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How Dolby enabled the IPL 2020 broadcast in the new normal

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In cricket, IPL2020 was one of the best sporting events this year. After being postponed for months, the 13th edition of the Indian Premier League kickstarted on September 19 in UAE. The major change in the action apart from hosting outside of India was the lack of crowd and chanting in the stadium. 

This is where Dolby Laboratories stepped in to deliver breakthrough experience. 

For those who are not familiar with Dolby laboratories, the company offers advanced audio and visual experience to billions across the globe with decades of experience. 

During the IPL 2020, Dolby worked closely with Star India, which broadcasted the league on television across the country to deliver an enhanced audio experience on Star network as well as on the digital platform, Disney+ Hotstar. 

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What Dolby did

Due to the ongoing pandemic, fans and cricket lovers were not allowed to enter the stadium for matches during this year’s IPL. So, every match had to go without any audience support. The lack of audience chanting, claps, whistles, and roar required something innovative and groundbreaking tech. 

To overcome this, Star India production made use of the Dolby On application. This application allows one to record and share audio content with superior Dolby sound quality. The created tracks can not only be shared on social media but also live-streamed on Facebook as well as Twitch. 

The production team used this app extensively through Dream11 IPL to remotely record voice-overs and reactions from commentators and fans to replicate a stadium-like experience for viewers at home. So, whatever we were listening during the IPL 13 - when a wicket falls or when a batsman scores a boundary was not exactly a fake one. 

Furthermore, Dolby has been working with Star India for over a decade to create and deliver top-notch broadcast experiences with end-to-end delivery production and delivery workflow powered by Dolby Audio. With the help of Dolby On app, Star India was able to create almost real-life fan experience with thrill during the live streaming. The audio recorded was being played during various times of the match to the comfort of viewers’ homes.

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Lastly, during this year’s IPL, Dolby also carried out a complete assessment of the stadiums, pre-production, post-production, audio production, and transmission chain for live and post-produced content. The content was optimized for native as well as enhanced 5.1 viewing experience. The audio training modules were designed and delivered to handle the complexities of live sports broadcasting during the IPL 2020.

Commenting on this deep relationship, Pankaj Kedia, Managing Director, Emerging Markets, Dolby Laboratories, said, “We have been working closely with Star India for over a decade. It has been a fantastic experience to first usher in the HD revolution in 2011 with Dolby Audio, followed by delivering a live cricket broadcast in Dolby Audio and many others. We are excited to be working with the very talented team to explore & deliver enhanced audio experiences to Star India’s viewers”. 

In terms of experience for the viewers on television, it was a mixed bag. A few were not comfortable with 'artificial' sound effects. But some others were thankful for the audio backing as otherwise following a cricket match on TV with no cheering in the stands was an off-putting experience. 

At the start of the IPL, there was some understandable criticism for the 'manufactured' noise. But by the end, most fans were used to it, and happy with the experience.

Srivatsa Ramesh
Srivatsa Ramesh

Srivatsa is a prolific writer who spearheads the core writing team on tech news, buying guides, reviews, and all gadget articles. He is passionate about technology.