Despite taking place mostly in the vacuum of space, a place where sound notoriously doesn’t travel, the 2013 film Gravity managed to pick up an Oscar for both Best Sound Mixing and Best Sound Editing. If you have watched the film then to some extent you will certainly understand why the film managed to win those Academy Awards.
The sound team of Gravity faced a huge challenge because of the setting of the film. What sound effects can be used when there is no sound occurring? Well as Gravity can show us, sound effects aren’t really necessary. Instead of the sound effects that audiences would usually hear during films, Gravity instead had an original soundtrack created for it that was used to break up and amplify the silence of space. The soundtrack was very well created and the sounds that audience hears are certainly very good, but this is only part of the reason that the film won the awards.
Gravity used a relatively new technology called Dolby Atmos. The technology is essentially the next step up from surround sound in 3D sound. Announced in 2012, Atmos is more immersive than traditional sound and gives the viewer the feeling of being completely surrounded by the sound.
Is It a One-Off?
Far from the technology being a one-off, it is set to be the next big thing in films and it’s predicted that within a few years all new films will be using this technology. Cinemas all over the world will become more experiential than ever, and coupling this 3D sound with 3D images, as Gravity did with such aplomb, is sure to yield incredible results.
Is It only in Cinemas?
The good news is that this technology is already available for your own living room, and you can get the full 3D sound on your own couch. Despite it being available to buy now there is of course a premium on any new technology to the market, and you can be sure it will set you back a pretty penny. There is hope though; when you look at the falling price of 3DTVs in the last decade, you can see that 3D sound will soon be far more accessible for the masses.
As a leading provider of sound design in London we are mad about great quality sound and cannot wait for the day that this incredible development in sound quality is readily available to everyone!
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