Following on from Avid's announcement on Dolby Atmos Integration In Pro Tools HD we have some more information about the tools Dolby are going to be offering to facilitate this from their end including details of the software render unit. They are releasing two software bundles, the Dolby Atmos Production Suite and Mastering Suite.
For Theatrical Release Mastering Nothing Changes
For those working on theatrical cinematic releases very little will change and once Pro Tools natively supports the Dolby Atmos 9.1 beds now being called 7.1.2 (where the .2 relates to a stereo overhead pair of channels and a conventional 7.1 stem). The 7.1.2 Atmos bed and accompanying panning metadata will continue to be rendered using the Dolby Atmos hardware Rendering and Mastering Unit (RMU), providing the audio elements of the DCP required for theatrical distribution. You can only get the Dolby RMU directly from Dolby and as before still, requires room certification by a Dolby representative or agent.
What Dolby have done now is to make two software products that were only available direct from Dolby under tight controls and bundle them into two new software packages, enabling users to create content for Blu-ray and Digital Delivery as well as VR content, without a Dolby Atmos Hardware RMU. Theatrical content will still need a Dolby RMU in a Dolby approved room.
What Is The Dolby Atmos Production Suite?
The Dolby Atmos Production Suite is a set of tools designed to allow audio post production professionals to work with content in the Dolby Atmos format. It is a complete in-the-box solution for Avid Pro Tools users working with Dolby Atmos, allowing monitoring of content without the need for an external Dolby Rendering and Mastering Unit.
It provides editorial and premix functionality for film and TV content, along with a complete end-to-end workflow for VR content. It also enables playback and QC of any Dolby Atmos master file, greatly simplifying QC workflows for high-value content.
What Does The Dolby Atmos Production Suite Do?
- Creation of Dolby Atmos content as part of in-the-box workflows with Pro Tools
- Complete end-to-end VR workflow for creation of encoded Dolby Atmos VR content
- Monitoring of Dolby Atmos content on speakers (up to 9.1.6 speaker layout) or binaurally on headphones
- Recording audio and metadata from Pro Tools to a Dolby Atmos Master File (.atmos file)
- QC of any Dolby Atmos master file (.atmos; PRM; DCP MXF; BWF ADM)
- Re-rendering (live or offline) of any Dolby Atmos master file to standard channel-based formats, including stereo, 5.1, 7.1, b-format and binaural PCM
What Is In The Dolby Atmos Production Suite?
- Dolby Atmos Renderer - This renders audio and Dolby Atmos metadata from a Pro Tools session. The software supports various tasks, including listening to a Dolby Atmos mix, and recording or playing back the Dolby Atmos master.
- Dolby Atmos Monitor Application - This lets you visually monitor the Renderer as it
- renders audio and Dolby Atmos metadata, and provides controls for recording or playing back the Dolby Atmos master.
- Dolby Atmos Panner plug-in - This lets you position audio objects for a Dolby Atmos
- home theatre mix. This panner plug-in lets you position audio objects in a three-dimensional audio field.
- Dolby Atmos VR Spherical Panner plug-in - One of two plug-ins that let you position audio objects for a Dolby Atmos VR mix. This panner plug-in lets you position objects using a polar coordinate system.
- Dolby Atmos VR XYZ Panner plug-in - One of two plug-ins that let you position audio objects for a Dolby Atmos VR mix. This panner plug-in lets you position objects in a three-dimensional audio field.
- Dolby Renderer Send plug-in - Plug-in that sends object or bed source audio to the Renderer.
- Dolby Renderer Return plugin - Plug-in that receives Dolby Atmos audio and metadata from the Renderer, and then routes the rendered mix to Pro Tools outputs.
- Dolby Atmos VR Transcoder - Application that enables you to encode Dolby Atmos content to Dolby Digital Plus (.ec3, .ec3 in .mp4 container) and B-format (FurseMalham [FuMa], AmbiX) output formats.
- Session Templates and Documentation
How The Dolby Atmos Production Suite Components Work Together
The software applications and plug-ins included with the Dolby Atmos Production Suite
installer, along with Pro Tools software running on a Mac, work together in supporting your
Dolby Atmos content creation rendering and mastering workflows.
Object tracks with Dolby Atmos Production Suite panner plugins - These are Pro Tools audio tracks with object audio. The Dolby Atmos Renderer supports up to 118 mono objects or a combination of mono and stereo objects totalling up to 118 object channel paths. Each track has a Production Suite panner plug-in inserted and set up so that it provides positioning and other metadata to the Renderer. Setup includes assigning each panner plugin to an object number. Panner object numbers and their descriptions are defined in the Renderer application. Each track routes its audio to an auxiliary input that has a Dolby Renderer Send plug-in on it (to send the signal to a Renderer input).
Bed tracks - These are Pro Tools audio tracks with bed material. In a basic Dolby Atmos setup, this is a 7.1 multichannel track and stereo overhead track. Each track routes its audio to an auxiliary input that has a Dolby Renderer Send plug-in on it (to send the signal to a Renderer input).
Bed and object audio sent to the Renderer inputs (via Dolby Renderer Send plug-ins) - For Dolby Atmos rendering, each bed and object track requires an auxiliary input track with
one Dolby Renderer Send plug-in inserted on it and configured for a Renderer input channel.
Each track receives audio from a Dolby Atmos object or bed track output bus and then sends
the material to the Renderer (via a Dolby Renderer Send plug-in on the track).
Renderer output signal returned to Pro Tools (via Dolby Renderer Return plug-ins), and then routed to Pro Tools outputs - For monitoring Dolby Atmos rendered outputs (or playing back a master), each Renderer output requires an auxiliary input track with a Dolby Renderer Return plug-in inserted on it and configured for a Renderer output channel.
Each track receives audio from a Renderer output (via a Dolby Renderer Return plug-in on the
track), and then uses an output bus to send the material to an auxiliary input track that
routes the audio to a Pro Tools output:
- A stereo auxiliary input track returns the rendered binaural Dolby Atmos audio from the Dolby Atmos Renderer and sends it to an auxiliary input track for headphone Left and Right output in Pro Tools.
- Up to 22 mono auxiliary input tracks return rendered speaker audio from the Renderer and send it to auxiliary input tracks for speaker outputs in Pro Tools.
- Up to 64 mono auxiliary input tracks return re-rendered audio from the Renderer and send it to auxiliary tracks for re-renderer outputs in Pro Tools.
Dolby Atmos Production Suite System Requirements
For the Dolby Atmos Production Suite you will need a Mac with:
- MacOS 10.12 and Pro Tools 12.7
- OS X 10.11.6 and Pro Tools 12.5.2
For the Dolby Atmos VR Player, the application that helps you:
- Audition content while mixing
- Playback encoded content
You will need a Windows PC that meets specifications for the Oculus DK2 and CV1 which can be found at Oculus' website.
Where Can I Get The Dolby Atmos Production Suite From?
The Dolby Atmos Production Suite is available for $299 from the Avid online marketplace.
What Does The Dolby Atmos Mastering Suite Do?
The Dolby Atmos Mastering Suite is a set of tools designed to allow a post-production facility create, edit, mix and master high-quality Dolby Atmos content for Blu-ray and Digital Delivery.
It provides all the necessary software for a facility to build their own Home Theater RMU (Rendering and Mastering Unit), as well as enable edit and pre-mix rooms to work with Dolby Atmos content that feeds into the main mix room.
- Allows a user to build their own HT-RMU, for the ultimate in Dolby Atmos mastering workflow
- Master high-value content for Blu-ray and digital delivery, without any restrictions caused by rendering on the same computer as you DAW
- Work with multiple source/recorder machines for ultimate flexibility, and with any existing Dolby Atmos panning client
- Includes 3 copies of the Dolby Atmos Production Suite, to enable edit and pre-mix rooms that feed into a main mix room
Can I Master Theatrical Content Using The Dolby Atmos Mastering Suite?
The Dolby Atmos Mastering Suite is designed to replace what was formally know as the “HT-RMU” software, which is the version of the RMU designed for near-field mixing rooms being used to create content for Blu-ray and Digital Delivery. This software is not designed for mixing movies in large theatrical mix rooms or creating master files destined for DCP Delivery. For this workflow, a cinematic RMU is needed, which is provided to approved rooms through the existing Content Services room approval program.
The Dolby Atmos Mastering Suite allows for the creation of consumer Dolby Atmos master files (.atmos), whereas the Theatrical Mastering suite allows the creation of PRM style print masters, along with the DCP MXF Atmos file.
Where Can I Get The Dolby Atmos Mastering Suite From?
The Dolby Atmos Mastering Suite is available for $995 through Dolby's certified dealer network. Currently, these are Dolby's certified dealers...
- RSPE - LA
- AID - LA
- Westlake Pro - LA
- Dale Pro Audio - NYC
- HHB Communications - London
- ACE - Hong Kong and Beijing