Hi everyone,

Was asked to write a cost proposal for a promo spot destined for cinema here in Switzerland and the producer replied with the following:

"...Btw, how is it if the sound has to be dolby SR-D in the end - for cinema. Does everything have to be produced in dolby or can this be done later at the sound studio? Can you produce dolby sounds?"

I'm confused. Isn't "Dolby SR-D" a playback specification? Mhmmmm?

Yours in anticipation,



All Spinal Tap "DOBLY" jokes aside, you are correct. SR-D is a playback specification. The "sounds" are not produced in Dolby.

In most countries, a Dolby Approved studio is required, and a Dolby representative/engineer brings the DMU in and creates the SR-D master file, which a lab then puts on the physical film. Dolby requires a license fee be paid to actually do all this, so I would contact your Dolby labs directly to find out exactly how much that is. If you're studio hasn't been approved by Dolby for Printmastering, then you should find a studio that is, and find out how much they would charge for their time as well for your quote. Plan on booking at least a day there (more if it's a really long promo) to find out how the stuff you prepped in your studio, plays back in a proper cinema environment, and make any adjustments to keep the clients happy. There's also some excellent information here on Dolby requirements. Also check the room calibration thread at the DUC for additional info. Finally Dolby.com has some excellent white papers and articles on all this, if you have a fair amount of time to search (I find it difficult to get to where I want to go on the site, but that could just be me...)

  • @sonsey, Though I can't say that I'm surprised, I never realized that the Dolby guys were so particular. I'm going to read up on it later, but is there something special about SR-D, or is every Dolby encoded project supposed to be overseen/mastered in this way?
    – g.a.harry
    Apr 8 '11 at 14:59
  • If it's got the DOLBY logo on it, and it's on film, yup... TV and DVD are different.
    – Sonsey
    Apr 8 '11 at 16:35
  • @sonsey Thanks for the super answer. I am doing doing sound design for a very short promo (15 sec) and will then hand over my playout to another studio, where the VO is being recorded and the final mix will be done. So, my job ends at playout right? Am I correct in assuming that because I am NOT handling the final mix AT ALL, it is up to that person to arrange and ensure that Dolby specifications are met? My studio is our spare bedroom, setup as best as possible, but is sadly only GF,but not Dolby, approved. Thanks. Kurt
    – Kurt Human
    Apr 8 '11 at 17:36
  • @sonsey PS Can I copy/paste your answer into my email reply? Pretty Please? :)
    – Kurt Human
    Apr 8 '11 at 17:39
  • 1
    @Kurt Human. Yes, if the mix is being done elsewhere, then they are the ones to arrange all the Dolby business. Any studio that regularly does this will have all the contact info, as well as the correct gear and room to insure that all Dolby requirements are met. Very little actual sound design and editing is done in a full on Dolby room, just due to cost. Your job is to make sure the sounds that you do create, please the client and translate well on the dub stage. Feel free to quote me on that.
    – Sonsey
    Apr 8 '11 at 18:25

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