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Solent Unviersity Southampton logo

Solent digital cinema (LT1)

A fully-functioning digital 3D cinema with a professional 2K projector and an exclusive Dolby Atmos sound system.


Take a virtual tour of the cinema

Virtual tour

About the digital cinema

LT1 features a DCi compliant Barco 2K digital projector, able to fill the 8m matt-white screen with the latest films. A Dolby DSS200 digital cinema server hosts the content and is played back using the Dolby Theatre management software, creating automation cues for lights, screen masking, sound and playback. An Xpand active-shutter 3D system also allows playback of 3D content.

Alternative content (non DCP digital cinema files) can be played back using the same projector via a Barco 2K video-scaler to obtain a crisp, bright image, from other sources. Blu-ray and DVD playback are supported using either consoles or a dedicated blu-ray player, a PC/Mac can also be used to play back content or demonstrate software.

The sound system is comprised of the latest format from Dolby: Atmos. Atmos is an object-based audio system allowing for a more immersive sound experience for film, due to added speakers and improved technology. Extra wide speakers either side of the screen allow for smooth panning and movement of sounds off the screen, whereas traditional 5.1 and 7.1 channel-based formats would be missing speakers, creating a ‘gap’ in the sound-field. All surround speakers are also individually addressable, meaning a sound can come from just one speaker, rather than a surround ‘array’ of speakers; this adds another level of detail within sound mixing. With the addition of extra subwoofers and a bass management system, the surround speakers can also replay full-range audio, creating a sonically improved sound compared to legacy systems. To fully immerse the audience, overhead speakers are fixed to the ceiling, allowing for sound overhead.

Inside the digital cinema

Using Avid Pro Tools digital audio workstation (DAW), users can edit and mix their session using the Dolby RMU (Rendering and Mastering Unit), from the middle of the auditorium. An Avid S3 control surface and Avid transport control can be placed on a desk with remote operation of the DAW over a KVM. An Adderlink IP-based KVM extends mouse, keyboard and 2x DVI displays for high-quality remote control, as within professional studios. This allows all noisy equipment to remain within an isolated, temperature controlled machine room.

Students can use the Pro Tools system to mix and author 5.1 and 7.1 mixes as part of their course, and can use the Dolby RMU to gain experience of Atmos mixing, and to understand this new workflow for mixing sound for cinema.

The room configuration and speaker calibration is setup on the Dolby RMU and the Dolby CP850 Cinema Processor. These are the processors that render a personalised Atmos soundtrack suitable for the room, in real-time. The amplifier control and routing ‘back-end’ side of the audio system is based on the QSC Q-sys IP-based digital audio platform, remotely controlled from a PC within the projection room. This powerful DPS software can also be used as a useful teaching tool due to the visual ‘block’ nature of the design platform.

The University is currently one of only three in the world, and the only UK University to have a Dolby Atmos system. We’re also currently the only cinema south of London to be able to present in the format. With the RMU, we’re within a group of less than 10 in the UK to be able to mix in the format.

LT1 seats 96 for traditional lectures or film screenings. With a shorter than usual throw distance (between audience and screen), viewing films in LT1 makes for a very immersive experience.

Solent is currently one of only three in the world, and the only UK University to have a Dolby Atmos system.

Equipment

  • Barco DP2K-15C DCi digital cinema projector.
  • Xpand Active-Shutter 3D system with 100 pairs of glasses.
  • Dolby DSS200 digital cinema server.
  • Dolby CP850 digital cinema sound processor.
  • Dolby Rendering and Mastering Unit.
  • QSC Q-Sys Core 500i with 9x QSC DPA-Q digital amplifiers.
  • JBL screen and surround speakers.
  • Avid Pro Tools MADI interface with sync HD.
  • Focusrite Rednet6 MADI to DANTE bridge.
  • Mac Pro (2013) running Pro Tools v12 Digital Audio Workstation.
  • Alternative content sources (PlayStation 3, Xbox-360, Blu-ray player, PC).

Courses that use this facility

  • BA (Hons) CGI and Visual Effects
  • MA Film Production
  • BA (Hons) Post Production for Film and Television
  • BA (Hons) Film and Television
  • BA (Hons) Film Production
  • BSc (Hons) Live Event Technology
  • BSc (Hons) Popular Music Production

This facility is available to hire

The cinema may be available to hire for commercial production studios to author a 5.1, 7.1 or Atmos mox for their film. Specifically with Dolby Atmos format, a commercial agreement with Dolby for authoring is required, and an engineer must be on site to assist with the authoring and file delivery.

The room can be used for film screenings and gaming nights with internal and external clients.

Enquire about hiring the cinema

Find out more about external hire