The passing last year of Ray Dolby was surely never going to go unacknowledged by the Cinema Audio Society — the man’s name is so synonymous with sound at the cinema that most casual moviegoers might not realize it belonged to a person first. CAS, who presented the inventor with a Lifetime Achievement Award in 1989, will feature a special tribute to him at their awards ceremony on February 22.
CAS president David Fluhr states: “Within a year of each other, both the Cinema Audio Society, and Dolby Laboratories were born. The mixers who formed the CAS and Dolby’s founder, Ray Dolby, had the same ideals–a commitment to the excellence of sound. It seems fitting in the 50th year of the CAS, that as we award the latest in Technical Achievements for production and post-production sound, we pause and remember Ray Dolby, a true pioneer of the sound community.”
Dolby Laboratories, of course, is responsible for the development of noise reduction and surround sound technologies that are integral to the cinematic experience today. Oregon-born Dolby, a Stanford- and Cambridge-educated engineer, founded the labs in the UK in 1965, before moving them Stateside 11 years later. Previously employed at the Ampex Corporation, he was also the chief electronic designer of the first videotape recording system. Dolby holds over 50 US patents for his various inventions and innovations. (He also worked as a technical advisor for the United Nations — I’d say his career was pretty well-rounded.)
He and colleague Ioan Allen were presented with an Academy Award of Merit in 1989 (the same year as CAS’s honorary award, funnily enough). He also received career achievement awards at the Emmys and, only two years ago, the Berlin Film Festival. He passed away on September 12 last year.