Sound choice: How Dolby On can enhance your mobile videos

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The first thing we look for when we shoot a video on our mobile is probably the camera angle and the light on the subject’s face.

Sound is one of the last aspects that we go into. That’s perhaps why most videos that we share on social media are well-shot and look good, but sometimes we just cannot hear a thing.

That might all change with the introduction of Dolby On, a mobile application that hopes to help you create good sound with just the tap of a button. A free iOS and Android application, this recently-launched tool also helps you give a fresh sound to older recordings. Excerpts from an e-mail interaction with Ashim Mathur, Senior Regional Director Marketing, Emerging Markets, Dolby Laboratories:

Why do you think this phase (lockdown period in India) is the best time to launch a feature like this?

This is the age of live streaming. Musicians and content creators are turning to their mobile devices as key tools of their creative process — whether to capture ideas or inspiration, or to create and share with their audience on social media. Sound quality hasn’t really been a focal point, and creators have traditionally had to choose between creating content quickly on their devices or capturing with great sound. Dolby On empowers creators to make their statement with amazing sound quality, anytime and anywhere.

A lot of amateur musicians focus on quality video, but not much on the audio quality. How do you think Dolby On solves this issue?

It’s true that the innovations in mobile devices have been largely focussed on enhancing camera video quality. Musicians and content creators don’t have an easy way to capture great sound. Dolby On analyses the music around you and automatically reduces the background noise. It also provides just the right touch of EQ, compression, stereo widening, de-essing and more. You can further edit the sound with unique sound “styles” — like photo filters in Instagram, these allow you to apply sonic profiles to your recording. We know a lot of creators are struggling right now, and a lot of them are very rapidly needing to become experts in things like video and audio production and livestreaming. In this moment, we felt like the best way we can start to help is by expanding the accessibility of a free tool.

What are the other features that are likely to be used the most?

By tapping ‘Sound tools’ on your track, you can customise six pre-set styles. You also have features that help lose background noise, add shape and depth and optimise to help you stand out on social media platforms.

Who are your primary target audience group?

This is a tool for anyone that needs better sounding recordings — audio and video — from their phone. Musicians are one of the bigger groups that fall into this category of people, but we have users that are vloggers, journalists, podcasters, etc.

How different is this sound from the sound that we usually get when we record on our phones?

There are plenty of ways to apply effects like EQ, compression, limiting, and noise reduction to recordings to make them sound better. What this offers is a way for everyone to do this, without any background in audio engineering, and with the speed of tapping a button. Our technology will actually analyse what’s being recorded and, like a recording engineer, apply these effects based on the context of the recording. It isn’t meant to replace the studio, by any means. Instead, it’s meant to provide a level of quality for those that don’t have access to these sorts of environments, or augment the creative process of those that do.

Can it be used to enhance the audio of a video clip already shot sometime ago in the past?

Yes, it allows users to import files from the library on their phone to take advantage of all of the audio goodness.

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