Immersive Sound adds the third dimension of height to the consumer listening experience and allows for pinpoint control of individual components in the soundscape via audio objects. Since its introduction a decade ago, it has grown in stature and advanced technologically to the point where the majority of big-release titles are mixed natively in immersive sound. It has also been utilized by gaming and VR applications. Mastering and distributing immersive audio has been done using proprietary workflows, limiting its interoperability and ultimate acceptance until recently when SMPTE standardized the ST 2098-2 Immersive Audio Bitstream (IAB) in 2018. Additional standards have been written that standardize its use in Digital Cinema Packages (DCP) and the Interoperable Master Format (IMF) and a number of codecs can now carry it to the consumer for a variety of applications.
To move forward with IAB in an eloquent manner, it is important that the workflows be as efficient and interoperable as possible. It is also crucial that the equipment we expect to process and play IAB is ready for the task when content is delivered. We are at the crucial stage of beginning the rollout of IAB, and the workflows that are adopted now will shape how the industry moves forward.
Given the challenges in bringing IAB forward into our industry, this paper will examine the current issues related to the creation, mastering, distribution and playback of IAB, and will propose real-world workflows for each of these. It will also look at ways to move from our current workflows to the proposed. Lastly, we look at the reality of interoperability while achieving consistent and quality playback that accurately brings the artistic intent to the consumer, proposing steps to achieving these in the short and long term.
This presentation could be just the paper, or it could have a panel in addition. The panel would be comprised of representatives from the content creation, mastering, distribution and equipment manufacturing communities which I would moderate. The discussion would be around the benefits, challenges and solutions as it pertains to these areas.
Technical Depth of Presentation
What Attendees will Benefit Most from this Presentation
• How we got here: History and benefits of immersive audio, current workflows and industry landscape
• IAB rollout challenges and solutions: Proposed workflows for creation through distribution
• Ensuring the future: Quality, interoperability and exceptional consumer experience