Dolby Gets Reel: Dubai-based circuit commits to Atmos and SLS speakers

Features
Technology

A few weeks ahead of CinemaCon, Dolby Laboratories further expanded its Dolby Atmos presence, announcing a landmark agreement with Reel Cinemas.

Reel, a dynamic cinema brand under diversified Dubai-based Emaar Entertainment, becomes the first exhibitor to outfit every single screen across its entire geographic footprint with Dolby Atmos and Dolby Laboratories’ latest generation of SLS loudspeakers.

Emaar is a leading provider of first-class entertainment-related experiences, including cinema and a wide array of other options, for its customers living in the Middle East. All of its movie theatres are located in Dubai.

Work on the construction project is commencing immediately, with a target completion date for the full deployment slated for later in 2017.

Michael Archer, Dolby’s VP of worldwide cinema sales, stated, “Reel Cinemas will be installing the Dolby Atmos immersive audio system and deploying our SLS 3-Axis Speakers MA 390C across all 42 of its movie screens, including their play-downs. This large-scale deployment will benefit all patrons throughout their circuit, including guests at the 22-screen Reel Cinemas facility based in The Dubai Mall.”

SLS speakers provide several key additional benefits to theatrical exhibitors which help distinguish them from competing audio solutions. Advantages of the 3-Axis systems include simpler and cheaper installs, thereby reducing labor costs. The speakers are small, light packages that help facilitate the overall installation process for theatre owners.

“Reel Cinemas aims to deliver the most revolutionary and state-of-the-art technologies for our guests. This collaboration with Dolby means that cinemagoers can feel fully immersed in the story unfolding on screen,” said Adon Quinn, senior director, Reel Cinemas/Emaar Entertainment.

“Reel Cinemas will become the first cinema chain in the world to have Dolby Atmos with SLS loudspeakers across our entire portfolio, a testament to our commitment to offering the very best experiences to cinemagoers,” Quinn concluded.

The spherical SLS loudspeakers deliver clear and powerful sound. They can be mounted either on the ceiling or affixed to the wall of the auditorium. Once installed, the speakers are easily adjusted for pan, tilt and rotation. The SLS 3-Axis equipment also comes with additional benefits to theatrical exhibitors in case any subsequent repairs or other adjustments are needed down the road. This is an important selling point for the Dolby Laboratories sales team.

“A future offering for the SLS ceiling speakers will be the ability to configure and install them with a new SLS Audio Rapid Rigging System, which will be available in April 2017,” Archer noted. “This new offering will also allow maintenance crews to easily make any future repairs, if necessary, by utilizing pulleys to bring the speakers to the back of the auditorium while a theatre employee stands on a ladder in the auditorium, making the necessary adjustments. In the past, a full set of scaffolding was typically required to fix in-theatre ceiling speakers, which often resulted in more complicated, expensive and time-consuming repairs.”

With the availability of the SLS Audio Rapid Rigging System, the latest SLS Axis line of speakers will be easier to maintain and repair due to the aforementioned pulleys. Using scaffolding to access speakers in the ceiling would probably necessitate a theatre owner hiring an outside contractor to both set up and subsequently remove the scaffolding, potentially creating an exhibitor nightmare—downtime for the entire auditorium and resulting loss of movie admissions and higher margin concessions and other revenue until the requisite repairs are completed and the scaffolding removed from the premises.

With a growing global base of 2700+ Atmos screens installed or committed to, Dolby Laboratories continues to strengthen its foothold among the worldwide elite leaders in cinema audio technologies. The company is of course also renowned for its image and voice prowess on a global scale, including helping transform entertainment and communications in mobile devices, at the cinema, at home and at work.

Its worldwide Atmos footprint is currently spread across more than 75 countries, representing over 500 theatre exhibitor partners based around the globe. Also of note, to date already 650 movie features have either been produced and theatrically released, or have been officially committed to in the immersive Dolby Atmos audio format.

What’s ahead in the world of state-of-the-art sound? Taking a quick look into his crystal ball, Archer commented, “I expect we will continue to see the ongoing trend of next-generation audio, like Dolby Atmos, continue to expand across multiplexes beyond the PLFs and largest screens. Today in Hollywood, for example, we are having lots of conversations about object-based audio, and with every studio releasing Dolby Atmos titles we are seeing a strong commitment from filmmakers who look to advance the moviegoing experience.”