The immersive cinematic sound space: Audience perspectives

Damian Candusso

Research output: Book chapter/Published conference paperConference paperpeer-review

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The immersive cinematic experience is influenced by many factors, including, but not limited to, the production, narrative, technology and screening environment of the film. Since the introduction of digital cinema, directors have provided increased immersion through 3-D imagery and immersive 3-D sound technologies. Despite excitement in the production industry, new immersive technologies are being introduced into the cinema exhibition space with caution. Cinema managers are not rushing to upgrade to new technologies despite increased production of 3-D and immersive sound films. The cost of upgrading equipment, and with many new technologies not yet standardised, makes any technological investment a costly risk. This risk also factors in audience (customer) demand. John Kellogg warns that the immersive technologies need to be affordable for theatre owners, if not they will invest in upgrading their chairs (Giardina 2014). This cautious approach to upgrading technology is reminiscent of the format war that occurred during the introduction of wide screen and Cinerama. With 3-D introduced to bring the audience back to the cinema, how much of an attraction are immersive exhibition formats? Many are now stating that the 3-D experience is underwhelming, especially considering the premium price of tickets. In addition to changes in digital vision technologies, the digital soundtrack is also undergoing development with competing immersive sound formats vying for cinema standardisation. During 2014, the author conducted an online survey with 201 participants to investigate audience awareness of contemporary and emerging cinema technologies. This paper analyses the results and identifies audience literacies of contemporary cinema technologies and formats. Although vendors are pushing the benefits of their new technologies, what influence does the audience have? Is the audience demanding more from the cinema? What is the technical literacy of the cinema audience? Does the cinema audience understand the differences in new immersive technologies, including the immersive sound formats, or is contemporary cinema exhibition adequate?
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationaspera 2016
Subtitle of host publicationThe big questions
Place of PublicationAustralia
PublisherAustralian Screen Production Education and Research
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 2016
EventASPERA Annual Conference 2016 - University of Canberra, Canberra, Australia
Duration: 05 Jul 201607 Jul 2016


ConferenceASPERA Annual Conference 2016
Abbreviated titleScreen production research: The big questions
Internet address


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