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 is a blogger, reporter and editor for KQED News, responsible for online breaking news coverage of topics ranging from California water issues to the Bay Area's transportation challenges. In a newsroom career that began in Chicago in 1972, Dan has worked as a city and foreign/national editor for The San Francisco Examiner, editor at Wired News, deputy editor at Wired magazine, managing editor at TechTV as well as for several Web startups.

Since joining KQED in 2007, Dan has reported, edited and produced both radio and online features and breaking news pieces. He has shared in two Society of Professional Journalists Norcal Excellence in Journalism awards — for his 2012 reporting on a KQED Science series on water and power in California, and in 2014, for KQED's comprehensive reporting on the south Napa earthquake.

In addition to his 44 years of on-the-job education, Dan is a lifelong student of history and is still pursuing an undergraduate degree.

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