Chennai races past Hollywood


Chennai: Chennaiites surely seem to have an ear for detail. Soon, the southern metropolis is all set to emerge as the only city in the world to have the maximum number of cinema screens fitted with latest Dolby Atmos sound technology.
By this December-end, the city will boast of over 40-plus theatres equipped with the object-based sound system, which is far higher than installations even in Hollywood. SPI Cinemas, owners of Sathyam multiplex, plan to install Dolby Atmos in 37 screens across their Chennai and Coimbatore theatres in six months time.
Other exhibitors as Inox and PVR Cinemas have also evinced interest in the technology and all put together the number is likely to touch around 40 screens in the city by this year-end, said Pankaj Kedia, the country manager of Dolby India. “This could possibly make Chennai the only city to have maximum Atmos installations in one single location in the world,” he added.
Chennai was also the first Indian city to get a Dolby Atmos theatre, an Atmos sound mixing studio and to get a first Indian movie in the new sound format, Sivaji 3D. This was possibly because of the importance that city folks render to audio systems in movie halls, as revealed by a recent Dolby survey.
A cinema hall’s audio system seems to be an important criterion for Chennaiites while selecting a movie hall and over 94 per cent of Chennai population prefers Dolby screens, the survey said.
This perhaps seems to be triggering most city exhibitors and producers to embrace new technologies. “Atmos would cost us about 10-20 per cent more but the sound experience is unique,” said C.V. Kumar, producer of Villa-Pizza 2 movie.
Though the sound mixing process is stretched by a month in the case of Atmos technology, the result is better precision, detailing and clarity of sound, said sound designer Vishnu Govind.

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