I finally get why people love the movies so much, and why they say watching one is like being transported into a realm away from reality. Life of Pi made that transformation for me – in a 120-minute immersive experience with Pi and his incredible tale.
Golden Village’s GVmax at VivoCity screened the 3D version of Life of Pi last Wednesday, featuring their latest installation of the Dolby® Atmos™ sound and speaker system.
When caught up in a stunning visual experience in a film like Life of Pi, the unsung heroes behind the audio effects are normally left behind. I know that all too well, having spent nights in recording studios watching producers perfecting sound, writing about home theatre systems that combine a mix of technology and precise engineering to manufacture an environment that takes its audience away from reality. Many people do not realise how important the presence of sound, and the integral role it plays it creating space, in turn taking us closer to a realistic experience.
I was very impressed with Dolby Atmos, and even more impressed with Doug Hemphill, Ron Bartlett (Re-recording Mixers), Eugene Gerty (Supervising Sound Editor) and the sound crew with Ang Lee. The fact that they created a production track from scratch by collecting sounds from recording on the water, the hollow hull, the animals gave rise to a how “the sound (would) hug the audience”.
Sounds that we used to take for granted – flying fishes over you (from the perspective of a boat), the tiniest splash of water, a hollow tin landing in the water right in front of you – have been well-placed in each of the Dolby speakers to create the feeling of oneself being in the film. Wondered how the storm in the movie felt really huge and threatened to drown you out? That probably came from the overhead ceiling and side speakers as the storm brew and howled around you. Flying fishes that almost slapped your face as they flew by? Sound travelling from right to left speakers through the ceiling ones too.
Complete that with subtle 3D effects that are finally (!) not explosions in your face, but presented in the form of surreal, almost out-of-the-world landscape shots and I was pleasantly surprised to find myself disappointed when the film came to an end, simply because it was a story told and captured so well – in all sensory aspects.
Will I watch it again? In 3D, in Dolby Atmos? Definitely.
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