Why Star Wars is Important for the AV Industry

Star Wars The Force Awakens

There’s understandably a lot of hype this week about the new Star Wars movie ‘The Force Awakens’ which had its premiere this week. Many of us within the AV industry are of an age where we saw the original Star Wars trilogy at the cinema as kids and have a special affection for the movies. But that’s not the only reason that the latest Star Wars instalment is of special importance to AV enthusiasts and professionals alike.

If you’re into photography, you may be familiar with the term HDR (High Dynamic Range). This is the difference between the whitest white and the blackest black and how many different levels there are between the two extremes. There’s a lot of talk at the moment about 4K and Ultra HD in terms of the next big thing to improve the quality of television pictures (and great it is too); but possibly of more importance is the introduction of HDR to television. The human eye perceives a greater dynamic range as more detail and for many people this is a more dramatic improvement in picture quality than the increased resolution of 4K.

So what’s this go to do with Star Wars?

Well at the moment there are a number of different ‘standards’ for HDR which is making it difficult for TV manufacturers to introduce the technology and know that it will definitely be compatible with future HDR broadcasts. One of the leading standards out there is Dolby Vision (yes a picture technology from the people famous for surround sound). Two of the three cinemas that showed the premiere of The Force Awakens were equipped with Dolby Vision along with the latest Dolby Atmos surround sound. The Force Awakens isn’t the first film to be released in Dolby Vision (it’s actually the 14th) but it’s certainly the one that’s likely to get the most attention.

We think it looks and sounds fantastic,”  Curt Belhmer , Dolby Senior VP, says of the Dolby Vision version of The Force Awakens. “It’s well suited for the format, because we can show black space and vibrant colour. Atmos give us an immersive and compelling soundtrack.

Already Cyberhomes is installing Dolby Atmos into many of the home cinemas we design and we’ll also be recommending HDR capable TVs and projectors as they become available and the format is standardised. Let’s hope that when The Force Awakens is eventually available to watch in your home cinema it will be available with both Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos.

May the force be with you…

Main image courtesy of Lucasfilm
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on 16 Dec 2015
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