For the past four decades, the California Film Institute has organized the Mill Valley Film Festival- one of the most respected film festivals in the United States. What began in 1977 as a three-day festival has grown to become a two-week festival, which has featured cinematic premieres from distinguished people including George Lucas, Sean Penn, and Nicole Kidman.
What the festival and THX have in common is the attention to quality and standards. Festival organizers comb through film submissions with the same care and precision that THX does when certifying cinemas and consumer electronics.
What do predators from above have to do with spatial audio?
This year, THX brought a virtual reality game for festival-goers to enjoy, but it wasn’t just a game. While the gamers helped our mascot, Tex, reconstruct the THX logo in our infamous ‘Deep Note’ trailer, they were actually providing Patrick Flanagan, our audio architect, with crucial research to improve 3-dimensional (spatial) audio.
There are big gaps in what audio companies know about audio perception. If you think about it, do you ever notice that you look up or at least turn an ear to the sky when hearing a sound above your head? The reason for that is humans (luckily) have not had to deal with predators from above in a very long time, so the audible sensors aren’t as developed for that part of your head.
THX: Pioneers in Spatial Audio Research
With every tilt of the head, festival-goers provided Patrick with data on what they hear, the position of their head when they hear it. The research is far from over- hundreds of other people are participating in the study, including students at the prestigious New York University.
Making it’s way home
Where does the data go from here? Well, it goes right back to where it all began. It doesn’t just benefit those who enjoy content, it also benefits the content creators. The research will impact people viewing content on their laptops, televisions, and maybe someday festival-goers of the Mill Valley Film Festival. Stay tuned- THX technology will be enhancing your favorite audio products to deliver incredible entertainment experiences in the near future.