“Ray Dolby’s pioneering work in sound played a pivotal role in allowing Star Wars to be the truly immersive experience I had always dreamed it would be.”
— GEORGE LUCAS
Ray Dolby (1933–2013), an American engineer and inventor, founded Dolby Laboratories in London, in 1965, with a employees of 4. The aim was to do issues with sound that had never ever been performed prior to. To push the limits. To aid artists inform their stories, the way they intended. To aid people today really feel these stories.
Nearly six decades later, the song remains the exact same.
“We are really focused on bringing spectacular experiences in any entertainment. What happens of course is that over time, the way you experience entertainment changes, or the way you interact with entertainment changes,” John Couling, Senior VP of Commercial Partnerships at Dolby, tells TheSpuzz Online.
Couling has been with Dolby for more than twenty years, beginning off as an applications engineer working in the then-emerging DVD marketplace, going on to oversee its expansion into streaming and mobile.
“The fundamentals of entertainment haven’t changed whether you are delivering on a physical disk or over the internet. Our job is to really be providing the technologies that help the industry move forward,” Couling says.
To be capable to regularly do this, Dolby should study about new strategies of delivery, new markets and buyers, and engage with new partners but “that’s something that we do all the time.”
“When something new comes along, it is very natural for us to go and engage with that and become a part of it.”
What that indicates suitable now is that you will obtain Dolby inside televisions and sound bars, next-gen consoles like the Xbox Series X | S, mobile phones like the iPhone 12, TWS earbuds like the Samsung Galaxy Buds Pro, laptops and PCs, and “of course we haven’t forgotten our heritage. You will also find Dolby in a movie theatre.”
“A big part of our skill is being able to serve this broad set of participants, this broad set of partners. As it stands, we have hardware in our business, we have software in our business, we have licensing in our business, we have APIs in our business and all of those are different vehicles to bring the technology to market and put it in a form that is most useful for the customer,” Couling says.
Probably the largest component of Dolby’s company is audio coding, aka, Dolby Digital and Dolby Digital Plus, technologies that take sound, package it in digital kind, lower the information so it could be sent more than the web, mobile phone networks, and tv networks, and later decoded inside customer electronics devices for a film theatre-like surround sound knowledge – going beyond standard stereo.
Dolby Atmos is an extension of that. Couling goes so far as to get in touch with it paradigm shifting. The thought is to assume about sound as an object (rather than considering about channels and speakers) that you can then place anyplace you want, in space. Not only does it give creators an “endless palette”, but it also enables device companies to be “incredibly innovative” about how they provide it to buyers.
“You can put it into a television with only two speakers and still get this immersive enveloping sound. You can put it into a smartphone, and you can deliver that over two speakers or even over headphones. That technology then really scales across all those different areas.”
But probably the most intriguing technologies to have come out from Dolby’s “labs” in current instances is Dolby Vision. A step above HDR10 and HDR10+ formats, Dolby Vision supports 12-bit colour, a theoretical peak brightness of 10,000 nits, and dynamic metadata which provides creators sufficient legroom to separately optimise every single scene throughout post-production – that collectively allow more realistic and more potent visuals.
Dolby Vision IQ, announced at CES final year, builds on best of that by automatically adapting to the light in a area to present the greatest image probable on supported devices.
“In one sense, audio and video could not be more different. In another, they have a common thread which is about unleashing the power of amazing stories and doing that for everyone we can,” Couling says.
And just like that, Dolby (also) became a video corporation.
“The journey for us starts with the people who have the most creative minds. You know, people who write and perform songs, those who make movies, those who create TV shows. Those are the people who have stories in their minds and what our technology does is that it helps them tell that story in a better way.”
In a way, Dolby is acting like a bridge involving creators and buyers. The corporation puts in as a great deal work into the tools and the inventive procedure as it does into customer electronics.
“We develop tools that are on mixing stages and dubbing studios, we develop tools that cinematographers, directors and musicians use in order to create their art and we do it in a way that allows other people to be a part of the process too. The creative process is different to different people,” Couling says.
Couling and group “actively” host webinars, take component in trade shows, work with institutions that provide education so people today can study about Dolby technologies and what it can do for them, and how they can use it. On the creation side specifically, there is a lot of outreach on the grassroots level.
“If you are already making music in Pro Tools, you are using exactly the same tools to make music in Dolby Atmos in Pro Tools. Same is true if you are editing, say in Blackmagic Resolve. That is critical. If you love a guitar, you want to keep using the same guitar. What we (try to) do is, we put ourselves within the tools that people already use and that is what lowers the barrier, making it easy for people to adopt (our tools).”
The work does not finish there. Dolby also offers aid in fine-tuning audio/video for instance, throughout the later stages, to aid partners get the most out of its tools from a inventive point of view.
“Dolby is nothing without its partners,” Couling says. “They are a big part of what ultimately makes us successful.”
Apple is one of these partners totally re-imagining the way people today capture their valuable moments by bringing Dolby Vision recording straight to the iPhone. The iPhone 12 is the only smartphone in the planet today that can shoot and edit Dolby Vision video.
“What’s incredibly exciting about that is, millions of people using the same technology base as the leading filmmakers in Hollywood and Bollywood, you know around the world and that’s just wonderfully exciting for Dolby where we are trying to enable that creative idea. I think it also shows the power of working with great partners.”
Innovations such as these must also aid creators in crossing new barriers, in the wake of a international pandemic, so they can continue to make. Ideas have a knack of coming unannounced following all.
“If you look at the last year and the pandemic, everybody was forced to think quickly. We saw remote productions really grow. All that is down to the flexibility of the tools, to the flexibility of the software that people work with or the cloud infrastructures that they have built. It is much faster, it is much easier, to do today than it was in the past. So, what people do with that is they go and explore and come up with new ideas.”
Another innovation that appears to be a godsend in the present situation is Dolby Voice, a set of technologies developed to make conference calls really feel more organic and much less fatiguing. Lenovo announced a couple of new laptops at CES this year, that bring Dolby Voice on to the customer Computer forefront.
“We try to remove the noise that exists in the world around us, so that it is easier for you to hear. We place the different speakers around you in a way, so that your brain can use this spatial separation to help understand who is talking and what is being said. We also increase the far field voice capability. All this contributes to a better call, greater clarity, higher productivity and ultimately a more pleasurable experience,” Couling says.
The final location
When Dolby deploys its technologies in a customer electronic device like a phone, it also contains technologies to maximize the audio regardless of how it is delivered. So, if you have stereo music, it will consist of technologies to make the greatest use of the Dolby Atmos capability that is there in that phone. But that is not specifically the exact same as the music which was developed in Dolby Atmos.
Dolby is now working extensively to bring Dolby Atmos knowledge on all the content that people today definitely care about, specifically music and games. QQ speed, launched not too long ago, is the 1st mobile game to integrate Dolby Atmos.
But regardless of all the advancements and all that is coming in the days to come, Couling says Dolby is nevertheless far from peak innovation.
“Oh, I think there is plenty to keep us busy. There is always a lot that we could do. They say creatives are never satisfied and consumers always want more. So, I am not worried about it ever, feeling like we have achieved our goal. The only thing I really know is, tomorrow we will be even better because the people who make those shows or code those games or write those songs, they are always coming up with new ideas and are always pushing us.”