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Dolby christens Oscar home

Signage, sound system set for unveiling

Christening its new sponsorship of the home of the Oscars, Dolby devoted Monday to unveiling fresh signage for the Dolby Theater in Hollywood as well as the venue’s introduction of Dolby Atmos sound system.

Dolby, which in May signed a 20-year naming rights deal for the theater (replacing Kodak), is wasting little time in using the locale as a global launching point for Atmos, though its effect on the Oscars themselves is yet to be determined. Nevertheless, with 164 loudspeakers installed, averaging one speaker for every 20 guests in the 3,400-capacity theater, the impact doesn’t figure to be a quiet one.

“The discussions with the Academy literally started last week,” Dolby exec sales and marketing veep Ramzi Haidamus said Monday morning, with Dolby’s exterior signage mounted but under wraps in preparation for the evening’s unveiling. “(They) have heard what we can do, and clearly we need to define what that experience is going to be.

“We haven’t resolved it, but there’s no question that the Oscars are on our mind.”

Dolby plans a worldwide rollout for its Atmos system, which the company says is adaptable to theaters of any size.

“We’re not just dealing strictly in channels — we’re dealing in space,” said Dolby worldwide production services veep David Gray. “We can put that sound in anywhere in that space you want.

“It’s a whole different way of looking at sound design, creation, and playback. … Mixers and sound editors are really just looking for ways to grab their audiences in one more dimension and further their creativity.”

Dolby has had to work around Cirque du Soleil’s ongoing “Iris” production at the venue to do its installations. The new sound system will get its first public test with the world premiere screening of Disney-Pixar’s “Brave” at the Dolby Theater on June 18.

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