The Hobbit Audio Guide

Behind the Sound of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey with Dolby Atmos

“I really love the scene where we’re in the cave, just after the stone-giant scene, and the dwarves are all sleeping. Bilbo wakes up and you just hear this snoring around you, and you get a feel for these dwarves sleeping in this cave. It’s subtle. It’s a quiet moment, but it shows off what you can do in Dolby Atmos to draw the audience into the scene.”

Gilbert Lake
Senior Re-recording Mixer

 

Memorable Dolby Atmos Sound Moments in The Hobbit:
An Unexpected Journey

Dolby Atmos and Dynamic Mixing
Surge of the Spiders
Journey into Rivendell
The Goblins Nightmare
The Chase

The Hobbit Sound Mixing

 

(Gilbert Lake and Peter Jackson)

Dolby® Atmos™ brings a powerful new listening experience to the cinema with more natural, realistic sound that truly envelops the audience. The Dolby Atmos platform also makes it easy for content creators to design immersive soundscapes while ensuring the best possible audience experience, regardless of theatre configuration or the number of speakers.

Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey is presented in Dolby Atmos (where a Dolby Atmos theatre is available). Here’s what the film’s sound team has to say about the Dolby Atmos sound mix.

Dolby Atmos and Dynamic Mixing

“The beauty of The Hobbit is that there obviously is a lot of action in there, but it’s tempered with quieter scenes and there’s a real dynamic to the movie. There are chances to be really big with the way you use sound, especially with the dragon flyovers and huge effects going on. But there are also smaller moments and birds and ambiances.

“I really love the scene where we’re in the cave, just after the stone-giant scene, and the dwarves are all sleeping. Bilbo wakes up and you just hear this snoring around you, and you get a feel for these dwarves sleeping in this cave. It’s subtle. It’s a quiet moment, but it shows off what you can do in Dolby Atmos to draw the audience into the scene.”

—Gilbert Lake, Senior Re-recording Mixer

Surge of the Spiders

“In Radagast’s house, when he goes in and the dark magic is conjuring these spiders to crawl up onto his roof, you hear these footsteps, and you feel the stress of the house under the weight of these spiders as they climb up on top of the house.

“We put the spider feet and the stress sounds right on top of us so that the audience feels the weight of the spiders overhead. This shows off the capabilities of Dolby Atmos in a unique way.”

—Christopher Boyes, Re-recording Mixer

Journey into Rivendell

“When we enter Rivendell for the first time, the camera tracks in, the choir starts, the music starts to swell, and we bring that all up and around the audience—so not only are our heroes going into Rivendell, but the audience feels like they’re going in with them too.

“We see Bilbo and Rivendell for the first time, and the music is this beautiful, majestic but not bombastic introduction into Rivendell. Dolby Atmos reinforces the feeling of immersing the audience into what Bilbo’s feeling in that moment.”

—Michael Semanick, Re-recording Mixer

The Goblins Nightmare

“There are a couple scenes when our heroes fall down these chutes into Goblin Town, and the goblins attack them. Peter Jackson really wanted to have it feel nightmarish. Bringing the music and the goblins around encapsulates the audience in the nightmarish situation where our heroes are being attacked and rounded up.

“We wanted to make the audience feel a bit lost, uneasy.... Using Dolby Atmos, we added layers of sound to the mix to make you feel this nightmare of not just the volume but the power of everything around you—like you’re stuck in the middle of it with our heroes.”

—Michael Semanick, Re-recording Mixer

The Chase

“When the Wargs are chasing the heroes up the trees and the Wargs jump out and they’re snapping at the branches and coming at them, re-recording mixer Chris Boyes brings the audio overhead and into the room so it feels threatening for the audience, as if you’re right next to these jaw snaps and snapping branches. In 3D, this works very well to me.

“The sound is very supportive of the visual... this creates the sense that you are right there with Bilbo in the trees... Also notice, when we’re in the trees, the trees are shaking and creaking. Chris Boyes moved a few elements out into the room, and it really does feel like you’re up there in the tree with our hobbits. Fun stuff!”

—Michael Semanick, Re-recording Mixer