A Report on Digital Distribution for Independent Vlogger

Overview

More and more people around world are using digital platforms to access professionally or independently produced video content. Digital technology allows audience to watch professional content whenever and wherever they want. Apparently, there is much excitement and hype about digital distribution and the inherent possibilities it offers to connect audiences and content. So, what does the worldwide ongoing digital revolution mean for low budget production, such as independent video bloggers? On the one hand, it presents many opportunities to filmmakers and viewers: available access everywhere, instant international market reach, self-distribution, and a growing number of new platforms. On the other, it creates new challenges to broadcasters and distributors as well: piracy, intellectual property right, increased concentration of ownership, and audience fragmentation and so on.

The report would talk about online distribution of independent web-series videos, set the most subscribed Youtube channel from Australia, “Community Channel” as a case study, trying to analysis why it is successful and indicating how producers of web distribution production will approach these challenges. During the research, I find that while online distribution does present some threats to the businesses of content owners, it allows for even greater opportunities.

The report is divided into eight parts: “Online media/WEB 2.0 evolution- what dose it mean to Independent Content Creator? ”, “ Advantages of Web 2.0’s Adoption”, “Independently Online distribution analysis—why is Community Channel so successful?”, “Creative content”,“Digital distribution strategies”, “ Opportunities”, “ Key Challenges” and “Conclusions”.

Online media/WEB 2.0 evolution – What dose it mean to Independent Content Creator?

Over the recent past, the Web has been transformed from being a medium in which information is transmitted and consumed(WEB1.0), to a platform where content is created, shared, altered and reproduced(WEB2.0). There are a number of Web services or applications that are considered to be key concepts in Web 2.0 that represent the core fundamental elements of Web 2.0 applications and how it functions. Examples like User reviews, Content Sharing, Free download are the new applications that categorized as Content Creator where the consumer plays a more positive role in creating new content in varied forms. These diverse modes of application adoption in the form of contents have grown on to become the face of Web 2.0 for the current generation of Web users. Such Web 2.0 applications therefore would enable Web users with little technical knowledge to engage and share their own media and information products.

To understand this industry evolution, what we must know is that there is rapid and revolutionary change across the video production since WEB 2.0.

As we can see, there have been two major shifts in the last 5 years on content creation area. Firstly, the falling costs of content creation and marketing. Due to the development of technology, recording and production equipment, both in hardware and software has reduced costs massively, which to a large degree resulting the emergence of User Generated Content (UGC).

The notion of user-generated content is critical to the report. User-generated content (UGC) is used to explain the role that consumers now have the access in creating information. Traditional forms of marketing where content was created by the marketer are now co-exist with the trend of user-generated content where content is generated by the consumer. This new form of marketing means that anybody can share their opinion or experience or work with other individuals.

Moreover, the era of User Generated Content is where amateur and professional differentiation is low because of the low content prices for media production. Set the photography for example, digital camera with the adoption of the computer application photoshop can create high distinguished photo much more easier and economical than film camera. Marketing costs have also reduced in the User Generated Content world cause you can know your targeted audience more specifically by analysis their social media behaviour data online and expand your international audience without any travel fees.

Secondly, The traditional media functions of publication have been replaced by online system. Content finding, content editing, and content marketing have changed significantly. For example, content finding. In the past, no matter what the medium is (newspaper or journals or TV programme), content consumers (audience or readers) are passively obtained most media content. However the situation has been shifted since the content finding function has been invaded by Search Engines (eg Google) and now even increasingly by the Social Media platform (eg Twitter, Facebook, Youtube). These social networks have also taken over most of the editing functions such as rating rank and recommending content.

Advantages of Web 2.0’s Adoption

Web 2.0 technologies can be a powerful tool for video production; their interactivity intends to bring more audience into daily content viewing at lower cost. When used effectively, they also may encourage participation in projects and idea sharing by making various comments. They may bring greater scope and scale to content distributor as well, strengthening bonds with audience and improving communications with content creator and outside partners and investors.

Independent content creators will also benefit by using the direct, unfiltered feedback they receive from their audience to further develop and improve their content. And by narrowing the online communication gap, video production team could make real gains in efficiency and effectiveness, since shifting communication to the Web has the potential to drive down the frequency of more costly methods of marketing and promotion. As explained previously, online distribution has several other important advantages, especially in a cost-sensitive market.

Independently Online distribution analysis—why is Community Channel so successful?

Most subscribed Youtube channel from Australia, over 1 million subscribers and 4 billion viewers total, Community Channel undoubtedly gained an incredible achievement that many TV programmes might have never achieved. The video blogger or content creator is a twenty-year-old-girl who is the second generation Vietnamese Australian, named Natalie Tran. Obviously, she sets some sort of record. Tran’s page, Community Channel, with1, 391, 776 subscribers and more than482 million views on her videos to date. Worldwide, her video series is also the most subscribed of all time. How did this happen? Surprisingly and no surprisingly due to the context of WEB 2.0, Natalie Tran became one of the top independent YouTube stars around the world who made more than $US100, 000 from the site annually, even there are no big studios, no big production team and no big budget behind her. Tran created all the videos by herself; in other words, she is an independent content creator.

When I looked up the term “community channel” in urban dictionary, it says this:

“A well known Youtube celebrity with an Australian accent by the name of Natalie Tran who amuses the Youtube population by making videos of entertaining topics such as sliding escapes and powerboards, and many others. She lives in Sydney, Australia. She is hilariously funny ”

As you can see on the Community Channel homepage on Youtube, she makes videos very often. Tran, who creates her videos at her parents’ home in western Sydney, has eschewed titillation in favour of clever skits about her life. Her videos are typically a combination of monologue and skits acted out by multiple clones of herself that mocks her life occurrences through the creative editing, and end with “Porno Music Slash Comment Time,” where she responds to a few comments on the previous video.

In a 2010 report interviewed by the Sydney morning herald Tran said this:

“I think that to have longevity on these kind of websites you need to offer something different … there’s plenty of [sexual] material on the internet that would provide that kind of entertainment already.”

Additionally, she said the skits were all based on things that happened in her day, “just a little bit exaggerated for comedy purposes”.

“They’re not hugely deep and meaningful videos; they’re just short snippets that are meant to be a little bit of fun in somebody’s lunch break … the world wouldn’t be a worse place without them,” she said.

YouTube: Online Video and Participatory Culture, by Jean Burgess and Joshua Green analyses the most successful videos with some surprising results. This analysis of the most popular, most viewed, and most discussed YouTube clips found that it’s not just videos about cyber-bullying or bizarre accidents that top the charts but are all sharing sort of comedic style in new forms of entertainment.

In the case of Natalie Tran, she is a highly successful performer who is treating Youtube as a virtual community where she is on equal terms with her audience. Tran’s regularly produced YouTube video is based around the idea of a ‘bedroom vlog’.

“The Vlog, or videoblog, where the performer speaks straight-to-camera from an everyday setting like a bedroom, is probably the video form that is most representative of YouTube’s community and culture”, explains Dr Jean Burgess, the Australian co-author of the first comprehensive book on the YouTube phenomenon. “Many of YouTube’s most subscribed channels are home-grown examples of this form, not “big media” productions”

Indeed, the comedic value is in Tran’s mockery re-enactments of the situations she is talking about and the fact that she plays all of the characters, but without this online distributed on Youtube, could Community Channel success as well?

To understand Tran’s success, the quality of content is always important, but to more extent, is the strategy of online distribution. Natalie is probably the first YouTube top vlogger to appreciate comments, which is an effective way to improve the result of social marketing under the circumstance of WEB 2.0.

Creative content

The original idea for each video series is crucial. Natalie Tran started out roughly 7 years ago, picking out random everyday situations, and making videos about them. Subjects that thereby come up are something like “The awkward moment when you try to leave an elevator and accidentally brush up to somebody” or “Pretend to like Christmas presents when you really don’t” or “what if real life had dramatic sounds like reality TV” or “People who make situations unnecessarily intimate”. Just like her grounded personality, the themes that she picks for her videos are down to earth. Everybody could get connected with or smiles about the everyday moments which she satires about. Tran mixes those experiences with interesting insights about her everyday life, presenting herself as definitely being equal terms with her audience, but with constructive instruction at the same time.

Digital distribution strategies

Contents and Audience are also very important when decides a project whether shown on TV or just distributed online. As young generation clearly can do almost anything online these years, if your project is targeted the young people as your audience, it’s obviously more effective distributed it online. However, before online distribution, you must decide the platforms where you would like to distribute on. Various strategies would be utilized according to different distribution platforms. YouTube, where Tran distributed her videos on, is not just the largest online video repository but also a powerful social media platform. Audiences are more likely to engage, share, and comment on video content there than any other video site.

Using social media socially is always important, especially when you are intending to launch something online. Engagement is a critical part of social media that allows content creator to engage back, a critical method for driving views and action. Tran adapted this principle, as she crams the end of her videos full of personal responses to comments, and pictures from fans she met in real life to make her possibly be the nicest and most appreciative Youtuber, of her own audience. To do this is not only improve the result of social marketing, but also help Tran engage the potential audience, fishing where the fish are.

As we all know, Youtube is one of largest social network in the world, with more than 1 billion monthly active users. As Robert Kyncl, the VP and Global Head of Content for Google/YouTube said, “Audience development is equally as important as great content. By creating fantastic content and spending zero time on audience development, you are certain that you will not succeed on YouTube.” This is exactly why Tran is successful, she knows her how to entertain the audience!

According to Nielsen, YouTube reaches more US adults ages 18-34 than any cable network. Thus the audience of Youtube can be considered as a younger generation group. In Tran’s case, like she cited previously, she would like to entertain someone during his/her lunch break, therefore it is quite a wisdom choice to satisfied these young generation with making her videos so witty funny and with humor at the same time. Therefore, her loyal audience is built solidly on these funny, observational, often self-deprecating, a mixture of sketches and monologue videos.

Moreover, another successful method of distributing utilized by Tran is set up a RSS feed. How does this work? From my point of view, if you update your video on a regular basis, offer an RSS feed subscription to the audience is clever. This will allow your subscribers to be alerted when you post new content. Like the newsletter, your RSS feed gets delivered to your subscribers. So you are bringing your recent content right to them as soon as it is published. The great thing about an RSS feed is that it can also be used to syndicate your content which can help you promote your videos to new audience. Uploading your RSS feed brings your information straight to your social media followers as soon as it is published.

Opportunities

Digital platforms are witnessing an incredible growth in the number of talented people producing content, providing opportunities for creators and producers to reach a local, national, and global audience at the same time. It has given creators and producers opportunities to reach many audiences, whether they are in the next village, across the country, or around the world. It has also allowed thousands of creators and producers to distribute content where they never could before because of high barriers to entry. This gives many, many more creators and producers a chance of success, as they no longer have to meet the audience and content requirements of broadcast executives who have to please a mass audience (ie. TV and newspaper). Like the success of Natalie Tran, who exemplified the possibilities of how social marketing enable the low budget video series to receive more than 400 million views. Additionally, more funding could emerge for online content. Programmes such as the Youtube Partner Program offer the copyright protection while providing them a means by which to monetise their output through a majority share of advertising revenue earned for ads that are shown alongside their content

Key Challenges

Digital distribution may be a double-edged sword: it expands the potential audience for content, but that audience does not want to pay for the content. Although content creators may accept a larger audience for their work in exchange for distributing the work for free, there is no guarantee that the increased popularity of the content will be completely translated into revenues. Why is this happening? From my perspective, I think one reason is because the digital platforms such like Youtube is providing access to unauthorized copyrighted content and, more importantly, user-generated content. In other words, audience not only can consume the content for free, but can also through every unauthorized channel who maybe downloading the content from online source.

Also, the freedom of comment may impact negatively when distribute your video online. The aggressive, not to say vituperative, tone of the anonymous commentators can create a great deal of heat, even personal attacks to attract people’s attention off your work. This may challenge the amateur especially and discourage them from doing this again. If so, many talented vloggers would disappear in result could be an incredibly lost, not just to the audience, but the whole industry.

Conclusions

The purpose of this report was to observe and discuss the online distribution from an independent content creator and producer perspective. Based on inference from existing studies, the report attempted to identify how an independent vlogger can success through this new distribution format and the opportunities and challenges that they may face. In terms of practical example, I chose Natalie Tran’s Community Channel as a case study model. As such, the following salient points could be inferred: (1) Content created by users has become tremendously popular as the most frequently visited sites on the Internet are primarily user generated; (2) The most common barrier faced by most amateur before WEB 2.0 is reduced significantly because of the emergence of various digital distribution platforms; (3) Internet especially WEB 2.0 helps creators/producers thrive who can now reach global audiences/markets with ease; (4) Engagement is a critical part of social media that allows content creator to engage back which can improve the marketing effectively; (5) online distribution does present some threats to the businesses of content owners, but it allows for even greater opportunities.

Reference:

Boyer, J. M. (2008). Interactive Office Documents: A New Face for Web 2.0 Applications. São Paulo:DocEng

Harrisom, T. M., & Barthel, B. (2009). Wielding new media in Web 2.0: exploring the history of engagement with the collaborative construction of media products. New media & Society, 11 (1&2), 155–178.

Chiang, I.-P., Huang, C.-Y., & Huang, C.-W. (2009). CharacterizingWeb Users‟ Degree ofWeb 2.0-ness. Journal of The American Society for Information Science and Technology, 60 (7), 1349–1357

Cormode, G., & Krishnamurthy, B. (2008), Key Differences between Web1.0 and Web2.0, New Jersy.

Burgess,J. &Green, J. (2009), YouTube: Online Video and Participatory Culture, Cambridge

LOST ON THE WEB:DOES WEB DISTRIBUTION STIMULATE OR DEPRESS TELEVISION VIEWING? By Joel Waldfogel: http://www.nber.org/papers/w13497.pdf?new_window=1

Culture Boom, How Digital Media Are Invigorating Australia:

http://www.bcg.com/documents/file101187.pdf

Entry into the Market for Online Distribution of Digital Content: Economic and Legal Ramification:

http://www2.law.ed.ac.uk/ahrc/script-ed/vol5-1/meisel.asp

Screen Australia: http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/funding/games/games_production.aspx

THE GROWING BENEFITS OF INNOVATIVE ONLINE DISTRIBUTION OF CONTENT OUTWEIGH ANY COSTS, ANALYSYS MASON REPORTS: http://www.analysysmason.com/About-Us/News/Press-releases1/Internet-content-creation-Jun2013/

Online Video Distribution: how will the market play out? http://www.telco2research.com/articles/eb_online-video-distribution_summary

How to succeed in video blogging without really trying-YouTube spreads its viral culture by tapping into the market: http://chicagomaroon.com/2012/04/17/how-to-succeed-in-video-blogging-without-really-trying/

How Much Money Do The Top YouTube Stars Make? http://longzijun.wordpress.com/2013/05/28/how-much-do-the-top-youtube-stars-make/

Natalie Tran: Bigger than free TV:

http://mumbrella.com.au/natalie-tran-bigger-than-free-tv-41924

GROUNDBREAKING AUSTRALIAN BOOK GETS TO THE HEART OF THE YOUTUBE PHENOMENON:

http://cci.edu.au/post/groundbreaking-australian-book-gets-heart-youtube-phenomenon

Statistics from Youtube

http://www.youtube.com/yt/press/statistics.html

Community Channel on Youtube:

http://www.youtube.com/user/communitychannel

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How to be a creative producer in a NPO Chinese 

drama community in Australia?

A case study interview report

Overview:

The report would provide some understanding of whether there is merit in being skilled and creative producer of a non-profit organization to promote exceptional Chinese dramas in Australia. If so, the report would provide some understanding of how the producing skills could be creative and effective in practical circumstance. This report represents the findings of the interview with Gordon Zi-Qing Guo, the executive producer/screenplay writer/actor of the play “palace of desire” which will be presented by Cathay Playhouse in late October in Seymour Centre Everest Theatre, Sydney, 2013.

Method:

A qualitative approach was selected to enable a complex and exploratory conversation with interviewee to start understanding the framework in which his thoughts, skills and actions develop.

The interview:

Interview was conducted by UTS MA students Jie Ren and Xuexi Zhao and was convened via telephone depends on the participant’s preference. Interviews were audio taped with the permission of the participants.

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The Seymour Theater

Case study:

About Cathay Playhouse

For creative producing case study assignment, the largest and the most influential Chinese drama group within Australia, Cathay Playhouse was selected as the interview subject. According to open source on the Internet, Cathay Playhouse was established in 2003 and registered as a non-profit organization under NSW Fair Trading. With the goal of one major production annually at least, Cathay Playhouse has adapted and presented over ten plays collectively, including the Merchant of Venice (2009) and Thunderstorm (2012). To celebrate Cathay Playhouse’s tenth anniversary in 2013, Cathay is presenting the historical epic, Palace of Desire, adapted from the history story happened during Tang Dynasty in ancient China.

About the interviewee

Gordon Zi-Qing Guo is an executive producer in Cathay Playhouse and has joined the non-profit Chinese drama community since 2008, but the role of Gordon in Cathay playhouse is more than that. Since his participate in Cathay Play, average five-hours sleep, twenties emails, dozens of phone calls and hundreds messages daily are consist of his working routine. Not only served as producer, but also as main actor in Thunderstorm (2012) and Palace of Desire(2013), screenplay writer in 1980+(2012)and Palace of Desire(2013), and production designer in Thunderstorm (2012). Surprisingly, Gordon does a full-time job in another company but does volunteer in Cathay Playhouse.

Representative work: Palace of Desire:

The story:

Every year, Cathay Playhouse starts to prepare for the annual drama of the next year in April or May, which means the production period of every play would cost nearly a year and half’s time. So is the Palace of Desire, the coming drama that will be shown in October. Then, a complex story that focusing on the conflicts between the aspiration of power and human nature happened in ancient China, Tang Dynasty around six Century, will be preformed.

Palace of Desire will be shown in the Seymour Theater and the number of showing is four times in three days. Site as Seymour Theater is the largest expense that costs as much as eight thousand dollars. The reasons to choose famous theater center are better management, more seats that allows two thousand and five hundred audiences to enjoy the play at the same time, as well as to celebrate the ten years old birthday of Cathay Playhouse. According to Gordon, the Palace of Desire is the biggest investment in ten yeas’ production history which has already exceeded three times as the original budget, reaching as much as 120 thousands AUD. Since the main source of their funds is depends on their box office incomings, Cathay Playhouse had used their “profits” to cover the excess of budget.

The staff

Cathay Playhouse has divided its staffs into four parts: the actors department which in charging of performing in the drama; the administration department mainly includes the PR people, the sponsorship management, IT department, the data Management; the propaganda work in copywriting, translating, camera, multimedia design field; the production team that manages every affair such as sound, stage, lighting, choreography and so on. To create Palace of Desire, more than 100 staffs includes 28 actors and over than 30 administration people working together to contribute their effort.
Every staff from the Palace of Desire are working as volunteer, signing their contract in volunteer format which clearly indicate that their work would not been paid. Besides that, according to the contract, they should take full responsibility on their job.

Communication platform

To publicize the Palace of Desire, Cathay Playhouse largely makes use of social media, including Facebook, Twitter, Weibo, as well as its official website. Social media can not only help to sell the tickets, but also let give the public a better understanding of Cathay Playhouse on its ideas and beliefs. For the off-line aspect, Cathay Playhouse cooperates with Chinese community, such as famous personal businesses and companies, to organize promotion work. For example, some Chinese supermarkets and restaurants allow them to present the handbill and posts of Palace of Desire.

Other creations

Except for the Palace of desire, there are numerous outstanding dramas presented by Cathay play house. For example, the De-Ling and Empress Dowager Ci-Xi had surprised the audiences and gained plenty of favorable comments. Besides that, the 1980+ had stuck a responsive chord in the hearts of its audiences by describing the happiness, sorrow, success and frustration of young people living abroad.

Budgeting:

To apply founds and get investment, Gordon should not only submit a proposal including budget sheet and script synopsis to Sydney city council for Arts Funding Program in April and September of every year, but also contact many sponsors from Chinese community within Australia. Although Cathay Playhouse can obtain stable investment and founding every year, the majority incomes still come from box office.

Normally, Budget for a Cathay Play production includes equipment fees, theater rent, costume/props, production design and promotion fees. Budget for each play is average around 50,000 dollars; As a NPO, whole crew and cast are volunteering so the majority cost is from equipment and site. For instance, Gordon mentioned that theater rent for palace desire this as an example, is around 10,000 dollars totally when asked about the details of expenses for each sector.

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Poster of Palace of Desire

Creative producing:

Gordon’s spontaneous comments when asked to introduce some practical techniques about how to reduce budget as much as possible were about costume cost. He introduced a rather special way that implemented in 2010 and 2013 about how they creatively solved the expensive costume problem: making orders with one of the largest film studios in China and shipping directly to Australia by air.

“In 2010, we decided to purchase Qing Dynasty costume for our new play “De-Ling and Empress Dowager Ci-Xi”, which was one of the most successful play in Cathay history, from Hengdian…”

Due to the pursuing of spreading traditional Chinese performing art and culture across Australia and based on the survey of audience’s preference, Cathay Play house began to performance historic play either adapted from history story or Chinese TV series. However the Chinese ancient costume became the top problem because of it was rather expensive and hard to find in Australia. After research, Gordon decided to purchase costumes from Hengdian studio where they can find plenty authentic and cheaper late Qing Dynasty costume for De-Ling and Empress Dowager Ci-Xi. This play was quite successful in box office and gained surplus that could afford them for purchasing fixed assets like lighting and camera. “smart purchase can save way more than spent”, said by Gordon.

Besides, the methodology that usually conducted in practice by Gordon is negotiation and begging, if necessary. Remember to save every penny as much as possible is also vital when making decisions on every disbursement.

Intercultural Communication:

Looking back into the ten years’ creation, it is easy to find out that the majority of dramas of Cathay playhouse are Chinese cultural background dramas. Only two of them are exceptions: the Merchant of Venice (2009) and the Government Inspector (2011). Why is that? Isn’t it much harder to insist Chinese production in such western cultural dominant society? Will it be more difficult to develop the playhouse because of the language and cultural restriction? However, to our surprise, Gordon’s answer is just in the opposite.

“Although it is a good experience to put eastern thoughts into western literatures and view the western culture from the eastern aspect, Chinese production with its traditional cultural background is always the preference of audience and the only way to open the western market. This is also the reason why the De-Ling and Empress Dowager Ci-Xi could gain such a success.”

Conclusion:

To sum up, as a non-for-profit organization, Cathay Playhouse has gathered hundreds of people’s love and dreams and continuing communicated Chinese culture within western society to make it more widely know. While being a good direction on drama making, it has provided another way of entertainments. Most importantly, Cathay Playhouse has done significant job on creative producing, such as purchase stage property from its original place of production, still it is quite pity that all the wonderful jobs are done by just volunteers.

References:

Cathay Playhouse’s Facebook Home Page: https://www.facebook.com/cathayplayhouse

Cathay Playhouse’s Twitter Home Page: https://twitter.com/cathayplayhouse

Cathay Playhouse’s Weibo Front Page: http://e.weibo.com/cathayplayhouse

The Official Website of Cathay Playhouse: http://www.cathayplayhouse.org/en/

Video clips of De-Ling and Empress Dowager Ci-Xi: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCN4I5coiHw

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ijWRzCjGiDk (Sponsor)

Trailer of the Government inspector: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8F8Yl-P4Xls

Trailer of the 1980+: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x2Mt8hMRwPc

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WoZlBgJR4ow (De-Ling and Empress Dowager Ci-Xi)

Documentary film of De-Ling and Empress Dowager Ci-Xi: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DsLmH_UlvqE

Dolby Digital: how to make sound come to life

Introduction

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There are two main technologies of Dolby Digital: the Dolby noise reduction and Dolby Surround. Before the Dolby Digital surround, it was very expensive to set up a high quality stereo system in the theatre because the cost is too much, such as many speakers needed. Moreover, the direct recording and reproducing of multichannel sound were expensive and inconvenient. In 1976 the first generation of Dolby stereo system was invented and applied into the movie Star Wars (1979), which brought great visual and vocal shock to the world. In 1987, the second generation technology, also knew as Pro-Logic ImageSurround, was applied widely into no matter theatre and family entertainment equipment, such as VCD and LD. Finally, in pace with the development of digital technologies, the Dolby Digital got rid of the restriction of analogical techniques and published a new digital multichannel stereo system: Audio Coding 3 (AC3). Similar to the second generation, it could be applied in both public and home theatre. The AC3 was also known as Dolby 5.1 channel technology, which impacted the market and art a lot.

Features of Dolby Digital

Unlike Dolby Pro-Logic systems (second generation), the six audio tracks of AC3 are independently recorded and then compressed into two tracks in the discs. They will be perfectly decoded and reproduced during the playing. Although the AC3 is one kind of lossy compressions, but it has high acoustic efficiency totally acceptable by human’s ear, which has a relative narrow sensing range.

The Dolby Digital format allows for surround sound, as it uses six independent audio channels:

  •     A central speaker generally placed atop or above the screen, for reproducing dialogue.
  •     Two audio tracks for the front speakers, for accentuating the context of the sound coming from the central speaker.
  •     Two channels for the rear speakers, used for reproducing noise and the sound environment, in order to create ambiance.
  •     A channel for low frequencies (a subwoofer) and for amplifying special effects, such like explosions and earthquakes in the movies. Because of that, it is often called the boom channel. [4]

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I still remember those scenes of one of my favourite movies: Batman: the Dark Knight (2008), can perfectly show that how the Dolby digital techniques can improve the experience of the audience. For instance, there was a famous chasing section in the movie: the Dark Knight is chasing his “old friend” – Joker by riding the high-tech Bat Motorbike. The sound of engines, Joker’s iconic laughing, batman’s voice over, sound of gunfire and booming are mixed together, but it is not flat and pale; under the magic of this technique, it just like a cup of cocktail, was full of acoustic dimensions and real time feelings. When I was watching this movie, the sound made me feel like to co-ride with the Dark Knight and fighting against the force of evil.

How Dolby Digital works

As mentioned above, the hearing range of human is relative narrow, from 20 to 20000 Hertz. However, a lot of animals can perceive more, such as dog, can hear sounds with frequency from 15 to 50000 Hertz. So, during the compression, we can abandon those sounds out of the range. Moreover, Dolby Digital also implements some psychology techniques during the compression. For example, if there were no signal, it would clean up all the sounds and keep the speaker completely quiet; if the audio signal comes, amplify it to cover the noise in the range.

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When Dr. Dolby was a college student, he was very interested in sound recoding. In that time, he began to think that somehow to eliminate the noise without lower the quality. Through his research, he found that hearing of human beings is “lazy”, which means, as mentioned above, people are tend to select the sound. If one sound were louder, another is quieter; people would ignore the quieter one automatically. For instance, if we turn up the sound of the television, then hardly can we hear the dog barking of the neighbour. Therefore, through one kind of device, the mute signal, which contains a lot of inevitable trivial noises, such as the buzz of magnetic tape, were eliminated through Dr. Dolby’s technology. Technically speaking, The design of AC3 took the advantages of people’s selective hearing a lot: it divided the spectrum of every sound track into several bands with different bandwidths, which made the noises were close to the effective sound signals with very little frequency distance. After this process, people are easily to ignore the noises when the sounds reach them.

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At the first, Dolby Digital was just a little laboratory trying to deal with the noise problems of the sound recording. But Dr. Dolby decided to enter the film market. According to him, the fist major market of noise reduction is recording industry, and then it will be the movies. So, Dolby’s technologies were applied into movies and DVDs widely since the end of 1970s. However, there was not only noise reduction, but also the stereo system in the movie. Before the Dolby, the set-up and technology of stereo was very inconvenient and expensive. So, the AC3 lower the cost and improve the quality of cinema stereo system dramatically, and also pushed up the digital technology in the film realm a lot.

However, Dolby Digital is more than just an audio coding technology. It is also a sophisticated audio delivery and reproduction system that allows both the program producer and the listener to affect how the audio program will ultimately be heard. One of Dolby’s achievements is to push up the development of home theatre.

The cooperation of Dolby Digital and those famous film production companies was almost free, so all the DVD of those companies were produced with Dolby’s digital technologies. Meanwhile, those digital sound-decoding technologies should be implemented into all the DVD players, which brought a lot of interests to the Dolby Digital. No only the cinema stereo system and home theatre, but also the car stereo and headphone, Dolby Digital contributed into them a lot and gave birth to many new digital sound technologies. We can confirm this though a series of numbers:

There are 1,499,475,600 sold products with Dolby’s identifications.

There are 606,690,060 sold products with Dolby’s AC3 technique.

There are 234,907,200 sold DVD players with Dolby’s decoding technology.

There are 273,540,900 PC DVD-ROM with Dolby’s decoding technology.

Now, Dolby Laboratory are cooperating with 1,821 identified medias, 204 identified chip manufactures and 387 identified hardware manufactures all around 50 countries. [4]

All these numbers can directly show that how successful was Dolby Digital in the market the Dolby Digital is, and how many technological shocks it brought to us. However, what has Dolby Digital done is not more than this. Dolby had already taken the traditional areas could be influenced by acoustic technologies, such as cinema and home theatre, and it still kept the mind on everything can embed its technologies.

Interaction

They are many different ways that the consumers can enjoy the benefits created by Dolby Digital, such as DVD player and headphone. Moreover, there is not only 5.1-multichannel, but also many listening situation included. Here are some choices of Dolby’s format:

  • Full dynamic range 5.1-channel state
  • Reduced dynamic range 5.1-channel state (for apartment dwellers or late night 
listeners, etc.)
  • Two-channel Dolby Surround compatible downmix (which can then be Dolby Surround Pro Logic decoded)
  • Normal two-channel stereo downmix
  • Mono downmix [10]

The coding and mixing technologies are just a little part of Dolby Digital. The company and laboratory are still developing many new technologies, which is always the most important point of Dolby. Although the Dolby’s work cannot make the movie, it is just a tiny detail of the enormous film industry. But Dolby’s work is very important: the best sound track would not be better than other parts, but it not just provides a high quality sound in the cinema, but also reverts the original idea of the director and the composer to the audience greatly.

Although Dolby Digital’s reputation was growing with the amazing sound effects of those famous movies, such as Star Wars, but it was not just an entertaining effect. Dolby’s goal is to revert the overall sound effects in a very high quality, from the dialogue to the background music. Dolby’s technology is one kind of ways, or tools for file makers. It just likes the palette to the painter, which provided a plenty of colours to the director who could only choose a few colours before.

Besides Dolby Digital, Dolby Labs has developed many new versions to satisfy different needs from consumer and professionals, such as Dolby Digital EX, Dolby Digital Surround EX, Dolby Digital Live and Dolby Digital Plus. On April 2012, Dolby introduced its latest version, Dolby Atmos, a new cinematic technology, which is first utilised in Pixar’s Brave. [1]

Image

Brave, first film to use the Dolby Atmos sound format

Conclusion

The Dolby Digital AC3 (Audio Coding 3) is the third-generation acoustic coding published by the Dolby laboratory. Through the implementation of the psychology theories and acoustic technologies into the digital signal processing, AC3 was the most influential audio coding and mixing technologies in the world.

Reference

Clint DeBoer 2004,What is Dolby Digital Surround? used by Audioholics, viewed 30 August 2004,<http://www.audioholics.com/education/surround-sound/what-is-dolby-digital-surround&gt;

Gene DellaSala 2004, Dolby Digital vs. DTS: A Guide to the Strengths of the Formats, viewed 30 August 2004, <http://www.audioholics.com/education/surround-sound/dolby-digital-vs-dts-a-guide-to-the-strengths-of-the-formats&gt;

Jeff Tyson, How Movie Sound Works used by Howstuffworks, viewed October 2011,<http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/movie-sound1.htm&gt;

Dolby Laboratories, Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound (AC3), <http://www.dolby.com/us/en/consumer/technology/home-theater/dolby-digital.html&gt;

Dolby Laboratories,Dolby Digital Cinema Details A Breathtaking Cinema Experience,<http://www.dolby.com/us/en/consumer/technology/movie/dolby-digital-cinema-details.html&gt;

Advanced Television Systems Committee 2012, ATSC Standard: Digital Audio Compression (AC-3, E-AC-3) , viewed  17 December 2012, <http://www.atsc.org/cms/standards/A52-2012(12-17).pdf>

Dolby Laboratories 2011, Dolby Surround 7.1Technical Information for Theaters, <http://www.dolby.com/uploadedFiles/Assets/US/Doc/Professional/Dolby_Surround_71_Whitepaper.pdf&gt;

Dolby Laboratories 2008, Dolby Debuts New Video Technologies at International CES 2008, viewed January 2008, <http://investor.dolby.com/ReleaseDetail.cfm?ReleaseID=284934&gt;

Dolby Laboratories 2008, Dolby Surround Pro Logic II Decoder Principles of Operation,

<http://www.dolby.com/uploadedFiles/Assets/US/Doc/Professional/209_Dolby_Surround_Pro_Logic_II_Decoder_Principles_of_Operation.pdf&gt;

Dolby Laboratories 2000,’Dolby Digital Professional Encoding Guidelines ‘,issue 1, chapter 1 and chapter 2

vegan recipe

it is my first project done through hype, it’s interesting and I kinda like it but could be better next time.

btw, it takes a while for the page to upload to 100%, I don’t know why is that.

cheers.

5.1 Sound Tracks Technology

Since the debut of Dolby in 1992, it now becomes a industrial benchmark of film production and cinema equipment, no matter the public cinema or home theater. Up to 2007, the Dolby Digital technology was applied in 1.65 billion electrical equipment, including 45 millions home theater system [1]. So, let us talk about what is “5.1”; first of all, “5” means there are five surround speakers: front left and right; a center channel and two surround channels. Moreover, the “1” means there is also a subwoofer, because human beings cannot figure out the direction of the low frequency sound sources . Except the Dolby 5.1, it also has some other channel configurations, such as 7.1 and 8; but my report will focus on the 5.1 configuration, because it is the most widely applied and most influential. In that way, how does this technology improve the sound effects such dramatically? For example, if you implement it in a movie, the center channel is responsible for the dialogues of characters and the two speakers, front left and right, are play the sound out of the screen center or even outside the screen. Further more, the two surround speakers are in charge of the background music or peripheral sound and the subwoofer takes the part of low frequency sound, such as the sound of motor or drum. [2] In short, the 5.1 channel technology makes the viewer to be in the center of the scene, vastly improves the quality of the sound effects and brings the great artistic enjoyment to the audience.