Immersive Sound, SMPTE DCP, and Security

Audio is the stepchild of digital cinema. Not that there’s no one who understands it. But rather that there are so many who think they understand it better than anyone else. There is now an opportunity to manage the standardization of immersive sound in cinema and clean up a few things along the way. It remains to be seen if the industry is smart enough to get this right.... [continue reading]

Ang Lee’s Experiment with “Billy Lynn’s Long Half-Time Walk”

Only a handful of cinemas around the world displayed Ang Lee’s “Billy Lynn’s Long Half-Time Walk” in its full 120 fps, 4K, 48-nit 3D glory. It was an experimental format, requiring a non-DCI-compliant projection system to properly present it. While some in the technical community have railed on Sony for not making it more widely available in its experimental form, it’s an unfair position. This was an expensive experiment, and Sony should be congratulated for supporting Ang Lee’s vision at all if such experiments are to ever take place again.... [continue reading]

QSC Strategically Acquires USL

That offers were lining up at the door for USL was not a well-kept secret. In the 1980’s, Jack Cashin, owner and CEO of USL, was the first and only person to beat infringement of Ray Dolby’s A-Type noise reduction. He cleverly did this by designing a mathematically equivalent circuit with identical response using a method overlooked by Dolby’s patent. That, plus USL’s own flavor of matrix decoding, elevated USL’s popularity for cinema sound processors. Over the years, USL expanded its product line into measurement tools and media blocks. But the clock was ticking.  Mr. Cashin was ready to sell, and QSC scored. The deal closed September 30, 2016.... [continue reading]

HFR Attempts a “Walk” Back Into Cinema

Over the years, digital capture has moved significantly, from a limited tool that tied the hands of cinematographers, into a highly capable technology that stirs the imagination. One of those points of exploration has been higher frame rates. Peter Jackson, with the support of Warner Bros, admirably took the first big step along this route, with the three releases of Hobbit. The first step may not always the best step, and while Hobbit was cited for its many flaws, none of it perturbs filmmakers. Ang Lee is no exception, with the upcoming release of Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk in 120 fps 4K 3D glory.... [continue reading]

Tessera Acquires DTS

Tessera, a successful licensing entity known for its face recognition technology and semiconductor packaging technologies, announced plans to enter the media space through the acquisition of DTS. The acquisition is positioned as a merger under a new but yet-to-be-announced company name. The DTS brand will continue under the new company.

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Dolby Opens Up Immersive Sound

The past four years have been ripe with controversy over immersive sound in cinema. Every technology provider in this space claims some degree of intellectual property, creating sparks with distributors and exhibitors seeking a koombya moment of love and peace where everyone shares a single immersive sound distribution. But miracles happen. At the end of September, Dolby took the bold step of removing its claim to intellectual property in its distribution format. In taking this step, Dolby opens the door to license-free distribution that should have a significant, positive impact on the growth of immersive sound in cinema.

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