Ever wonder how surround sound really works—especially when sound seems to be coming from a spot where there isn’t even a speaker? Or why we see 2D images in three dimensions, apparently just with the help of some glasses?

There’s more to the magic than the processor inside your television, Blu-ray™ player, or the projector in the theatre: the human brain does some amazing things to help—or hinder—our perceptions of what’s real.

Welcome to Lab Notes, where we explore and celebrate the science and technology behind great entertainment. Our scientists, market experts, and engineers—many artists in their own right—will show how Dolby and others are applying insights into human perception and cutting-edge technology to dramatic effect in the cinema, big-as-life impact in your living room, and immersive sound from smartphones and tablets.

One recent example is celebrated director Ang Lee’s latest film, Life of Pi. The film’s sound team used the Dolby® Atmos™ platform to introduce powerful new listening experiences to bring the story to life. Composer Mychael Danna explains, “For the music for Life of Pi, we were able to bring various elements separately out into the theatre: choir circling overhead, gongs on the back wall, harps running down the side walls…. In an organic way, the music envelops the audience and better tells our story.”

Read more about the sound team’s efforts to immerse you in the world of Pi—and hear about the challenge in their own words.