The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey will be mixed in Dolby Atmos, the Boston Globe is reporting. The system is quite complex, giving audiences a much more realistic and immersive experience by utilizing a number of different speakers at various points in the feature.
Dolby’s senior technical marketing manager Stuart Bowling recently explained the process to The Associated Press.
“[Peter Jackson] felt it was going to make a big difference in how he tells stories,” Bowling said. “He doesn’t want people to just go and observe his movies. He wants you to feel like you’re part of the experience of the stories that’s he’s trying to tell on the screen and allow you to be part of Middle Earth.”
In order to make sure select locations are properly equipped to handle the Dolby Atmos soundtrack, the company plans to install speakers in 80 to 100 theaters by the time the film arrives on December 14.
While the system is relatively new, The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey isn’t the first film to utilize the technology. Disney-Pixar’s The Brave reportedly debuted the audio format last summer.
John Neill, head of sound at Park Road Post Production, explained how the process works:
“Dolby Atmos is fantastic from a sound quality position. We can now hear full range surround speakers, meaning that when we pan from the front to surround, the sound does not change in quality. The overhead speakers give us the opportunity to place the theater patron really in the location.”
When audiences step into theaters to experience The Hobbit this December, they’ll spend nearly two hours and 40 minutes surrounded by the Dolby Atmos soundtrack. Presently, it’s unknown if the home video release — including the confirmed extended version — will contain a Dolby Atmos audio track.
Are you planning to catch The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey when it hits theaters on December 14?