Best of high end visited the Galaxy Studios in Mol, Belgium; the home of AURO-3D. In this fifth part we asked CEO Wilfried Van Baelen: “How do you see the future of audio and video?”.

The importance of high frame rate

Wilfried Van Baelen: “An interesting question is what about the future of audio and video? Audio and video always go together, but let’s first talk about the video part. I see a big evolution; a lot of new things are coming up. 4K resolution brings us closer to reality. High dynamic range offers more difference between black and white. These are 2 parameters that we can easily recognize. It’s not difficult to see the difference in resolution or dynamic range. I think a 3rd parameter is more important. If you’re talking about an immersive experience, we should think more on the subconscious level. A movie is made out of a typical number of pictures (stills) per second. We call that the frame rate. The standard in the movie industry is 24 frames per second.

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Let’s relax our brain

Our brain has a problem with these ‘stills’. Our conscious brain sees the pictures as a fluent movement, our subconscious brain doesn’t. To make it so, our mind needs brainpower. That’s why you get fatigued when you watch movies for a long time. It has nothing to do with the story at hand. Research has shown that after a while brain activity goes up. So, how many frames per second do we need to trick our brain in having a natural experience? Professor Dijkstra has done tests on 2000 people. We all thought that the higher the frame rate, the more relaxing it would be for our brain. But the curve doesn’t go like that. At a certain amount of frames it drops almost to zero. That amount is between 54-56 frames per second.

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Even more realistic content

Maybe you’ve heard of the film ‘The Hobbit’. That was a technical experiment, shot in 48 frames per second. There was less blur in the picture and overall quality was technically more correct compared to the 24 frames per second version. I was lucky to see a movie that was created by James Cameron, recorded in 60 frames per second in 3D. It was amazing! He showed me the difference with 48 frames per second. Those 12 frames per second more, made a lot of difference. The picture was even more realistic and relaxing to watch. I think that ‘high frame rate’ is an important topic. Bringing all those technologies together (4K, high dynamic range, high frame rate) will offer a completely new video experience.

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Audio is a subconscious experience

What about audio? Traditional surround sound is not enough when watching a movie in 4K. The enhanced video experience needs to be matched. Audio is a very important part of the overall experience. Sound has more influence on our brain to make us feel like we’re ‘there’. The best video quality, the best reproduction can’t offer that. The visual part is a more conscious one, while audio takes place in our subconscious. Audio has always been a subconscious thing. Our audio sense is the most evolved sense. It’s the only sense that we develop before we are even born. All the other senses are developed after we are born. Audio is analyzed in the fasted part of our brain. It only takes 0,000005 sec to transport the impulse from our ears to the cortex. Five microseconds is the same as the wavelength of a 200kHz sound sample. That’s the reason why we can hear spatial differences up to 200kHz. We can hear normal sound up to 20kHz. The time relationship between everything we hear is more sensitive by a factor of 10. The spatial environment is very important. The more I know about sound and the way our brain handles it, the more I’m convinced it almost impossible to reproduce natural sound. How can we reproduce sound in the most efficient way? Most of the people believe that the more channels/speakers you have, the more natural the sound becomes. That’s of course not true. It all depends on the way sound is recorded, on the flexibility of the used format.

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A true emotional experience

The future will bring a more subconscious sound experience. It’s all about storytelling. A football game, a movie, a music album: people want to tell their story, to convey their emotions. All that new technology helps to bring us that enhanced emotion. More creativity will be available for the content creators in comparison to for example our parents. It’s like making art and bringing it to the people. It will become easier to understand the original story and undergo a more emotional experience.”.

Visit the website of Galaxy Studios.