A new dimension in cinema sound

Written by BV Mahalakshmi | Updated: Dec 23 2013, 07:41am hrs
Feel the soundthis is the new mantra in the Indian cinema industry. Moviegoers will soon discover what it means to be truly immersed in sound and not mere noise. Some cinema houses in the country are gearing up to equip themselves with a new sound technology called Auro 11.1 by Belgium-based Barco, that holds the promise to create an impactful motion picture experience.

Hyderabad-based Ramanaidu Studios and Suresh Productions will install the Auro-3D Studio System in some of their existing facilities to enhance movie viewing experience.

A peek into sound technologies reveals a shift from Mono to Dolby and now Auro series. Auro-3D is a next generation audio format that delivers a full three-dimensional sound spread capable of reproducing natural acoustic space. Movies such as Avatar, Rise of the Guardians, Elysium, Oz the Great and Powerful, or new movies which are scheduled for release such as The Penguins of Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda 3 or How to Train Your Dragon 2have been equipped with the Auro 11.1 technology in order to envelop audiences with lifelike sound.

Auro 11.1 offers audiences a superior sound experience by reproducing sound on three axes (x,y,z) with three layers of sound which create a natural spread of acoustic energy around the whole audience. With ambient sounds coming from all around and above, moviegoers hear the most true-to-life reproduction of sound, creating the most immersive experience as if they are part of the action on screen.

What makes the difference in sound Explains Wilfried Van Baelen, inventor of the Auro-3D format and CEO of Auro Technologies, Three-dimensional, immersive sound is not only about discrete, individual sounds that originate from around and above the listener such as birds, airplanes, etc, but more important is the ability of the sound system to deliver the sensation of being immersed by sound that originates from the combination of both lower and height channels reproducing the ambient sounds such as concert hall reflections, the sound of leaves rustling in the forest or the ambience of a busy market square. Let us look at it from a laymans perspective. In nature, listeners are surrounded by acoustic reflections: this acoustic information is essential in enabling the human brain to correctly position sound sources unconsciously. Auro 11.1 is different from (2D) surround sound, where speakers are positioned

only in the horizontal planewhich does not allow sounds from objects or reflections to be reproduced in three-dimensional space. To offer the listener a completely natural sound experience, the height axes must be used in the front, sides and back.

Auro 11.1 is a channel-based solution which is based on three layers of loudspeakers (lower surround, height and overhead) to achieve a full three-dimensional sound spread capable of reproducing natural acoustical space with a minimum number of channels and speakers.

Oscar winning music director AR Rahman, vouches about Auro 3D as a giant leap. We have been hearing sound and sound plays an important role in story telling. When I started, I had mono sound in Roja and after which the kind of improvement sound has made is amazing, he said after the audio launch of Maryan which is one of the first Indian movies to be mixed in Auro 11.1.

Film producers agree that sound is responsible for at least 50% of the emotional experience in a film. As such, the film industry has always been at the forefront to push the envelopes of sound

reproduction: the introduction of stereo and later surround sound, the introduction of digital audio with Dolby Digital, DTS, etc.

It is now the turn of Auro 11.1 format to provide a premium cinema experience to movie buffs in the country!