Dolby Stereo

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum


Dolby Stereo is a sound format made by Dolby. It is a unified brand for two completely different basic systems: the Dolby SVA 1976 system used with optical sound tracks on 35mm film, and 70mm noise reduction on 6-channel magnetic soundtracks on 70mm prints.

1st Trailer (1976?-1991)

Visuals: On a scrolling starry space background, the words "OUR FEATURE PRESENTATION" fades in above. After a moment, the DOLBY STEREO logo (with the "Double "D" and box with "DOLBY STEREO") inside it slowly scrolls from the right to the middle of the lower half of the screen with a trail effect. As the Dolby Stereo logo finishes trailing, the words "PRESENTED IN" fade in between the upper text and the logo.

Technique: Motion-controlled cel animation by Filmack Studios (who got the license to use the Dolby logo).

Audio: "Zap!" by Derek Scott, albeit in many differences, it starts off at mono, but right when the 4th note plays, it transitions to out of phase (intended to be used for the rear speakers when it was decoded), but on the 9th note, it is now on the right channel, along with a brief reverb effect. When it reaches the 12th note, it switches channels through every note, until the 15th where it finally preserves the original stereo mix, only adding an out-of-phase reverb effect.

Availability: Seen on theaters of the time which had Dolby Stereo technology. Reportedly one of the film showings to have this was Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

2nd Trailer (1978-1991)

Visuals: On a zooming starfield background, "OUR FEATURE PRESENTATION" zooms in from the bottom and shines. After that, there is a blank Dolby Stereo logo zoom from the top with a trail effect until it gets to the center. About before the trail is done, the whole logo appears, and "PRESENTED IN" zooms to the top of it afterwards. The logo "shines" from left to right then flashes brightly.

Technique: Same as the first trailer.

Audio: Same as the first trailer.

Availability: It was seen in most Dolby trailers in cinemas before the introduction of Dolby Digital. The start date given for this one is known because a commenter on the video for the first trailer mentioned a copyright date stamp at the end of this one that can only be seen in full open matte.

3rd Trailer (1986-1991)

Visuals: Against a space background, a Dolby logo zooms in fast. Then, it zooms out from the left. When it's done, it flashes and forms the box with "DOLBY STEREO". When that is done, the slogan "FOR YOUR LISTENING PLEASURE" fades in below.

Variant: A Dolby Stereo SR variant also exists. In this variant, the Dolby logo zooms our with two boxes reading “SR”. “SPECTRAL RECORDING” is formed on top of the box reading “DOLBY STEREO”.

Technique: 2D animation.

Audio: Whooshing sounds, then a “bang” when the logo comes together. If one listens with headphones, a “whoosh” can be heard panning from left to right after the logo forms.

Availability: It was possibly seen in theaters with Dolby Stereo and Dolby Stereo SR technology.

4th Trailer (Berta) (1988-1991)

Visuals: On a light blue gradient background, an animated bumblebee (named Berta) flies in from the middle of the screen. She flies to the right, and scratches herself. She waves to the viewer, humming, as she flies to the left. After scratching her head again, she goes to the right off-screen. She flies by the screen from the left and right, yelling in enjoyment. She heads to the middle of the screen, before facing the viewer. She yells "Yipee!" before flying at the screen, hitting it and flying back to the middle, dazed. After shaking herself off, her wings stop moving, making her fall of the screen from the bottom. After a few moments, the Spectral Recording Dolby Stereo logo (as described in the previous logo) appears in the middle.

Technique: 2D animation.

Audio: The buzzing of Berta, her hooting and hollering, and a crashing sound when she hits the screen.

Sound Variant: The German version has an announcer saying "This is a presentation in Dolby Stereo" when the Dolby SR logo appears.

Availability: Likely appeared in cinemas that had Dolby SR technology at the time. It is unknown if this was used concurrently with the second and fourth trailers like the future Dolby Digital trailers were.

5th Trailer (Surround Fantastique) (September 1990-2002)

Visuals: The camera flies through various terrain and mountains. A mountain presents itself and then the camera flies over it, where a man throwing a piece of cloth off it is seen, signaling the camera to go into the sky. A Dolby logo floats down, with the "Making Films Sound Better" text later appearing below.

Variant: A Dolby SR version exists where the Dolby Stereo logo replaces the standard Dolby logo, and the Spectral Recording branding appears along with the "Making Films Sound Better" text.

Technique: Live-action footage filmed from aboard a helicopter, with the logo and text composited in.

Audio: A majestic orchestrated fanfare composed by Henry Mancini. It would be later re-orchestrated for the Dolby Digital version.

Availability: It was only shown in theaters.

6th Trailer (Temple) (November 1996-January 9, 2000)

Visuals: The camera approaches a temple, and climbs up the stairs. Dark blue clouds bow overhead. When it finishes its climb, it goes around a column and approaches a pedestal with a Dolby logo on top of it. The background fades out leaving the Dolby logo, which shines a few times before fading out.


  • According to the Explore Our World DVD, this, along with the Dolby Digital Egypt and Canyon trailers, were made as a response after complaints from theater owners about the City trailer due to its loud nature. These trailers were created to show how Dolby could not only make loud sounds more impressive, but also make subtle, quieter sounds more clear.
  • This trailer was originally made for theaters who were still using Dolby SR or Dolby A during the transition to digital sound. This trailer was later remixed for the Explore Our World demo disc by Dolby themselves in Dolby Digital using Dolby Pro Logic II decoding, as well as a Dolby Headphone track being available.


  • In theaters from the defunct theater chain Act III Theatres, this was used as a feature presentation bumper. After the Dolby logo appears, the logo fades out to reveal the Act III Theaters logo (the same design used in the 1992 logo of its parent company, only "THEATRES" replaces "TELEVISION") with "FEATURE PRESENTATION" below, also both in shiny silver.
  • On 35mm prints of this logo (except the one mentioned above), the logo cuts to black instead of fading out, and vice-versa.

Technique: CGI by Digital Artworks.

Audio: A choir harmonizing throughout ending with a slow gong and chimes/string-section. Wind, pigeons and an owl hooting are heard. Sound elements from Project One Audio; mixed by David Parker at The Saul Zaentz Film Center.

Availability: Said to appear on a DVD of a Rambo film (possibly the 1998 DVD releases of the films). For some unknown reason, this appeared on the 2000 Pakistani film Ghar Kab Aao Gay. It also appears on the Explore Our World demo disc, and on the 1999 Australian DVD of True Romance.

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