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Chris Quested, Tom Dodgson, Nick Watson and Paul Frick - Dolby

Chris Quested, Tom Dodgson, Nick Watson and Paul Frick - Dolby

Meet Chris Quested (Senior Manager Content Services), Tom Dodgson (Senior Manager Dolby Cinema Implementation), Nick Watson (Technical Director, Content Relations) and Paul Frick (Director Dolby Cinema Architectural Services) from Dolby (pictured L>R).  They are working as part of the team planning and overseeing the installation of Dolby's state-of-the-art technology in the new building. They share their experiences of the redevelopment process and give an insight into some of the new technology visitors to 195 Piccadilly can look forward to.


How are each of you involved in the BAFTA 195 Piccadilly redevelopment project? And at what stage are you at?

Nick: My role has primarily been to identify how Dolby and BAFTA can collaborate to ensure BAFTA 195 Piccadilly has the latest and best in terms of picture and sound technologies, and then bring together the right people to install Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos to the absolute highest standard in the Princess Anne Theatre. The installation in the theatre is now effectively complete, which is really exciting.
Tom: I’ve been part of the project planning team since very early in this project. We worked with BAFTA and their contractors to ensure the technical requirements to delivered the best sound and picture. My team are also responsible for the installation of the Dolby Vision projection, Dolby Atmos sound, and integration with all other functions of the Princess Anne Theatre.
Paul: I was involved from the beginning of the discussion on design.  I provided room layout (plan and sections), booth layout and co-designed the Atmos layout with Chris.  Once construction began, I helped resolve design/performance issues by collaborating with Benedetti Architects (Carla and Robin) as well as with the construction team.
Chris: My role is that of the Dolby audio consultant for the Princess Anne Theatre and comprised of designing the electroacoustic system for Dolby Atmos to be integrated into the room. This involved specifying loudspeakers and amplifiers, designing the signal processing chains and working with all other teams to advise on how to integrate equipment for the best possible cinematic experience whilst maintaining beautiful aesthetics. Once the room was finished, I worked to setup and calibrate the system.

What is the most interesting and challenging aspect of working on the redevelopment of BAFTA 195 Piccadilly?

Chris: From a system point of view, BAFTA need to be able to replay a vast range of audio formats which include Dolby Atmos, 7.1 and 5.1 as well as legacy film formats. They also need to handle highly technical conferencing events which can be diverse in their requirements. Designing the system to handle this and make it happen was very interesting and led to some head scratching at times.
Nick: The Princess Anne Theatre not only needs to be capable of the best film viewing experience possible, but also to be a great environment for the non-screening events which also regularly take place in the theatre. It’s wonderful to see that the team have managed to achieve this through careful, collaborative and innovative design.

How will Dolby’s state-of-the-art technology help expand the capabilities of BAFTA 195 Piccadilly and make it one of London’s premier screening rooms?

Tom: Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos represent the most advanced picture and sound technologies available in cinema. Dolby Vision creates a visual pallet for the content creators that gives them the brightest whites, and the darkest blacks, and over a million to one contrast in between. We also created a sound system in Dolby Atmos that allows pinpoint accuracy of sounds to allow content creators complete control over their sound design and confidence that it will translate seamlessly from the mix stage to the cinema. To be able to bring this to BAFTA 195 Piccadilly and see the response of those who have experienced it is very special.
Chris: BAFTA now has a studio grade Dolby Atmos system in a room that has been designed with great acoustics. The result is an immersive experience which allows loudspeakers to disappear and movies to be replayed in the way the director intended.

Why did you want to partner with BAFTA and what makes this an interesting partnership from Dolby’s point of view?

Paul: BAFTA is passionate about quality and it showed at every step along the way as the team was unwavering in striving towards getting an incredible room.  What was beautiful for me, was how much happiness and joy this process brought forward from all of us! I wish EVERY professional interaction I had in my life could be as personally fulfilling as this project. Incredible auditorium and great experience helping to build it.
Nick: Dolby have partnered with BAFTA for many years, and throughout my 25 years at Dolby I have worked on many occasions at BAFTA to help support screenings in the Princess Anne Theatre on a technical level. As a voting member of BAFTA, I also truly understand the need for films to be viewed in the best possible environment and in the way that the director and filmmakers intended – this has been both BAFTA and Dolby’s ambition throughout this project.

Tell us something that only you, in your role know about the project?

Chris: When you look inside the room, there’s only 20 loudspeakers that are visible. However, the room contains 67 loudspeaker cabinets. Many are hidden from view behind the screen and behind stretched fabric in the room.
Nick: We started discussing potential Dolby Atmos installation in the Princess Anne Theatre over 7 years ago, so it’s wonderful to finally see everything come to fruition!
Tom: Is this where I confess that I added my own plaque to the back of one of the chairs in the Princess Anne Theatre?...

What is your favourite film?

Nick: I think this has to be Gravity – not only is it a great roller-coaster of a story, it has a fantastic sound mix and a particularly ground-breaking use of Dolby Atmos.
Paul: I have a few; The Good, the Bad and the Ugly, Cinema Paradiso and Raiders of the Lost Arc.
Chris: The Hunt for Red October
Tom: The options are endless but I’m going to say the John Landis classic The Blues Brothers. I remember being introduced to it by my Dad and crying with laughter, and we’ve enjoyed it together many times since.

What is your favourite TV show?

Paul: Peaky Blinders
Chris: Spaced
Tom: Notable mention to The Wire, but right now I am obsessed with Ozark and cannot wait for the next season.
Nick: I watch more movies than TV shows, but being a motorsport fan I would have to say the coverage of Formula 1 would be my most-watched!

What is your favourite video game?

Tom: In terms of hours played FIFA wins hands down, but the game that changed my view of what video games could be was the original Halo series – mind blowing at the time.
Paul: Asteroids (OLD school)
Chris: James Bond Golden Eye on N64
Nick: I tend to leave the gameplay to my teenage kids, but occasionally do get dragged in to crash a few cars in Forza Horizon 4!