Dolby teamed up with Oscar-winning Moonbot Studios to create Silent, an animated story about the partnership of picture and sound in movie entertainment.
Silent debuted at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science’s Scientific and Technical Awards ceremony on February 15, 2014, paying tribute not only to the collaboration between music and sound, but to the partnership between art and science.
“By working with Moonbot, by creating a film, it really is the perfect complement of our technology with the best of storytellers,” says Bob Borchers, Dolby’s chief marketing officer.
One of the movie’s stars is Morris Lessmore from Moonbot’s Oscar-winning film The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore. As one-half of a struggling team of street performers, Morris does the pictures, while his partner, a young girl, plays music on the keyboard. A rainstorm drives the pair into an abandoned theatre, where they find a magical contraption that leads them through an adventure of sight and sound. The adventure takes them through a virtual history of film and its genres, from silent movies to horror films, children’s stories, and thrillers.
“We took those two characters and put them on a journey that represents the evolution of film technology,” says director Limbert Fabian.
It should come as no surprise that a Dolby production comes complete with fabulous sound. The film’s sound editor is Steve Boeddeker, who has been nominated for his first Academy Award this year for the sound editing of All Is Lost.
Silent’s theme of picture and sound working together appealed to the sound specialist. “People don’t realize how much emotion and storytelling they get from what they hear,” Boeddeker says. “They think that it mostly comes from what they see.”
“Sound is one of the things now that really binds you into that world, envelops you completely,” says Moonbot cofounder William Joyce. “I mean it takes [a movie] from just being the flat plane in front of you to literally surrounding you. And there’s nothing else like that.”