Curtains close on Kodak Theatre as Dolby takes over
Down came Kodak, and up went the Dolby signs at the home of the Oscars, as film industry sound company Dolby Laboratories on Monday unveiled a high-tech, 3D cinema system at the theatre that now bears its name.
The owners of the venue in downtown Hollywood that hosts the world’s top film awards annually have re-christened it the Dolby Theatre, according to Reuters.
It had been known as the Kodak Theatre since it first opened in 2001, but after imaging and photographic equipment maker Eastman Kodak Co filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in January, it moved to get out of its naming rights contract.
With the change, Dolby showed off its latest innovations meant to transform the 3 400-seat live-show theatre into a state-of-the-art performance space with new audio technology and 3D visual systems.
“This is an opportunity to continue our commitment to an industry we’ve been committed to for 40 years,” Kevin Yeaman, chief executive of Dolby, told reporters.
The Dolby Theatre spans 16 723 square metres over several floors – dwarfing most movie theatres. To enhance the cinema experience, designers added a 17-metre by 10-metre movie screen, two digital projectors, 164 loudspeakers, and two trusses over the audience with 22 aligned speakers on each.
The new 3D design employs a three-colour system mimicking the human left and right eye to provide sharper images and colour.
David Gray, vice-president of worldwide production services at Dolby, called the upgrade “a complete game-changer” for the theatre.
“A director can make this space be the reality that he or she wants you to experience,” said Gray.
The new technology is made to scale, so it can adapt to theatres of any size, from art-house screens to megaplexes, Dolby said.
An AP report says unlike Dolby Surround 7.1, which uses different audio channels, Dolby Atmos can render sounds in space by harnessing individual speakers instead of entire speaker arrays. Dolby Atmos also adds overhead speakers, which were installed in the Dolby Theatre on two 15-metre-long trusses that must be removed for the acrobatic acts in Iris.
The 85th annual Academy Awards are scheduled to be held at the new Dolby Theatre on February 24, 2013.