The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) has announced the creation of a new technology committee, TC-25CSS, dedicated to cinema sound. The committee will work to update SMPTE standards and recommended practices to address opportunities created by the many technical advances since standards last were created, as well as to improve the quality and consistency of cinema sound.
Improvements in measurement technology, digital sound delivery and in sound reproduction equipment, as well as the greater detail and dynamic range of movie soundtracks, present a variety of challenges in providing quality cinema sound.
Existing SMPTE standards and recommended practices help to minimize variations, but cinema sound quality today is highly dependent on the skill, talent, training and hearing acuity of the adjusting technician. TC-25CSS is the first SMPTE technology committee dedicated solely to cinema sound, and will explore and standardize new sound measurement techniques with the goal of consistency in sound reproduction between the mixing stage and diverse cinema spaces.
TC-25CSS was formed following an extensive study by the Theater B-Chain Study Group, which conducted tests of current test equipment and methods, measured reference and commercial theaters, and collaborated on observations and results. The committee currently has 130 members, representing more than 90 companies and academic institutions from 14 countries.
As TC-25CSS works to standardize techniques and tools for optimizing sound systems and theater acoustics, the committee will correlate human sound perception with the science of sound reproduction and measurements as the underlying principle. Current activities include development of a recommended practice for measurement and calibration of B-chain sound systems using modern standards and measurement technology, creation of a standard pink noise test signal, a final report on data and findings from the Theater B-Chain Study Group, and work by two new study groups examining immersive audio systems and new electroacoustic measurement methods and target curves.