San Francisco’s Dolby Laboratories, known worldwide for pushing the envelope of entertainment sound, has released a fine little animated short to:  a) promote its role in films up for Academy Awards this year (including Best Picture nominee “Gravity“), and b) highlight the role of sound in creating memorable movie experiences (we all have our own personal cinema-sound moment; for me, it’s virtually all of Stanley Kubrick’s “The Shining,” and especially the title sequence).

Dolby’s short — embedded above — is called “Silent.” The plot line — well, watch it for yourself. On one level it’s a happy fantasy, on another it’s a whirlwind tour through more than a century of cinema audio technology and effects. In an accompanying “making of” video, the short’s producers also take time out to praise Dolby’s technology and show that they used the company’s current cutting-edge movie sound system, Dolby Atmos, in making the short.

“Silent” was produced by Moonbot Studios, the Shreveport, La.-based outfit that created “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore,” which won the Oscar for best animated short last year. Like “Silent,” that short pays tribute to classic cinema. But it’s much more, too: a moving celebration of storytelling, literature and the life of the printed word. To steal another guy’s tag line: I say check it out.


Dan Brekke

Dan Brekke (Twitter: @danbrekke) has worked in media ever since Nixon's first term, when newspapers were still using hot type. He had moved on to online news by the time Bill Clinton met Monica Lewinsky. He's been at KQED since 2007, is an enthusiastic practitioner of radio and online journalism and will talk to you about absolutely anything. Reach Dan Brekke at

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