New York, NY, March 18, 2015 — The Audio Engineering Society hosted its 57th
International Conference, titled “The Future of Audio Entertainment
Technology: Cinema, Television, and the Internet,” in Hollywood,
California, on Friday, March 6, through Sunday, March 8, 2015.
Co-chaired by Brian McCarty and Dr. Sean Olive, the conference was
intended to stimulate increased dialog between the Hollywood content
creation community and the AES, and drew a substantial audience to the
three-day program, which was presented at the TCL Chinese 6 Theatres. Keynote addresses were given by noted industry professionals, including Dr. Floyd Toole,
former AES President, Fellow, and Gold Medal recipient; Louis Hernandez
Jr., Avid Chairman, President, and Chief Executive Officer; and Francis
Rumsey, Chair of the AES Technical Council, Fellow, and Bronze Medal Award recipient.
genesis of this conference came from the AES’s realization that the
largest group of working sound engineers is those that do sound for
picture in some way. Over the last few conventions we’ve been addressing
workshops and seminars directly to that group of people,” said McCarty,
who is the chair of the AES Technical Committee for Digital Cinema and
Television. “What I’d like to see come out of this are some action items
about what the Hollywood community thinks the various organizations
need to do to start meeting their needs.”
Featuring the AES’s first-ever Immersive Audio Day, chaired by Dr. Francis Rumsey,
the conference also presented paper sessions, workshops and panels on
such topics as cinema acoustics, cinema B-chain measurement and
calibration, low frequency reproduction challenges, loudness and
noise-induced hearing impairment, dialog intelligibility, equalization
and dynamics processing, and content personalization. Presenters also
highlighted the pressing need to address the issues of next-generation
streaming services and headphone delivery of the established and
emerging immersive formats.
The leading immersive formats, several of which are vying for adoption in the ATSC
3.0 next-generation television audio standard, were discussed in great
detail over the weekend. Workshops, paper sessions and panels offered
in-depth technical details of well-established formats such as ambisonics
and binaural sound, Auro-3D’s channel-based scheme, object-based
systems from Dolby Labs and DTS, and the hybrid MPEG-H standard.
A presentation by Frank Melchior,
lead technologist with BBC Research & Development in the U.K.,
included the BBC’s “Responsive Radio” internet-based experiments with
binaural sound delivered to headphones and also demonstrated that
object-based audio can be used for content personalization, not just for
generating an immersive experience. “I think we’re a little behind the
curve on that,” observed McCarty. “Maybe this will serve to stimulate
more interest in starting to deliver those kinds of services to the
He continued, “We’ve seen many different techniques for
developing and delivering these immersive standards and other audio
formats to the headphone market. It’s starting to reach viability now.
We need to start putting production workflows in place to deal with
Going forward, there will also need to be standards put in place by the AES—as well as SMPTE, a partner in the conference—if immersive sound formats are to be able to interoperate and exchange object- and channel-based audio essence and metadata, many panelists agreed. Melchior
suggested a number of practical ideas for standards, including advanced
audio file formats, advanced audio streaming formats, and baseline
“These are all going to be a lot of work,” said
McCarty, during his final summary of the weekend’s events. “We’ve seen
that in immersive sound for cinema it’s been a lot of work already.
Hopefully, as we work through that process and we add distribution
levels, we’ll all be able to build together on the work that’s been
While also calling for a new set of cinema audio standards
that set the bar at the best that can be currently supported, McCarty
added, “I think we need to be aware that streaming is the future of a
lot of our distribution. We need to maintain our vigilance so that we
get the same kind of attention that the picture side gets when standards
are being developed for streaming.”
Sponsors for the AES 57th International Conference include: Auro-3D, Avid, Dolby, dts, Harman, MPSE, NBCUniversal Studio Post, Sennheiser, and SMPTE.
Photo Caption: Steve Williams, Vice President of Post Production Services, NBCUniversal Studio Post, leads a tour of the NBCUniversal Studio Post facilities during the AES 57th International Conference in Hollywood, CA.