Sony Dynamic Digital Sound

From the Audiovisual Identity Database, the motion graphics museum


Sony Dynamic Digital Sound is a cinema sound system developed by Sony that was first introduced in 1993 with Last Action Hero. Unlike its two main competitors (Dolby Digital and DTS), there was no home media variant of this sound system. As a result, adoption of this sound system was limited and relatively few titles (especially independent films) took advantage of the system's full capabilities (up to 8 channels). Nonetheless, Sony continued to support the sound system until the mid-2010s on some films.

1st Logo (June 18, 1993-1999)

Visuals: A couple of white shooting stars shoot across the screen, then go into a large, zooming blue supernova. A flash occurs, leaving behind several yellow stars shooting at the screen, and a large sparkle with several lens-flare-like circles appears in the middle of the screen. Then, a glowing tilted horizon with red and black colors underneath it fades in as a large yellow pyramid swings into the center, and the large stylized text "SDDS" zooms out onto the triangle, leaving behind several blue clouds of dust as it does so. The text "Sony Dynamic Digital Sound" appears below "SDDS", and all the text begins to glow. The text "BREAKING THE DIGITAL SOUND BARRIER" appears below the whole thing as the triangle zooms in. When the triangle disappears completely, the horizon turns into dust and scatters all over the screen before fading out. "BREAKING THE DIGITAL SOUND BARRIER" continues appearing on the screen before the dust fades out.

Trivia: The whole logo was done on SGI workstations. Modeling and animation were done by Elizabeth Keith using Alias/Wavefront PowerAnimator. Compositing and rainbow effects were done using Alias/Wavefront Composer. Particle effects were made using custom software.

Technique: CGI designed by Sony Pictures Imageworks.

Audio: A series of whooshes and descending synths are heard all around the speakers playing the logo (whether they be on your computer, in a theater, or elsewhere). Then, an explosion occurs, alongside a deep synth note. It then turns into a bell note, then an ascending trumpet, and an orchestral hit.

Availability: It appeared in theater chains using the system during the time period.

2nd Logo (May 20, 1998-late 2000s)

Visuals: The sequence starts out on a black screen for a few seconds before the camera moves, revealing a sea-blue set of shapes with fish swimming in it. The camera turns away, then goes under a crack revealing an entire undersea environment with rocks, fish, and reefs. After a few seconds of footage in the sea, the camera then rises out of the ocean and heads straight into a series of trees into a jungle. The camera pans all through the trees before transitioning into a different shot of the jungle, where birds fly out from the trees. The scene then directly fades to a panning shot of Mount Kilauea in Hawaii. When the camera swings directly into the volcano, the inner part of the volcano becomes CGI and the screen zooms deeper into it before the text "SDDS", in the same font as before, appears in yellow and shoots at the camera. The environment disappears and becomes nothing but smoke. The Sony logo appears briefly and faintly in yellow before the smoke clears out and the SDDS logo appears at the left of the screen, with "Sony Dynamic Digital Sound" next to it.


  • This logo was directed by Barnaby Jackson.
  • The live-action sequences were shot in Brazil, Costa Rica, and Hawaii, by technicians from Creative Cafe in Los Angeles.
  • The volcano innards and ending animation were the only fully CGI elements in the logo, due to it being impossible to safely film the lava inside the volcano. The lava animation was done at Sony Pictures Imageworks, while the compositing, editing, and the rest of the animation were completed digitally by Nathan McGuinness at Planet Blue.

Variant: All of the sequences in this logo have spun off into their own trailers. The "Volcano" trailer follows the same ending as the main version, while the "Jungle" and "Undersea" trailers end by fading into the same ending animation, albeit now tinted blue.

Technique: It's all live-action except for the subtle scene transitions, and the inner part of the volcano and ending, which are CGI.

Audio: A dark fanfare that starts off whimsically, before gaining jungle drums and becoming louder during the volcano sequence. The fanfare grows more and more dramatic as the SDDS logo shoots out, before turning silent and drawing back in some drums. Three string notes are heard before an orchestral hit occurs.

Audio Variants:

  • Sometimes, the fanfare is removed, leaving only the sound effects.
  • There is an alternate variant of the trailer where the only soundtrack that plays, starting in the jungle segment and ending when the camera zooms into the volcano, are tribal drums that gradually get faster and more dramatic as we approach the volcano.

Availability: This might still be seen in theaters that use SDDS. The "Volcano" variant was first used on the theatrical release of Godzilla.

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