academy of Movie Arts and Sciences Awards, commonly known as the FAMAS Awards.

FAMAS is the oldest award-giving body in the Filipino film industry, established in 1952 with movie writers, columnists and studio publicists as its first voting members.

FAMAS 2.jpg

The award statuette - modeled after the actress Rosa Rosal, features a woman with her raised hands holding a film reel standing over a cylindrical pedestal with the award name written in bold black letters.    

Wildsound, always valuing quality in whatever film sound design challenge it tackles, is no stranger to the honor of receiving the famous FAMAS awards. Founder and CEO - Albert Michael Idioma has over 25 nominations, with 7 ultimately won for Best Sound design in the following films.

  • 1997 - Magic Temple
  • 2000 - Muro-ami
  • 2001 - Deathrow (shared with Rudy Gonzales)
  • 2002 - Bagong Buwan (shared with Rudy Gonzales)
  • 2007 - Sukob
  • 2011 - Si Agimat at si Enteng Kabisote (shared with Addiss Tabong)
  • 2013 - El Presidente (shared with Addiss Tabong)
7 WINS FOR BEST SOUND: MIKE IDIOMA WAS AWARDED THE COVETED  ''HALL OF FAME''  DESIGNATION OF FAMAS AWARDS DURING THE 58TH   GABI NG PARANGAL   IN 2010.

7 WINS FOR BEST SOUND: MIKE IDIOMA WAS AWARDED THE COVETED ''HALL OF FAME'' DESIGNATION OF FAMAS AWARDS DURING THE 58TH GABI NG PARANGAL IN 2010.

On a side note: In the upcoming film festivals that will be held throughout the remainder of the year - Sir Mike, as we know him, continue to lead the team in pursuing quality over any other aspect of the sound design process. And with Wildsound branching out into video-post production, this year marks the third in which the company brands itself as a one-stop post production facility where clients are friends and competitors are family.


Welcome to Wildsound "Dailies"

A day of shoot ends and then someone shouts "pack-up!" 

Relieved sighs can be heard everywhere. People massage their own shoulders sore from the weight of gears and camera, boom-men stretch their arms tired from being lifted up on set for hours, careful not to include the mic on a frame lest the director cuts the take. Some head home to get some sleep, some are off to another shoot. Somebody takes care of all the materials shot and fills a hard drive with audio and video to be sent to post-production, into another stage in the life of a film.

In post-production, the colorist scrubs his eyes tired from looking at a huge screen correcting color and white balance. The tech nabs some needed sleep while the footage transcodes from scary terabytes of 4K files to byte-sized proxies the editor's laptop would be able to handle during editing. The sound engineer rests his ears from all the explosion he browsed through while doing the sound design of the film, and the admin just finished a call from a client asking, haggling for a discount on a project they'll be shooting next Friday. Yet despite the eye-bags and mugs of coffee gulped down by these sleepless entities, everyone knew this is a choice they made.

Working in the film industry is a struggle, but what a joyful struggle it is. It is endless and relentless, but all worth it in the ending - when the film comes to life, projected in the cinema, with hundreds of people lining up outside only to witness what we've helped create.

Welcome to Dailies, a blog by the people of Wildsound Studios, an inside look at what's going on inside the company we treat as our second home.

So let the credits roll!