Right on time for the start of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, the Traumpalast in Backnang, Germany installed a new Dolby Atmos surround sound system. The cinema in this Swabian town northeast of Stuttgart is only Germany’s second featuring the new sound technology. In this case as well, Kinoton handled all of the planning, logistics, and installation work.
Kinoton specially configured the new Dolby Atmos system to suit the auditorium in the Backnang Traumpalast. Additional surround speakers on the ceiling and side walls and subwoofers on the rear walls dynamically immerse moviegoers in a world of sound. All of the speakers (a total of 57) are powered by a dynamic amplification system with a total output of about 40,000 watts.
Dolby Atmos is backwards-compatible and also supports the Dolby Surround 7.1 and 5.1 formats. Until now, a state-of-the-art cinema with 7.1 or 5.1 could distribute the sound to seven or five channels plus a subwoofer group for playing music, background noises, dialog, or sound effects. Dolby Atmos goes further: in addition to sending the sound out via channels, it can be individually distributed to as many as 64 discrete speaker feeds. What's more, "sound objects" can be defined at any desired coordinates within the auditorium. For example, an object could combine a bird's song with the noise of its wings flapping, or when a window is smashed include the sound of the falling glass shards.
Dolby Atmos has already been used for films including The Life of Pi and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey. Even the "soft sounds" in Hobbit become amazingly realistic with Dolby Atmos. Like when a bird flies through the forest, or if someone is talking in a hobbit den, the sound lets you tell where the -still unseen - speaker is located. The release of a number of other films using Dolby Atmos has been announced for 2013.
The Backnang Traumpalast reopened on November 1, 2012 after remodeling. The cinema's five auditoriums together seat more than 600, and the customization, variety, and colors of its interior decoration and furnishing are probably unique in the cinema industry. "The Traumpalast is luminous, all in blue like the stars on the logos, from the façade through the foyer into all of the auditoriums," says owner Heinz Lochmann, who has now opened his sixth Traumpalast cinema.