A leap forward from Surround Sound, Dolby transports the story with moving audio that fills the cinemas which lets the audience get immersive and emotive.
“Basically sound has evolved over time; the space that Dolby Atmos has created is very vast and it gives you the experience off-screen rather on-screen. From a studio perspective, Atmos is a value addition for cinema where creators get a free hand to express what they want to the audience,” says Harish of Knack Studios. He feels sequences like rain in movies will give the perfect feel for the audience through Atmos speakers.
Over the last few decades, Dolby has been synonymous with bringing the best in class sound experience at the cinemas. Be it at the cinema or at home, Dolby with its audio and visual technology delivers a complete visual experience in OTT platforms like Amazon and Netflix as well.
Sameer Seth, Director, Marketing at Dolby says, “Placement of sound and movement of sound are the principles of Dolby Atmos, it treats sound as an object in a 360 degree space. It is a character with the narration inside the story, making us a part of the action.”
Technology has been improving on a daily basis and for sound systems it started from Mono, then to stereo and later 'Surround Sound'. Dolby Atmos is the added expansion of the above three modes.
Udhaykumar, sound designer of more than 100 films, explains, “Everything depends on the content of the movie. Whatever the film requires, I deliver it with full passion and commitment. And subwoofers are more with the evolution of Dolby Atmos, which help to recreate the sounds inside a theatre.”
Music directors are also opting for this mix of sounds into their songs which will give the audience a whole theatre experience. Addressing this, Harish says, “Though the music directors produce the songs with multiple layers for the stereo sounds. But if the songs need to add sounds of the ambience, a mix engineer will fill it beautifully with the guidance of the music director. And that is how the enhancement happens for a theatre effect.”
Udhaykumar explains that songs also have montages sometimes which require natural sounds to portray the songs with reality. On working with veteran filmmaker Vetrimaaran, Udhay says, “Filmmakers will definitely have their own ideas, they also accept my opinion if it's good for the film. For instance, in Asuran, Dhanush son's death starts with a background score but when the father reaches the boy, it remains silent to make the scene more emotional. It is more of a discussion with the directors to elevate the performances by the protagonist."
Addressing the dubbing sync issues in cinema, “Some artistes speak the Madras dialect for a rural based film, whereas some scenes which were shot as present transforms to past after edit. The voices have to be changed according to that,” he elaborates.
Udhay has also designed sound for the movie Aadai which was completely shot with sync-sound. He says that some films require live sounds to engage the audience. And it needs a lot of support by the movie crew by maintain discipline on the sets.
And when it comes to technology like these, Knack Studios is a sheer delight for the directors and music directors in the city. Composer Anirudh once commented that Knack Studios is of international standard with multiple facilities. When asked about this Harish says, “We are always updated with the software and plugins. We are one of the very few studios in India with 100 percent compliance. Be it colour grading or visual effects software, we keep upgrading every day.”
Sound mixing also requires new outputs for TV premieres and online releases. Knack Studios also work separately for that according to the vision and the sound requirements of TVs and smart phones. Therefore a sound designer has to work thrice for a project which involves Theatre, TV and OTT platforms.
“Each stream has its own requirements, if a television channel has a surround sound facility, we have to mix the sounds according to that,” says Udhay. After working so much for a movie, he feels that the recognition is very less for technicians like him.
“Whether a positive or a negative feedback, one line of comment about sound mixing in the reviews will always be helpful for technicians like us,” he concludes....