Beyond Dolby (Stereo)

Beyond Dolby (Stereo)

Cinema in the Digital Sound Age
Mark Kerins
Distribution: Global
Publication date: 11/23/2010
ISBN: 978-0-253-00485-7
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Since digital surround sound technology first appeared in cinemas 20 years ago, it has spread from theaters to homes and from movies to television, music, and video games. Yet even as 5.1 has become the standard for audiovisual media, its impact has gone unexamined. Drawing on works from the past two decades, as well as dozens of interviews with sound designers, mixers, and editors, Mark Kerins uncovers how 5.1 surround has affected not just sound design, but cinematography and editing as well. Beyond Dolby (Stereo) includes detailed analyses of Fight Club, The Matrix, Hairspray, Disturbia, The Rock, Saving Private Ryan, and Joy Ride, among other films, to illustrate the value of a truly audiovisual approach to cinema studies.

Author Bio

Mark Kerins is Assistant Professor of Cinema-Television in the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University.


“Including detailed analyses of Fight Club, The Matrix, and Saving Private Ryan, among other films, this book draws on dozens of interviews uncovering how 5.1 surround has affected not just sound design, but cinematography and editing as well. ”

“A breakthrough in film sound scholarship. Kerins does a masterful job of chronicling the complex history, theory, and production considerations associated with digital surround sound. . . . [His] work fills a gap in the sound field, while providing an essential contribution to cinema studies, cultural studies, and new media scholarship.”
 — William Whittington, University of Southern California

“[Kerins] does a fine job of demonstrating a crucial aspect of the way that contemporary films are constructed in a distinctive way. This book provides a noteworthy addition to the literature on film sound, bringing our analytical literature into the twenty-first century and teaching his readers the value of listening closely to the way films are now being made. ”

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Table of Contents



Part 1. Production and Style
1. Cinema's Hidden Multi-channel History and the Origins of Digital Surround
2. The Sound of 5.1: Aural Aesthetics
3. The Look of 5.1: Visual Aesthetics
4. Decoding the Digital Surround Style
5. Using the Digital Surround Style
Part 2. Analysis
6. Studying Multi-channel Soundtracks
7. Studying Image/Sound Interactions
Part 3. Theory
8. Body and Voice
9. Apparatus Theory
10. The Real and the Symbolic

Conclusion: Media and Media Studies in the Digital Surround Age

Appendix A: Timeline of Common Sound Exhibition Formats
Appendix B: Film Sound Personnel Cited