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Dolby announces new audio format

The ShoWest trade show earlier this month was the venue for the introduction of Dolby Surround 7.1, reports David Davies. Dolby Laboratories is working with Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios to deliver the new format, which will debut in select theatres with the release of Toy Story 3 in 3D this June. Dolby Surround 7.1 provides content creators with four surround zones to orchestrate audio channels in a movie theatre. The four surround zones incorporate the traditional Left Surround and Right Surround with new Back Surround Left and Back Surround Right zones. The addition of the two Back Surround zones, says Dolby, enhances directionality in panning 360 degrees around the theatre.
Dolby Surround 7.1 format comprises eight channels of audio and features the following channel layout: Left, Centre, Right, Low-Frequency Effects (LFE), Left Surround, Right Surround, Back Surround Left (new), and Back Surround Right (new). In order for exhibitors to deliver the new format, Dolby will be providing Dolby Surround 7.1 playback capabilities in the Dolby CP650 and Dolby CP750 digital cinema audio processor lines. Speaking to PSN-e shortly after ShoWest, Dolby Laboratories’ senior director, marketing, Cinema Market Segment, Page Haun, observed that “reaction to the news about Dolby Surround 7.1 has been extremely positive. At ShoWest, we provided a demo of our 7.1 solution and spoke to many theatre owners. They were genuinely excited by the prospect of being able to offer cinemagoers an even more differentiated and enveloping 3D experience, while movie-makers told us they are keen to use this new audio format to bring even more intensity to their movies with the ability to provide greater definition in panning and more localised placement of audio to tie to 3D visuals.”