Movies

My first Dolby Atmos experience

Warning: This post will derail into several unrelated topics. Let the adventure begin!

Date: November 12th 2017

Time: 10:30 pm

Movie: Thor Ragnarok a.k.a. Rainbows

Audio configuration: Dolby Atmos

Seats: 240

Viewers: 15

Depression level: mild

Popcorn: chilly cheese

Verdict: Meh. Auro 3D wins.

It was nice to see a good mix of loners and couples in the audience. Despite being a loner myself I was slightly uncomfortable with the close proximity that some of the other loners maintained with me. So I gently got up, went to the restroom, came back and sat in a completely different seat(like a man). It was interesting to see that all the loners had also left the hall, possibly to use the restroom. What was even more interesting to see was upon returning they looked around for me and sat right next to me again. I felt like a shepherd who came to watch Thor with a flock of sheep. I wasn’t threatened however. Most of them were nerds like me. Its easy to spot nerds and weirdos. Nerds keep checking their “notification-free” blank phone screens while weirdos secretly stare at people. I guess that makes me a weirdo too. Learning everyday! Back to the topic. I did not feel very enveloped in sound which is the whole point of ATMOS. The quality of audio I experienced does not justify the extensive use of expensive, high quality speakers. Maybe the audio was “too real”. I don’t know. I am aware that the audio in Thor is not great but I feel the whole ATMOS thing was overhyped. I guess movies need to be mixed properly to take full advantage of  ATMOS system. I am obsessed with surround sound. It might be because I am a homebody. However I think it plays an important part in todays cinema.

My theory on why surround sound is important:

Movies are getting realer. That’s not a real word but its true. We like it when there are “real” emotions, real weather and obviously, real sound. And for sound to be real, it has to come from all directions. It has to envelope the listener and take them on a journey away from reality. Wait… that contradicts what I just said but you get the point. This might come as a surprise to many movie enthusiasts but natural sound is surround sound at its best. Yes, I am talking about the sounds that you hear everyday. Take a moment and think about the sounds you hear everyday. Replay them in your head. I’ll help with a few examples from my exciting life:

  1. The sound of the alarm that reminds you everyday that there’s no escape. Even with your eyes closed you are able to make out in which direction the sound from hell is coming from. All it takes is a little fumbling around with the hands on the table, making way through all the antidepressants, bills and maybe a drop of the cellphone until you finally feel the familiar snooze button.
  2. Annoying roommates ,their radio and their general happy mood. For some reason, your roommate thinks the only way to spread joy is to make sure that her favourite DJ’s voice reaches aliens clearly.
  3. Neighbourhood dogs
  4. Thunder- You might have noticed that these types of sounds create uneasiness in the mind. Other examples include tremors, storms, etc. Studies have revealed that we are pre-programmed to dislike or fear these type of sounds as they signal danger. Just another gift of evolution.
  5. Drunk people in the night
  6. Lovers whispering
  7. Occasional hip hop fan driving by with the windows wide open, spreading happiness in his own way

What all of these sounds have in common is that you can localize the source without having to actually see them. We need the same effect in movies. This is what Dolby, DTS, Auro 3D,etc. have been trying to replicate for years. Stay tuned for my next post- “Stereo, I don’t hate you”

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I need to talk about Blade Runner

No one needs to care about other people’s opinions on movies and music because it is entirely a subjective thing. But I have to talk about this movie. I just need to. Well, actually about two movies that were made 35 years apart.

I am so glad that I watched the original Blade Runner before watching 2049. I cannot imagine the amount of the work that has gone into the making of this movie. I had no idea that it was even possible to make such a great movie that long ago. The thing about the original Blade Runner that caught my attention the most was the attention given to detail. Every single restaurant, gadget, people and cars they show in the movie has been so painstakingly well crafted. But most importantly, not overdone. The storyline is very well thought out. I can confidently say that Blade Runner 2049 has done justice to the original, which is my polite way of saying, “they did not fuck it up”. The fact that they brought back Decker’s partner from the original, is simply kickass. The best part about this one was its sound. Its basically noise and it is amazing. It sort of “shapes” the movie in such a way that it invokes curiosity. 

Its awesome how writers can put forth an “idea” to the viewers by virtually showing them what goes on in their mind. Sure, its not possible without amazing direction. In this case, its the idea of how one day machines might learn to give birth. The “more human than human” idea is kickass! Through these movies, we get a glimpse of how people and machines might treat each other if such a weird time would ever come. Finally it shows us however fucked up the world is, there will always be a few good people who are willing to take on the burden for the rest of us.

Mind-blowing ideas like this were put forth in movies like The Arrival, 2001 A Space Odyssey, etc. However, these are not the kind of movies where you can just loose yourself and have fun. If that is what you want, try watching a movie called Mad Max. Now that’s fun.

Villains are good?

I was the kid who always wanted to be the “good guy” (I always chose to play as counter-terrorists in Counterstrike even though there were “rumours” that the terrorists were more powerful. Those were weird times). My heroes were Optimus Prime and Swat Kats.

However, there is something admirable about certain movie villains. So admirable that they almost make it look like the makers of the movie want you to “like” the villain more than the hero. Its like, the movies wouldn’t be the same without these villains. The kind of movies that I am talking about are

Night Crawler

The Dark Knight

Split

Clockwork Orange

So what’s wrong with Split? We have a dude who goes around kidnapping girls, makes them take off their clothes and finally eats them. Seems like a pretty good role model to me! Obviously this guy is psychotic and needs to be stopped but despite his mental problems, he has unbelievably good discipline! And most importantly, he has good taste in music. Damn those moves were killer(no pun intended).

Jake Gyllenhaal’s character in Night Crawler inspired me. That guy is as creative as Casey Neistat! He’s the kind of guy you would want to be part of your start-up company. He’s got the ideas, plans and most importantly, the ability to do some kickass talking.

I could go on and on about these villains. Obviously, they are all horrible, fucked-up people who deserve to be stopped. However I found some interesting qualities in all of them. For example, all of them have such determination that makes them almost unstoppable. I admire their drive. They are all “perfectionists” and they are really good at what they do.

One last thing about Split:

Everyone’s thinking it. I am just putting it out there. That “Beast” thing was just bullshit.

My brain

How about some nice music while you read this crap? Click the link below.

Adam Harkus

He is a blogger friend. Tip: Listen to it while you blog. Its great stuff!

I was watching a movie today when the person sitting next to me got a phone call. I was so immersed in the movie that it did not disturb me at all. I did not pay any attention to the conversation. I was enjoying the movie thoroughly(movie was Jason Bourne). Even if I had tried to listen, I wouldn’t have understood anything because I don’t speak the local language. After the movie ended, as I was walking out of the cinema, it suddenly struck me that this person was speaking in a language that I totally knew and I also remembered exactly what he said! It felt a little weird knowing that my brain was recording stuff happening around me even if I wasn’t paying attention to it. Funny enough, there were scenes like this in the movie too! Aha! So that’s how hypnotists work!

Back to square one

The only two friends I have here went home. I don’t think they are coming back. So I am back to taking long, lone walks after work and watching YouTube at home. Damn, making friends is so hard! The only thing I look forward to now are drum classes. Its conveniently placed on Saturdays at a convenient time. 7 p.m. Work on Saturday gets over at 3. So I walk home happily after work, chill at home till classes start. I met some people there who I hope will be the people I will hangout with from now on. The problem: They are graduates and one of them has sort of a crush on me. I tend to panic in these situations. I will manage to somehow fuck everything up.
There are no good movies playing now. So weekend movie is a no go this week. I am really looking forward to watching Conjuring 2. Man! The trailer was scary!
Work is starting to get frustrating. All the pride gained in getting a job in ‘Research and Development’ is slowly starting to fade. Especially when I get a project that is hard as fuck to get my head around. Here’s some rock goodness:

The last one really brings back old rock.

Movies

I have always loved going to the movies. I’m one of those movie goers that get super excited just by seeing the Universal Studios Logo appear on screen. In fact, I watch it from time to time on my computer! I know that’s a little extreme but It just pumps me up. So does many other movie studio logos. Then there are the audio demos. I cannot stop watching those. They showcase the cinema’s sound reproduction capabilities. I live to watch those!(I work in this industry). I like going to the movies because:
1. It is completely different from watching a movie at home. The whole ‘experience’ is different. I like the excitement in going to watch a movie!
1. It helps me relax and clears my mind
I don’t like to go to the movies alone because I like to know someone else’s take on the movie. Have you been in situation where you absolutely loved a movie while your friend hated it? Im sure you have! Have you also been in a situation where your friend could not give a proper explanation why they hated the movie? The problem with that scenario is that it ruins the experience for both of you. I don’t have a whole lot of friends so I usually end up dragging someone along. Yes, I like movies that people usually dont like. However, I don’t like to watch more than two movies a month because I do not want it to lose its exclusivity. Plus a whole lot of 3D and earpiercing sound can damage you PERMANENTLY! I haven’t watched a movie in a long time though.
I have a weird obsession with imdb ratings. If they say it’s good, its good! Yes, I look at the ratings before I go watch the movie but it doesn’t stop me from watching it unless the rating is below 6. They have pretty good movie suggestions on their website. I just wish they suggested more number of movies.
Cinemas have been changing over the years. I think audio and video technologies have been improving steadily( several audio companies claim that the audio was shit before they brought out their ‘new’ system!). The sad part is that I miss the old cinema. The ones where the projector sometimes messed up the playback, dots appeared on the screen now and then!, the sound echoed!. It just isn’t the same with 4K, Laser projection, HFR3D, ATMOS, AURO, etc. However, I 100% appreciate the new technologies. Immersive sound is to die for! I kinda feel weird though when the audio surrounds you while the video does not!
One of my dreams is to compose background scores for movies.