Celluloid Junkie can exclusively reveal that in an effort to spur uptake of immersive audio for cinema Dolby and Barco have concluded a groundbreaking agreement to merge their Atmos and Auro systems. While a formal announcement is not expected before CinemaCon – so there is no press release yet – we can reveal that the merged format will be known as Atmouro and be available in 11.1, 22.2 and 33.3 speaker configurations for regular cinemas and even 44.4 for premium large format (PLF) venues.
Sidestepping the vexed issue of creating open standards for object-based and channel-based audio mapping, the new Atmouro will instead use subject-based audio mapping. Under this system, sounds will be grouped alphabetically, so that for example birdsong, bullets and burps will be assigned to the ‘B’ track.
Speaking to CJ, Dolby’s Stuart Bowling said, “the idea of alphabetical subject-based audio tracks is so obvious when you think about that it’s strange that we didn’t come up with it sooner.” Praising the merger and the subject-based approach as “a bold move,” consultant Michael Karagosian of MKPE still cautioned that, “the devil will be in the details when it comes to SMPTE standardisation.”
Confident that the united push by Dolby and Barco to promote the Atmouro format will be embraced by the exhibition community, Barco’s Brian Claypool said, “note this particular day in your calendar. This is a historic day for cinema innovation.”
Also at CinemaCon South Korea’s CJ will be showcasing its immersive screen rival to Barco’s Escape that was demonstrated in Las Vegas last year. There are 75 of these deployed in South Korea already, though commenting on the article, “John” says that it added nothing but distractions to his viewing of “Paddington” on a ScreenX.
CJ Group, the South Korean conglomerate behind the 4DX 4D cinema system, is aiming to bring a 270-degree Cinerama-like “ScreenX” theater experience to the U.S. It will be demoed for theater owners April 20-23 at CinemaCon in Las Vegas.
ScreenX is a three-screen configuration that puts the images on the front and sides of a theater. The screen technology would run across the side walls, using six projectors per wall and stitching the images together (meaning that the system uses a total of 13 projectors). According to the company, ScreenX is projector and server agnostic, though digital cinema projector maker Christie and server maker HP are working closely with CJ as preferred vendors. LINK