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'Brave' Soundscape: How Pixar Created 3D For Your Ears (VIDEO)

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In this fascinating documentary produced by SoundWorks Collection, we learn about the revolutionary sound design for Pixar’s newest film, "Brave." The film is mixed for 3D sound -- an “encapsulating sound, a dimensional sound” as described in the SoundWorks documentary by the director of "Brave" Mark Andrews.

"Sound is more 3D than 3D visuals, because it puts you in the environment and it shoves you into that screen," Andrews says.

Sound designers mixed the film traditionally, but took time after the first mix of 'Brave' to individually mix different sounds to various speakers around the room, creating that 3D, encapsulating effect. But to do this, they had to build a new speaker system more advanced than the speaker technology we use in theaters today. And so Dolby's Atmos was introduced.

In an interview with Wired, Nicolas Tsingos, a computer scientist and senior platform manager at Dolby, describes the difference between the two sound systems: "Instead of carrying everything in terms of a fixed number of channels, we're basically carrying individual sound effects." So all of the detailed sounds in the film -- an arrow cutting through the air, or roaring laughter -- are actually "mapped to 'objects' which can be controlled dynamically and manipulated around the theater."

Each speaker thus acts as an individual point sound source, which blends and mixes the acoustic environment and envelops you in that space. Fourteen theaters around the United States implemented Dolby's Atmos system for the premiere of "Brave" last Friday. No doubt we'll be hearing more of this technology in the coming months. Check out the short documentary above about the unique sound in "Brave," and let us know what you think of this 3D soundscape in the comments.

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