AES Section Meeting Reports

London Ontario Student - March 1, 2010

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Peter Ogborn, Senior Audio Engineer from the IMAX Soundtrack Mastering Facility in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada provided a detailed presentation regarding IMAX theaters, IMAX history, and IMAX audio delivery and production. This meeting took place at OIART (Ontario Institute of Audio Recording Technology Inc.) in London, Ontario, in their lecture hall/surround mixing studio. Peter discussed the differences between IMAX film and standard 35mm film, as well as the differences between IMAX theaters, and standard theaters. He also discussed some of IMAX's competitive advantages over standard theaters such as, their custom built sound systems designed specifically for IMAX theaters, and custom theater geometry with room specific tuning. Some other key points were that IMAX theaters use 6.0 surround systems, with PPS loudspeakers (PPS:Proportional Point Sound) which provides a more even dispersion of sound. Peter then went on to discuss the role he plays at the IMAX Soundtrack Mastering Facility, which mainly deals with quality control, checking the audio for artifacts prior to release. Actually Peter claimed that every soundtrack for IMAX theaters in the world goes through this quality control process at their facility prior to release. All film soundtracks need to be remixed for IMAX theaters; the IMAX mixer is provided with a stem mix from the original mixing facility. That remixed version is then sent to the Soundtrack Mastering Facility for a final approval. IMAX delivers their audio separately from film, and always incorporates two projectors. IMAX's dual projector system is not only utilized for 3D features but also 2D features to create a brighter and sharper image. For 3D features one projector functions as the left eye while the other the right eye. These projectors have a feature called "Image Enhance" which is capable of real-time fixes, such as ghost busting: real-time correction of ghosting in 3D images. IMAX has theaters specifically for 2D features, 3D features, and has a few dome theaters. The largest IMAX theater is in Sydney, Australia, which has an 8-story tall screen. IMAX plans to release 14 films in their theaters in 2010, 13 of which are feature/hollywood films. Peter then played us a clip from a Pro Tools session of a U2 3D concert film. The OIART surround system had to be re-calibrated by Peter for IMAX sound.

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AES - Audio Engineering Society