If you are a die-hard cricket fan, you must have watched every match during the IPL 2020 season from the safe premises of your home. All the matches were broadcast on Star India TV channels as well as its Disney+ Hotstar app. One of the most peculiar things to be noticed was fake cheer and commentary that was added to the soundtrack to impart a sense of an audience present in the stadiums. While the experience was certainly weird, not all of those cheers and commentaries were fake – thanks to Dolby.
Dolby worked in collaboration with Star India ahead of the IPL 2020 season to make the viewing experience better. “For Dream11 IPL 2020, Dolby also carried out a complete assessment of the Stadiums, Pre-production, Post-Production, Audio Production, and transmission chain for live and post-produced content. The assessment involved studying the entire audio workflow from its origin at the ground, through the Audio Mixing tables to transmission and editing stations, playout, and final delivery,” says Dolby in its release.
“Some of the audio processes and workflows were redesigned to better synergize audio from various sources like live matches, on-air promos, and advertising content was optimized for native as well as enhanced 5.1 viewing experience, to ensure that the final audio delivered to the consumer was consistent and maintained a uniform loudness level & clarity regardless of its origin.”
How did Dolby bring authentic cheers into IPL 2020?
While it is true that cheers and commentaries were fake, i.e. there was nobody doing it from the stadiums itself, most of it was done in real-time remotely. The production team at Star India used the Dolby On app to record the cheers, voice-overs, and reactions from commentators as well as fans remotely. This was later mixed with the feed that you saw either on TV or via Hotstar.
Hence, all those reactions you heard while a wicket was taken or the batsman hit a six, was all recorded for real. For most viewers, the end-user experience was as good as the cricket matches hosted with a real audience in the stadium prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Dolby On app is available for all users on both Android and iOS devices. The app lets users record any form of audio in high-quality Dolby effects. In Dolby’s words, you can “record songs, sounds, instruments, podcasts, rehearsals, voice memos, ideas, lyrics, beats, and more with incredible audio quality.” One can even apply studio effects including noise cancellation, spatial audio, EQ tuning, and more.