The event at Jigsaw 24's Soho base in Golden Square in London had a someone different line up from what was advertised but the underlying theme was unchanged - 3D audio for broadcast, film and VR.
Dolby Atmos VR
We started with a presentation from Ceri Thomas for Dolby Atmos about their work in developing VR tools to take Dolby Atmos content and producing it in a VR format using Pro Tools and the Dolby Atmos Production Suite.
A lot of audio from VR is starting with Ambisonics mics like the Soundfield or Sennheiser Ambeo which can be considered as inside-out technologies. By that, the mic is essentially a point source looking out at the sound stage and recording that. The downside is that the localisation on playback cannot be that accurate, Dolby suggests a 15 deg error with first-order ambisonics.
What Dolby has done is take an outside-in approach using Dolby Atmos objects which they can control and position in the 360 sound field very accurately and output them in a VR format like Facebook 360 or YouTube formats, which means that the elements of the mix are positioned in the sound field and can be set to follow the head tracking or not.
Ceri had a very interesting demo of a band laid out in a studio in a circle around a 360 camera, all miced up conventionally and then each instrument treated as an object, in the Dolby Atmos workflow in a Pro Tools session and then outputted to a binaural signal, set to follow the head tracking to feed the headphones of an Occulus headset so whatever musician you were looking at was in the centre of your sound image just as it would be in real life.
Pro Tools With Dolby Atmos Integration
Next up was Simon Sherbourne from Avid UK, with a cinematic Dolby Atmos demo showing the upcoming integrated features in Pro Tools HD as well as the elements in the new Dolby Atmos Production Suite including the Dolby software render system and the Dolby monitor unit.
It was great to see the new features in use on the Dolby Atmos remixed version of their specially shot mini movie 'Agent Zero'. As part of his demo, Simon showed the new feature where you can switch an audio track from feeding a 7.1.2 stem into being an object, rendering the software render app from the Dolby Atmos Production Suite which saves having to duplicate the track and also will be able to automate that switch from feeding a stem to being an object and back to feeding a stem.
Focusrite Commerical And Pro Audio Presentation
Finally Simon Short from Focusrite presented the products in the new Commercial And Pro Audio Division at Focusrite that is now headed up by Rich Nevens who has recently moved from Avid to Focusrite.
There was a great vibe at the event and both sessions were well attended with a number of other brands in attendance including our friends at Nugen Audio.