For decades, Dolby has been working closely with top Hollywood filmmakers, building the technology and tools they need to bring their visions to life. After all that time consulting on movie sets and in editing studios, it was probably inevitable we’d get the itch to make a film of our own. And now, we’ve done it.
We partnered with the Oscar® winning Moonbot Studios to create Silent, an animated story about the partnership of picture and sound in movie entertainment.
“By working with Moonbot, by creating a film, it really is the perfect complement of our technology with the best of storytellers,” says Bob Borchers, Chief Marketing Officer at Dolby.
One of the movie’s stars is Morris Lessmore from Moonbot’s Oscar-winning film The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. As one-half of a struggling team of street performers, Morris does the pictures, while his partner, a young girl, plays music on the keyboard. A rainstorm drives the pair into an abandoned theatre, where they find a magical contraption that leads them through an adventure of sight and sound. The adventure takes them through a virtual history of film and its genres, from silent movies to horror films, children’s stories, and thrillers.
“We took those two characters and put them on a journey that represents the evolution of film technology,” says director Limbert Fabian.
It should come as no surprise that a Dolby® production comes complete with fabulous sound. The film’s sound editor is Steve Boeddeker, who has been nominated for his first Academy Award® this year for the sound editing of All Is Lost.
Silent’s theme of picture and sound working together appealed to the sound specialist. “People don’t realize how much emotion and storytelling they get from what they hear,” Boeddeker says. “They think that it mostly comes from what they see.”
“Sound is one of the things now that really binds you into that world, envelops you completely,” says Moonbot cofounder William Joyce. “I mean it takes [a movie] from just being the flat plane in front of you to literally surrounding you. And there’s nothing else like that.”
Silent is mixed in Dolby Atmos, the cutting-edge cinema sound system that lets filmmakers place and move sounds anywhere in a theatre. And it employs Dolby Vision, the new technology for creating more lifelike images by improving brightness, contrast, and color. The film’s initial audience on the Web won’t get the full effect of those technologies, but we’re looking forward to creating opportunities for movie fans to get the complete experience in both Dolby Atmos™ and Dolby Vision™.
Silent debuted at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science’s Scientific and Technical Awards ceremony on February 15, 2014. The awards honor the people and companies whose innovations have advanced the film industry. And our film is meant to do the same thing. Ultimately, Silent pays tribute not only to the collaboration between music and sound, but to the partnership between art and science that Ray Dolby built his business on.
At Dolby, we pride ourselves on “helping enrich the entertainment experience,” says Vince Voron, Vice President and Executive Creative Director. Silent “is a really great celebration of true art and science and how technology, combined with the artist’s dream, has evolved over time and how Dolby has been a part of that.”