Load Up the Senses

I read a press release today in which the president and CEO of D2Audio claimed “We have long understood that improved audio leads to a perception of better video.”

I won’t argue. In a past life, I was active in the flight simulation community: people who fly airplanes on their computers. In my studies of simulations — flight and otherwise — I learned about the concept of “immersion.” This referred to how “real” the experience appeared to be to the participant. And I learned that one of the most effective ways to elicit sensory responses was to saturate the other senses. For example, if you fill the participant’s field of view with effective imagery and provide loud audio cues, the participant will report other sense cues that aren’t there, such as visceral feelings of motion.

Don’t take my word for it; you can see this for yourself. Go to an Imax movie, and when they show a clip of a rollercoaster ride or some other movement, don’t watch the screen. Watch the audience. They’ll lean into the turns, responding to motion cues that aren’t there.

So make sure that your screen is large enough to fill most of your field of vision, that you’ve got sufficient low-end response from your sub-woofer, and that the sound is turned up to a comfortable level, and you’re more likely to get a big screen experience where you feel like you’re really there.