Berlinale: The Dolby Atmos® Master Class

The Dolby Atmos® Master Class
With The Post Republic
Featuring Christian Conrad and Lars Ginzel

Berlinale Talents is an initiative of the Berlin International Film Festival which hosts an extensive programme of master classes and panel discussions with experts in the film industry.  Talents is closely linked with the programmes of the festival sections, curating its events based on what or who is featured in the main strand of the Berlinale.

As part of the Talents initiative, Dolby® Laboratories hosted a master class to discuss theoretical and technical insights into using their new technology Dolby Atmos®. Sound designer and composer Christian Conrad and re-recording mixer and sound designer Lars Ginzel joined their employers from The Post Republic alongside Dolby to present examples of the technology in use.  They showed various clips using 5.1 and Dolby Atmos® mixes for side by side comparisons of what each sounds like.  In some instances, there were also visualizations on screen to help the audience understand where the sound was positionally being mixed to.

While a couple of the clips were interesting and relevant, there were far too many and far too little discussion.  The floor opened up to a Q&A at the end of the session – finally a chance for the sound designers to discuss their work.  Sadly this was cut short, leaving the entire session feeling more like a showcase for The Post Republic sat within a sales pitch for Dolby Atmos®.

As a sound geek, I would have loved to have heard more from the sound designers themselves rather than watch many clips which demonstrated the exact same thing multiple times.  Perhaps this is the issue with having corporate and business focused involvement in a master class that should have focused more on the wealth of knowledge possessed by Conrad and Ginzel.  Fortunately the sound designers stayed behind after the session to speak to anyone with further questions, but it’s a shame that this knowledge wasn’t shared more in the master class itself.

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