Inspiring Installs: Ehome Italia gives Italy its first Atmos cinema

Audio Media International looks back over 2014 to highlight some of the year’s stand-out installations, whether it be for innovative use of technology, scale, value for money or impact. As Mike Clark reported in our sister title Installation, a new multiscreen cinema complex is home to the first Dolby Atmos installation in Italy.

The installation was chosen by entrepreneur Orazio Brigadieci who decided to take the Cinema Royal, which had lain abandoned for 10 years in the Sicilian city of Gela, and transform it into the Hollywood Multicinema, a leading edge multi-screen venue, which opened its doors at the end of 2013 and also features four Christie HFR (High Frame Rate) projectors.

The interior of the building was completely restructured to host four theatres, new projection booths and complementary service (food service and film-related merchandising sales).

A JBL/Crown rig was installed in the 188-seat Studio 1 (the Atmos room), to implement the spatial, object-based 3D sound provided by the new Dolby platform.

Thirty JBL 8340A high-power cinema surround enclosures are divided into six symmetrical left/right zones (side, rear and top surround), mounted on the side and rear walls and on the ceiling. In addition, five JBL 4739 + 4732-M/HF 4732 screen array systems sit behind and at the sides of the (14m x 6m) screen, with three front JBL 4645C 18in 800W subwoofers and four more on surround chores. The Crown CTs powerhouse comprises two CTs 3000, 10 CTs 1200 and 16 CTs 600, each fitted with a PIP-BLU module. The speaker set-up is optimised by a BSS Soundweb London BLU-100 12 x 8 processor and processed by the new Dolby CP850 Atmos cinema unit.

The sound system was designed by Ehome Italia Service Srl (Christie’s EMEA Italian branch) and Harman Professional’s Italian distributor Leading Technologies of Monza. Installation and system integration was also by Ehome Italia, led by site manager Francesco Giambanco. Involved from the outset, Leading Technologies fulfilled the order after the JBL/Crown combination had been recommended by the system integrator.

Rome architect Pierluigi Celata, responsible for the overall architectural design, took particular care with the design and construction of the pre-fabricated dividing walls and floors, to ensure enhanced acoustic insulation between the theatres themselves and other areas of the venue.

Giuseppe Di Marco, sales manager with Ehome Italia Service Srl, explained: “Thanks to the precision of the work done by the architect at the drawing board stage and during construction, following all the necessary technical installation indications and the Dolby Atmos guidelines, our team has absolutely no problems with the installation of the equipment involved.”

With its partners on the project, Ehome supplied and installed all the audio and video technology and, in the case of the Atmos system, Dolby consultant Marco Stefani, responsible for approval and commissioning, carried out the test and the final calibration, after which a final check was run prior to the room receiving Dolby Atmos certification.

“For Atmos theatres, the architects prepare a design following Dolby guidelines for Atmos systems, which is passed to the consultants appointed for the approval of Atmos designs,” Stefani explained. “Speaker placement and aiming must be very precise in relation to the RLP (Reference Listening Point), which is two thirds of the way down the room and mid-way between the side walls, and speakers must be calibrated to obtain 85dB at the RLP. Once the design has been approved, all the data is passed on to a spreadsheet, and after this has also been approved, the installer proceeds with installation according to these documents.

”When everything is in place and tested, the consultant checks that the installation has been carried out correctly, runs a test and carries out a final calibration, using eight microphones appropriately positioned in the room, phonometer, spectrum analyser, etc. Dolby Atmos’ auto-EQ software then sends a sweep to each channel, which is recorded by the microphones, and the file created with the necessary EQ is uploaded on to the Dolby CP850 cinema processor.”

Leading Technologies project manager and sound engineer, Alessandro Gianelli, who assisted with the sound design, concluded: “As well as ensuring the city a leading-edge venue offering important leisure and cultural facilities, the new cinema has made an important contribution to upgrading the area. An additional adjacent building was also built to host Studios 5 and 6 in the near future. The new Atmos system debuted on screenings of The Hobbit and Gravity and reaction from customers and impact at the box office have been extremely encouraging.”