Professional Sound - April 2018 - Page 56

SOUND ADVICE OBJECT-BASED AUDIO A Q&A with Bell Media’s Michael Nunan Part 1 W hile at a one-day conference on immersive audio and audio for VR/AR at the Screen Industries Research and Training Centre in Toronto, which was co-hosted by the Toronto sections of AES and SMPTE, Professional Sound spoke with Michael Nunan, the senior manager of audio broadcast operations for Bell Media. At the event, Nunan gave the opening remarks, which focused on the future of object-based audio in film and television. PS: What could object-based audio look like for TV viewers? Michael Nunan: One of the big selling points that the various manufacturers and vendors that are involved in this space are using is words like “personalization” and “experience.” Really, that has to do with affording the viewer some ability to interact with the content and personalize or customize their experience of it. A good example of that would be someone who maybe has a slight hearing impairment and, for them, they would like the dialogue to be much louder than the music and effects and everything else than maybe the mixer and producer of the event chose to make it. Well, in the current real- ity of channel-based delivery, there is nothing we can do about that. We either unilaterally decide to change the way we mix a program so that it satisfies everyone, or we suffer the fact that some viewers, someone with some sort of a hearing impairment who doesn’t have their hearing aids in, is going to struggle to understand some of the dialogue in the program. Well, in an object-based world, it would be possible for us to allow the viewer, like they have a volume up and down button on their television, but we could also give them the capa- bility of turning just the dialogue up and down. So maybe they want to always listen to dialogue at +3dB relative to everything else. Well right away that has enormous value. 56 PROFESSIONAL SOUND PS: What does the foreseeable future hold for object-based audio in Canadian broad- casting? MN: Like every other broadcaster, we’re [currently] decidedly under, sort of, ATSC 2, let’s call it, which means the state of the art is still Dolby Enhanced AC-3. So the answer to your question – as far as “what’s the future of object-based audio in broad- cast?” – the glib answer is there isn’t one in this country. But that is because I am answering the question literally. I don’t think, if I had to guess, that we will see true broadcast, that is to say over- the-air terrestrial broadcasting, of ATSC 3.0 signals in this country. Now, something could change and, ultimately, I don’t think it’s going to matter for us upstream teams preparing the content because despite the fact that we may actually never broadcast a full 4K high dynamic range 3.0 signals attendant with an AC4 audio payload, which includes object-based, even though that may never actually emit from the top of the CN Tower, we’ll nevertheless be prepar- ing content in that form to deliver however we are delivering it, whether that’s over-the-top or, for the foreseeable future, through our BDU partners – the cable companies and ourselves at Bell TV. So yeah, that’s a curious way to answer the question. So it’s unclear what the delivery mechanisms are going to be, let’s say, in terms of how Canadian consumers may ultimately receive this content. But it’s the case today that all, for instance, 4K UHD work in the country has really traded o ѡյ)ɽ́хɑ̃Lѡ ԵɅхɑ̸Q)ɕͽ́ݔͽЁյѼݽɭ,)ȁU!х䁽̰ɔѡɔ݅́ɅѤ)̸хɐMѡѡم݅)ѼɅѡ͔ѥյȁɽ)́ѡ͔̰ɽՑѥٔ)ѽЁ ̸ Ё݅́ѥͽ݅)ݸѡɽɔݔյMѡӊé)ݡɔݔɔܰЁݗeٔ䁙ȁѡ)啅́ɥѥݥѠѠ)ѕ́ѕ́ɔɥ)ݥѠѡݡ̵Ёɵ̸]݅)Ѽչх܁ѼЁѡЁɄͥ)ݡЁ́Ѽѡ́ѕ٥ͥݔ)ȁ٥ѡɔ䰁хѥѼ)չхе͕ݽɭϊ) ЁȁɕȵٕѥՑɅ)ѥѥ̰ѡ́́ɕɅѕȸQͅѡЁ)ѡѽ́ɥ́ѱݽɬɽչ́)䁱ѱٕ́ѡЁԁLq=$)Ѽ͕Ё䁍ɕͽȁѡ́݅䁽ѡՔ)ՈɽÊtLݡѡЁՙ́݅䁅)܁׊eɔɍѼɽЁѡ́ѡаqḛ$)ѥѡѡȁ䁵̰ͥЁɽ)Ʌ$eЁٔѼݥѠյѡ)ͼ́$eЁЁѼɕ䁽յͼ$e)չЁЁ́ͅ䁹ӊt)Qӊéٕ䁵Սɽɕ́ѽ䁅ѡ)ٕ݅́䁵Ս䁵ͅѡ́ɹ%Ё݅́Ѽ)՝Ёѡа̰ԁ͕ѡѥѱ%ͥٔ)ՑHYHѡѡЁӊéɕ䁥ѕɕѥ)Ѓ䁵́ͅ$ѡԁɔѡ)ՙЁȁݸɥ