Dear Netflix: Please Protect this Prince with Immersive Sound…

Netflix Dolby AMC Little Prince

This is another of our series of “Dear Netflix” posts containing ponderables for protecting “The Little Prince” movie which they rescued.

Dear Netflix (NFLX),

Hope you’ve been having a fantastic summer so far. Please hear us out regarding another ponderable for our Operation: Protect This Prince.

SFChronicle AMC Dolby Newark

In case you missed it, Friday’s San Francisco Chronicle had an awesome article by Benny Evangelista about the Dolby Cinema Technology (think: high-tech, immersive audio sound system ) at the NewPark Mall theater in Newark, Calif. (just up the road from you).

AMC Newpark 12 Dolby

The Newark theater is the only local showcase for the Dolby Cinema AMC experience created by San Francisco’s Dolby Laboratories, whose advanced video and sound projection systems could point the way to the future of movies.

  • It made its film debut with Pixar Animation’s “Brave” in 2012,
  • Currently, those watching “Finding Dory” experience the roar of the ocean while their seats rumble with undertow.
  • The Dolby Cinema in Newark is one of 20 in the U.S., four in Europe and four in China.
  • The theater has a 61-foot-wide, 33-foot-tall screen, with a sound system that relies, in part, on a few dozen strategically placed speakers ranged around the walls and the ceiling.

Unique Storytelling Style of The Little Prince Movie

One of the things we loved about the Mark Osborn’s rendition of this amazing story was the implementation of two different animation styles.

The Little Prince animation styles

The world of the Little Girl and her Mother are rendered in the very “grown-­‐up” style of CG animation, used cleverly as a framing device for the classic story of The Little Prince, which comes to life in a very “childlike” technique of stop-­‐motion animation, representing the eyes and imagination of the Little Girl.

So you have two visual styles and then magnificent sound is layered. Plus, within the “framing device” are two different worlds: the world of the Little Girl, and the world of the Aviator.

Aviator Little Girl The LIttle Prince movie

We knew that over the course of the film, those worlds would all be somewhat fluid, the sounds of the Aviator would slowly creep into the world of the Little Girl. So we had those three distinct worlds, and each needed their own sound. The sound of the stop-motion world we really wanted to be special, and those were some of my favorite parts of the movie to work on.

  • The world of the Little Girl is one of straight lines, empty spaces, repetitive geometry… So the sounds in her world become very mechanical, the very rhythmic sound of a sprinkler, a single regimented cricket, clocks ticking.
  • The world of the Aviator is entirely different, his is a lush world, so everything in his world reflects that.
  • His house, his yard, they are filled with homemade sculptures, chimes, wind in trees, lush birds.
  • Even something as simple as room-tone was worked on quite a bit to differentiate their two worlds. His house creaks, and ticks and pops, the wind gently whistles through the windows. The home of the Little Girl and her mother is very stifled, very still with air, almost like the house is holding it’s breath.

We picked up the nuggets above from an interview we found online with Tim Nielsen, the sound designer / supervising editor / re-­‐recording mixer. We couldn’t believe how much this interview confirmed what we sensed — the director, Mark Osborne knew the importance that sound would play in the film.

Asound Tim Nielsen Sound The Little Prnce movie
Nielsen remarked:

While mixing, we are always simply asking, what is the emotion of the film demanding right now, what is the storytelling demanding. I love great films score and have no problems with pulling all of the effects down at the right moment…

Sounds Good to Us

To us, the timing of the Chronicle’s piece on the awesome immersive sound at the Dolby Cinema AMC in Newark, seems serendipitous.


Located just 30-miles up 880 from the Netflix headquarters in Los Gatos, the theater is already winning over fans with “Finding Dory” — those are folks willing to pay extra for the immersive experience.

From what we’ve read, the Dolby Cinema in Newark is a great example the perfect type of theater we’re looking for to properly “Protect this Prince.”

Please ponder.

Thanks for your time!

—The Gang

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