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This week I traded Hollywood for Downtown LA as I made my second pass through the LA Film Festival. While I missed the thrill that comes with seeing our company’s name bigger than life and twice as shiny atop the Dolby Theatre, it was good to revisit the downtown area I’ve come to know reasonably well through our trips to the GRAMMYs and E3.
My day at the festival began with a high school shorts program. The films selected by the folks at Film Independent, who put the slate together, came from a broad range of genres, with films that brought poetry to life to screwball comedies. One of my favorites involved a mysterious shadow organization called Secret Club. It was a riot, ending with a hilarious twist. Others dealt with smoking, unethically produced goods, and even a lonely dancer finding company in a cardboard cutout of Zac Efron.
Afterward, some of the student filmmakers participated in a Q and A session about their work, and I was delighted to hear how attentive they’d been to all aspects of production. Were there a few things that ended up in a shot or two by accident? Sure, but these guys knew about it, and could explain their approach to their projects in an engaged, informative way. Good things to come!
Next came the panel I’d come down for, The Sound of Stories. Moderated by The Hollywood Reporter’s Carolyn Giardina, the panel comprised Kerasotes Technical Director Fred Walraven, Dolby Sr. Worldwide Technical Marketing Manager Stuart Bowling, Sound Designer Will Files, and Director Eric Brevig. The experts talked about Dolby Atmos at length, and about the importance of sound to create realistic and moving experiences.
Will Files, who mixed the Dolby Atmos soundtrack for Disney•Pixar’s Brave, talked about subtle mixing techniques, mentioning one scene in Brave in which the queen is, as he put it, “feeling exposed.” In the Dolby Atmos mix, Files added a slight breeze blowing through the castle, which, while perhaps not the most realistic depiction of the scene on screen, adds to the mood of a bit of a chill, the queen’s feeling of nakedness. I’ll be listening for that when I go see Brave for the second time this week!
You can see more from the panel in this video:
After the panel was over I stopped by the LA Film Festival Filmmakers’ Lounge, where I had the chance to chat with a few enthusiastic film fans about their work and mine. I heard more than a few mentions of Dolby Atmos in the tent as it filled up, and left for the hotel feeling contented to know that everyone could enjoy this technology that we at Dolby have been crafting for quite some time.
Thanks for another great stay, LA!