I have a confession to make. I’ve never actually seen Interstellar. I mean, I’ve heard nothing but raving reviews from friends or strangers on the internet but there is only so much McConaughey a man can take and Fools Gold just pushed me over the edge.
Anyway back to the festival. It was finally upon us, there was no stopping the runaway train now and it was heading straight for Showcase Cinema which is where we began our adventure with a lesson in the sheer scope of sound from James Shannon who works for Dolby UK. Now I’ll admit, going in to this presentation I would have considered myself quite ignorant when it came to sound in films, I was unaware of the brilliance of great sound design or how the step up from good, to great, sound really affected my cinema-going experience. This presentation literally opened my ears. We were in the special X-Plus screen at Showcase which is the only Atmos-equipped screen in Nottingham and on top of that we got to try out the new reclining, leather seats that had been installed. One word, incredible. I won’t go in to too much detail on that subject though, even though I most certainly could, I’ll focus more on the presentation itself.
After introducing himself, James went on to explain the layout of the speakers in the Atmos room, pointing out the multiple speakers on the walls around us, the two rows above us and the huge sets behind the screen. He informed us that when designing sound, Atmos can be used to play multiple sounds from different speakers at the same time. Then came the highlight of the presentation, James loaded up video file of a simple jungle location but the sound of the rain could be heard surrouding us. Each individual patter of droplets on leaves could be pinpointed to a direction in the room, we were completely immeresed in sound. Suddenly, the roar of thunder was passing overhead and a spine-tingling sensation overcame us when we could literally feel the sound flow through us. I may sound like I am exagerating certain aspects of this but I’m not, I was blown away by the system that is set up there and I cannot stress how awe-inspiring the new Star Wars is going to be in that X-Plus screen. An experience not to be missed.
After my ears had returned to their normal state we started work on preparing the other event scheduled for the day, this was the Tweet Up at Antenna, and the following day’s event which was the Drama Screening at Savoy Cinema. The Tweet Up was led by Angela Peters and Miguel Alves-Kahn, who are both actors in the industry and fielded a host of questions from both themselves and the audience. I say ‘audience’ but the event was held in a bar and was more of a chance for people in the industry to casually network with each other in a relaxed environment.
The Dolby Atmos presentation was a really interesting insight into an industry that I knew very little about and helped me understand more about the art behind sound design in films and also the capabilities to what sound can offer. The Tweet Up was a really interesting experience and helped me craft key networking skills that could and gave me a chance to mingle with local Nottingham professionals in the industry. This was a great way to kick start the festival with the first day ending in a really relaxed environment that i’m sure everyone there gained something from.
One of my fellows bloggers has written a piece about the Tweet Up and that can be found here
I was excited that it had finally begun and I couldn’t wait to get on with the rest of the events.