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Old 23rd May 2002, 08:28 PM   #1
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Default Sound in the Cinema

this thread actually started elsewhere:

Quote:
Originally posted by Me
>BTW: one of my many jobs is overseeing (which at the moment means doing everything) the design of some superior cinema sound systems for HD3D Movies so i do have some background.
Quote:
Originally posted by Bill F.
Dave,

You've piqued my interest. Sounds like cutting-edge stuff (although they didn't give the audio end any playtime on the website).
It is early days, most of the stuff is in my head (or internal papers i have generated). The concepts for what we want to do is much that same as when i 1st formulated it some 15 yrs ago -- the big difference is that a lot of the stuff we need is now off-the-shelf instead of millions of dollars of development away.

Quote:
Since you're a guy who might know, let me ask you this: Do you see any current/growing/future demand in modern theater-land for extreme sub-bass reproduction? I understand that current movie bass content doesn't really go south of 20Hz. However, I'm wondering if that is changing as movies push the limits and try to keep wowing viewers. It seems to me that, say, a decently loud 12Hz effect on a movie bass track could give movie producers a whole new palette of psychological tools to get through to viewers (while simultaneously challenging theater architects!).
Backgrond 1st:

The need to upgrade the cinema to a level where it gives a better and different experience than the home theatre is essential to keeping the exhibition sector well. The industry is at a cusp with the switch from Analog to Digital that will see a lot of change. The change on one end is being slowed by the momentum of a cash-flow challenged and very conservative exhibiton sector and on the other end by the clear advantages in terms of keeping costs down (and opening it up to new filmmakers -- a kid with a DV cam & an iMac can be making decent movies bringing in much needed new blood), streamlining the process, and opening up whole new areas of creative possibilities.

There is little incentive for broke theatre owners to upgrade their infrastructure for digital since it, as yet, produces stuff that is only on par with current analog that they have already paid for. We hope that HD3D -- which is only possible with the new digital tech -- will provide a compelling killer ap for the movement to digital.

Now your specific question:

One has to be very careful with going too low, since it can induce nausea in some people and if too low even psudeo-epileptic fits. Even excluding potential lawsuits, you don't want to have customers staying away because they don't want to put up with getting sick to see a movie. With the increased realism of 3D we already have some issues to deal with, and semi-jokingly talk about barf-bags under the seat and "so real you wish you were somewhere else".

That caveat aside, we have a lot of prototyping to do, and i expect we will have at least three levels of quality in the sound systems. The hi-end one is the one that generates the most excitement, and we envision floor-to-ceiling line sources with elecro- or magneto- stats (the 3dB drop per doubling being a driver here) coupled with very large bass horns (17-20 Hz cutoff) built into the floor or walls -- this is where Nick's field coils get me hot. Amplification will be 1st class (at least Brystons) and may even use vacuum state technology and will be high data-rate digital until the D/As (either justr before or in the amps -- digital amps seem to be making good progress).

The big thing, at least in our own movies, that will contribute greatly to improved sound quality will be very tight control from the time it enters the mic to when it leaves the speakers.

Quote:
I am anticipating that movie bass tracks will creep steadily deeper over the coming years, and I'm dreaming that I'll be the guy to anticipate and fill that bottom niche. What's your take on where movies are and where they're going? More to the point, do you anticipate a market for such a device?
You probably are thinking in the right direction -- i doubt most cinema systems now actually get down to 40 Hz. And if you don't find a market in cinema, there is certainly a market in the growing special venue market.

dave
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Old 23rd May 2002, 09:09 PM   #2
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Smile i am glad to help...

Well as you know planet10 that subs are what I am knowable in….
I do no see any audio tracks in the near future to go below 20Hz…
As you might know it is hard enough to find a good sub driver that will do 20Hz well let allow 12Hz… my opinion on this is one of a negative response. I do not see movie or music makers encoding tracks with frequencies south of 20Hz just on the basis that not many people have equipment to handle that low of frequencies. I believe that it would not necessarily enhance the movie experience anymore then a high quality theater system already does.
Well that’s my take on it anyway

Slice
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Old 23rd May 2002, 09:40 PM   #3
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Hey, thanks Slice!

Well, Dave, your push toward the future sounds facinating. As you've probably noted, there is impetus for improvement from the grassroots up (people are less and less tolerant of shabby theaters) and from the top down (George Lucas, et al embracing a 100% digital chain). I think it'll be a fun ride.

Your theatre sound systems are pretty ambitious. (I love going to Omnimax movies and seeing the kit behind the screen when they backlight it.) Are you planning to push this as a turnkey package to enforce conformity or just as a rigorous set of standards? It certainly sounds like much of the hardware will be propriatary. Is that going to be a big financial pill for franchisees to swallow?

Regarding the physiological effects of sub-bass, I followed the "brown note" thread with interest. Perusing the links, I didn't come across dire warnings of profound effects. Do you have any other info on this? the worst I read about was mild queezyness and tickling. Tom Danley talks about working on a 10Hz piston-driven horn that visibly shivered every leaf and blade of grass in the area. Oh well, I suppose there are always those extra-sensitive people...

I envision deep, clean sub bass to be a very useful tool for producers. Though inaudible, it creates a palpable sense of foreboding, dread, and power that you can turn off and on at will.

I'm curious--What are some examples of "special venues?" you referred to?

Bill
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Old 23rd May 2002, 10:05 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by Bill F.
Your theatre sound systems are pretty ambitious. (I love going to Omnimax movies and seeing the kit behind the screen when they backlight it.) Are you planning to push this as a turnkey package to enforce conformity or just as a rigorous set of standards? It certainly sounds like much of the hardware will be propriatary. Is that going to be a big financial pill for franchisees to swallow?
It will no doubt be a careful mix. Most of the exhibition end cannot swallow the cost, but fortuneatly biggies like Tehnicolor & Boeing are stepping up to fund the transition.

Quote:
Regarding the physiological effects of sub-bass, I followed the "brown note" thread with interest. Perusing the links, I didn't come across dire warnings of profound effects. Do you have any other info on this? the worst I read about was mild queezyness and tickling. Tom Danley talks about working on a 10Hz piston-driven horn that visibly shivered every leaf and blade of grass in the area. Oh well, I suppose there are always those extra-sensitive people...
Most of our, admittedly sketchy, data comes from the effects the 17 Hz system installed for some showings of Earthquake.

Quote:
I envision deep, clean sub bass to be a very useful tool for producers. Though inaudible, it creates a palpable sense of foreboding, dread, and power that you can turn off and on at will.
Certainly an area for exploration -- i expect you would have no end of vollenteer subjects.

Quote:
I'm curious--What are some examples of "special venues?" you referred to?
Probably best exemplified by the "ride films"... Back to the Future, Terminator 3D, Spiderman, Captain Eo...

dave
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Old 23rd May 2002, 10:50 PM   #5
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Default Huh?

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Well as you know planet10 that subs are what I am knowable in….
You could have fooled me. You are 17 and you have a lot to learn about damn near everything from what I have read.

Jocko
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Old 23rd May 2002, 10:59 PM   #6
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Unhappy palpable sense of foreboding, dread

Who needs a subwoofer for that, just read this thread.

"I followed the "brown note" thread with interest." Hmmm..... I think I feel one coming on now!
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Old 23rd May 2002, 11:13 PM   #7
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Default Re: Huh?

Welcome to the thread Jocko & Harry -- the dynamic duo weighs in -- Harry got any batman & robin pics you can post?

Jocko, please keep the disparaging remarks to Slice's thread ;^)

dave

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Old 24th May 2002, 03:43 AM   #8
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Thought that thread has run its course. Been busy here, and sometimes lose track.

Jocko
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Old 24th May 2002, 04:53 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jocko Homo
Thought that thread has run its course
Actually the thread (at page 5!) has just gotten started. Slice has had the chip knocked off his shoulder and we are finally making some progress getting his system designed.

dave
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Old 24th May 2002, 05:20 AM   #10
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Dave, I wish you luck. You obvioiusly have more patience and/or tolerance than I do. That thread exploded so fast it was hard to keep score.

Ooops....it is now up to page 6.

Jocko
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