Some of the biggest names in the film industry have already pledged support towards virtual reality (VR) technology. Studios such as Dreamworks are looking towards VR as a new way to deliver storytelling. Today sees one of the biggest names in movie audio, Dolby Laboratories, take its first steps into the realm of VR in partnership with cinematic company Jaunt. Together the pair will adapt Dolby Laboratories’ Atmos surround sound technology for use with VR content.
Atmos is an ‘object based’ system that works differently to traditional surround sound such as Dolby Laboratories’ 5.1 and 7.1 systems. Whereas these concepts sent specific audio segments to specific speakers, Atmos introduces a new system in which audio is assigned a point a given room and then the system itself will decide which speakers will need to relay the sound. On mobile devices, which are used to run untethered VR experiences with head-mounted displays (HMD) such as Google Cardboard, Atmos can create binaural audio for headphones.
Jaunt and Dolby Laboratories’ first order of business is to release Atmos-enabled versions of the latter’s existing videos. This includes Kaiju Fury, Black Mass and Jaunt’s first video, a recording of a live performance from Sir Paul McCartney. Just where the pair will go from there is unclear although it would certainly be encouraging to see Atmos used in Jaunt’s future projects. Possible integration with the Oculus Rift HMD versions of Jaunt’s videos is also yet to be discussed.
VRFocus will continue to follow both Jaunt and Dolby Laboratories’ work in VR, reporting back with any further updates.