Dolby taking on IMAX with own cinema format

Dolby has revealed that it will be launching its own advanced cinema format that will directly rival IMAX.

The company might be equated with high quality audio in most people’s minds, but Dolby is taking another massive step into the world of cinematic visuals.

Dolby recently announced a new movie projection format called Dolby Cinema. The idea is to pair the company’s high-end sound technology with its Dolby Vision, which applies high dynamic range technology to films.

Dolby Vision hit 4K TV sets this year, bringing with it “high dynamic range with enhanced colour technology that has been praised by filmmakers for its amazing contrast, high brightness, and colour range that more closely matches what the human eye can see,” according to Dolby.

Expect to see the first Dolby Vision projectors hitting select theatres in 2015.

Initial Dolby Cinema locations will be fitted out with 4K laser projector systems. Once Dolby Vision content becomes available, those cinemas will switch to dedicated Dolby Vision projection systems.

As that suggests, movies will need to be altered in post-production to capitalise on Dolby Vision technology – just like IMAX movies.

Apparently, the cinemas themselves will extend the cinematic experience. Dolby says that they’ll feature “a signature entrance and a dynamic audiovisual pathway that provide a new canvas for studio creatives to begin telling their story before the show begins.”

The auditoriums could feature full wall-spanning screens, atmospheric lighting, and “faceted acoustic panels designed to enhance the sound quality and heighten the sense of immersion.”

The first Dolby Cinema sites will open in The Netherlands and Barcelona next year.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Disney will be one of the first and most high profile companies to commit to the new format. That raises the tantalising possibility of and HDR version of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

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