Audio technology to premiere in NZ film video

ROBERT KITCHIN/FAIRFAX NZ

Cinema goers have been given a sneak sound preview at the Embassy Theatre in Wellington that enhances the experience in scary movies.

Wellington volunteers have been playing guinea pig to a type of sound technology never used in cinema before.

The Embassy has been doubling as a pseudo-lab this week to test the effects of Rumble, a type of audio technology designed to heighten fear and anxiety.

The technology is set to premiere with the new Kiwi horror film The Dead Room, in cinemas on October 29.

The Dead Room uses Rumble audio technology, aimed to give an extra sense of dread.
SUPPLIED

The Dead Room uses Rumble audio technology, aimed to give an extra sense of dread.

Over 250 volunteers sat through six-minute Rumble sample sessions, many of whom had their heart-rate tested before and after the screening and received basic psychology testing.

California-based Rumble was initially developed for use in theme-park rides.

Creators soon discovered its potential for cinema, with the industry's increasing demands for technical innovation and audience experience.

The audio technology is designed to hit the bass frequencies of most cinema's sub effects speakers, creating a physical reaction similar to dread, or that feeling you might get when you think you have left the oven on.

While the company said medical professionals have deemed the technology safe with limited exposure, viewers reported an increased sense of unease and heart rate after test sessions.

Volunteer Connor Kennedy said the test session made him feel uneasy.

 "Short of breath as well and it just felt a little bit off."

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Pearl Leonard said her heartbeat increased 12 beats per minute after the preview.

"It made me a lot more focused on the film. I was entranced by the film a lot more."

The Dead Room director Jason Stutter said he had considered using 3D technology film but was excited at the prospect of using something New Zealand audiences had never seen before.

"It heightens the 'scare factor'," he said.

"I'm hooked on any technology that makes the experience of seeing a movie in the cinema immersive."

The Dead Room is about a haunted house in Central Otago, starring Jed Brophy (The Hobbit), Laura Petersen (Shopping) and Jeffrey Thomas (Lord of the Rings).

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