A monster of an achievementThis year sees the 20th anniversary of Jurassic Park. Forget the dinosaurs. This was the film that saw digital surround sound explode into our cinemas. Nothing would ever be the same again.
A new era for sound
Digital Surround Sound is now so much a part of the cinema-going experience that it’s almost impossible to remember what cinema sound was like back in 1993. Despite music having gone digital (with the popularity of the Compact Disc), movies were still firmly ensconced in the analogue era, playing back 4-channel sound (3 screen channels and mono surrounds) embedded on 35mm film prints.
The inventors of what would become Datasat Digital Sound were not satisfied with this state of affairs, and set about developing a system with all the advantages of digital sound, including discrete sound channels, wide dynamic range, and unbelievable fidelity to the source masters. They utilized a 5.1 channel layout, with 3 screen channels, stereo surrounds and a Low Frequency Effects channel to handle the low end.
To provide digital sound with no compromises, instead of squeezing the data onto the film prints they played the soundtrack separately off a CD-ROM. This enabled the use of a high quality audio codec, with a low compression ratio. The Datasat soundtrack is synchronized with the film print using an innovative, patented timecode track that is printed on the 35mm film.
The result was extraordinary, so much so that when the system was demonstrated for Steven Spielberg he wanted it for his next picture, a little film called Jurassic Park.
An Oscar winning performance
The technology unveiled with Jurassic Park has developed into Datasat Digital Sound. Now featured on all major Hollywood releases, Datasat is an indispensable part of the movie-going experience for people throughout the world. Back then, it was well worth making the effort to travel to the select number of theaters that could provide true surround sound – and many, many people did.
When the Academy Awards handed out its Scientific and Engineering Awards in 1996, our revolutionary 5.1 digital surround sound system was honored. Well, when you’ve got Steven Spielberg and George Lucas on your team, you know you’re doing something right. In fact, it’s worth paying tribute to visionaries such as Steven and George who could see the potential in what our sound technology offered and were willing to specify that it had to be part of their movie.
Enjoy Jurassic Park in 3D
celebrate the 20th anniversary of Jurassic Park, Universal Pictures is re-releasing the film in 3D. We like to think that the picture is now as good as the sound! If you haven’t had the chance to see and hear Jurassic Park as it was meant to be enjoyed, on the big screen, we recommend you head to your local cinema, sit back and enjoy.
You can see the new trailer for Jurassic Park in our Screening Room