70mm And Digital Sound
This article first appeared in
The 70mm Newsletter
by: Thomas Hauerslev
- September 1996
In the past 11 years film
viewers have experienced a minimum of 8 different digital sound systems.
They are: Disney EPCOT technology, FuturCinema Systems, CDS, DDP (for
IMAX/IMAX Dome), L.C. Concept, DTS, SRD and SDDS.
In 1984 Glen Glenn Sound and SONY made a 65mm Super Panavision 70
demonstration short called "Digital Dream". The film was
not shown with a digital soundtrack, but it was the first all-digitally
recorded six-channel soundtrack. The film was produced and directed by
Eric Stahl (Variety 6 June 1984). In 1985, "Fantasia" was
presented in yet another digital sound system. The Plitt Century Plaza in
Los Angeles played limited engagements with off-the-shelf EPCOT timecode
technology through the HPS-4000 Sound speaker system. A year later, in
1986, the film "Home of the Brave" was exhibited and
advertised IN DIGITAL SOUND at the 57th Playhouse in New York. The format
carried the name FuturCinema Systems.
Then, in 1990 6-track digital discrete stereo became available exclusively
in 70mm. Cinema Digital Sound presented 70mm versions of the biggest
box-office hits of the time: "Dick Tracy", "Edward
Scissorhands", "Terminator 2: Judgment Day" and
"Days of Thunder" not forgetting the 20 min CDS
demonstration film "Sounds Like The Real World". They
were all available in CDS 70mm.
Further in 70mm reading:
70mm CDS Films
70mm DTS Films
What is DTS 70mm?
A few years ago three digital
systems, Digital Theater Systems (DTS), Dolby Spectral Recording - Digital
(SRD) and Sony Dynamic Digital Sound (SDDS) appeared almost simultaneous.
Almost overnight, 70mm prints became obsolete. 70mm prints with 6-track
magnetic sound, which previously was an advantage over 35mm sound, was now
reduced to a museum piece. Now, with high tech technology, it was possible
to have CD sound quality on a standard 35mm print. The next step was to
terminate the use of 70mm prints. Somewhere along the line, however, the
question of picture quality was forgotten. 2 questions are essential.
A) Why have sound quality improved with digital technology and not
B) Why not put digital sound on 70mm prints?
In the past years there has been a growing interest to put digital on 70mm
prints again. Digital Theater Systems has developed a 70mm version of
their highly respected 35mm version. The first film in the DTS
70mm process will be the restored version of "Vertigo".
The shape of the future must be
A) High Impact Cinemas
B) digital sound and
C) 65mm ultra high resolution film. Perhaps DTS is on the right
track. What follows is a description of DTS
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