Originally Posted by NorthSky
Methinks that the best would be to have two film mixing audio soundtracks; one for large theaters (large theater Dolby Atmos sound mix) and the other for regular living rooms (small studio Dolby Atmos sound mix).
In effect, they should be doing this now: the original theatrical mix, made for a large room (say, 7000+ square feet), done at an operating level of 85dB; and a "TV/home video mix," made for a much smaller room (say, 400 square feet), done at an operating level of 79dB. This is widely recommended by SMPTE, the AES, and several other industry groups.
One huge, huge problem for theatrical mixes is that their dynamic ranges are way too intense for an average living room. I'm sure all of you have encountered situations where you inch up the volume in order to hear low-level dialogue in a feature film, and then WHAM
... you get hit by a massive orchestral peak or a big explosion, you get knocked out of your seat, and you have to quickly dial the level back by 4 or 5 dB. This is that problem.
The problem is that studios are cheap and most directors are ignorant of this, so too often, the theatrical mix winds up getting plopped on Blu-rays, and that's what we get. They rarely translate well to home video, in my experience. When the sound supervisor has the time (and budget), they can go through in a single day and make minor adjustments to the existing mix and make it work at the 79dB level, and which also generally will work with the ITU R128 loudness specs required for TV mixes around the world.
My fear with Home Atmos is that if they jam 5 or 10 or 20 more channels in there, even with the metadata, there's a chance we're either going to miss important channel information we need to hear, or we're going to wind up with phase issues when multiple channels are combined. I think this can work under ideal situations, but again, it'll require the studios to spend more money and do multiple passes of different mixes in different rooms. A THX PM-3-style room -- a small-to-medium-size mix bay, essentially what they used for TV -- would work fine, provided they had enough loudspeakers.