Brit acad taps Dolby for tech award

The British Academy of Film & Television Arts has chosen Dolby Laboratories Inc. to receive a Special Technical Award to mark the company’s “outstanding technical achievements in film sound.”

This is only the second time BAFTA has presented the Special Technical Award. Dr. Ray Dolby, founder and chairman of Dolby Laboratories, received the special silver BAFTA mask at a private gala dinner held at the Academy’s London headquarters on July 9, 1997.

In presenting the award, BAFTA chairman Tim Angel outlined the achievements Dolby Laboratories has made in the field of sound: more than 41,000 cinemas worldwide are equipped with Dolby decoders, more than 7,000 films have been recorded with Dolby soundtracks, Dolby owns 50 patents in the U.S. alone and more than 600 million consumers own products with Dolby technology.

British producer Simon Relph, vice chairman, film, of BAFTA, acknowledged Dolby’s support of filmmakers in the creation and exhibition of film soundtracks.

On receiving the award, Dr. Ray Dolby described how he had had a love for film from the age of 12. As an adult, his early attempts to improve film sound proved far too difficult, so consequently he addressed the “easier” problem of noise reduction for music studios.

Buoyed by his success, and with the help of Ioan Allen, VP of Dolby Laboratories, he tried again with film some years later and, using a combination of technologies, changed the sound of films forever. As he modestly put it, “It all seemed to work.”

Dolby Laboratories is based in San Francisco, with film division offices in Los Angeles and New York, and European headquarters in England.

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