Theatre owners and filmmakers across the country are going in for Dolby Atmos to heighten cinema-viewing experience

The importance of sound has for long been underestimated in a medium where the moving image is considered the most important. This is changing rapidly. Filmmakers and audience alike are recognising that sound can be used to heighten the intensity of the image and fiction. In order to satisfy the expectations of today’s audiences, 50 Dolby Atmos cinema processors will be installed in theatres across the country within the next year. The new technology provides a life-like experience for the audience inside the cinema hall. Audio samples were played at Escape Cinemas recently to demonstrate how Dolby Atmos sound system can provide the experience of being at a basketball court even as a game is being played or of rain in a tropical forest. “The sound travels across the hall through the speakers that are placed all around,” said Ashim Mathur, marketing head, Dolby Laboratories, India.

A maximum of 64 speakers can be installed in a theatre including the ceiling for a complete Dolby impact. Around 70 films, including upcoming Tamil releases Pizza-2 The Villa, Madhayanai Kootam and Kayal, have embraced this technology. As is the case with every new technology, Dolby Atmos doesn’t come cheap. While most of the multiplexes (PVR, Inox, SPI Cinemas and Mayajaal) in the city have installed Dolby Atmos, single screen owners across the country may not find it feasible.

According to Arvind Ranganathan, CEO, Real Image Technologies, which is bringing the technology to the country, the company will offer an affordable model to theatre owners with an option to upgrade later. “For half the price, we can upgrade their sound system to some extent with the existing infrastructure.” Will this increase the cost of production for film producers? “No,” said Arvind and added, “They just need to mix the sound once for Atmos. The same output can be used for theatres that use 7.1 and 5.1 sound systems.”