Before running on set with my whole equipment and randomly collect sounds, it’s better to make a plan before. What kind of gear do I need, what is important for the client and is there anything I should know to avoid surprises when filming? At this step, communication is important, before I can say. Sound? Speed!
When recording for virtual reality, it means for me to get a good mixture of two things: Number 1: sound sources that are as isolated as possible, so later in post-production, they can be placed in 3D space; and number 2: A well-balanced recording of the environment to really capture every sound, including room reflections and ambiences. This is where the secret weapons come in, like a variety of 360° microphones, a suitable surround-recorder, radio mics or sometimes even microphones that are hidden inside of the picture.
…can have a lot of meanings, but has one goal – to polish your sound. With audio restoration plug-ins, it’s possible to get rid of the unwanted noise that could not be avoided during shooting. After that, additional sounds and effects are layered, to get a rich tone.
Especially for 360° videos, it is not always targeted to create a sound that is as realistic as possible because it’s more about the impact the sound should create. What exactly needs to happen depends on each scene, most important is, that it simply has to be believable. What I like to use can be called musical audio design, where the borders between classic instruments and sound effects are being blurred. This opens a lot of new possibilities to shape the mood of a scene and makes sure that with a trained ear, there is no unwanted dissonance.
As a composer, I could already provide the music for a multitude of productions such as jingles, surround sound music or mixing and mastering band projects. My favorite genre could be described as something like an epic orchestra with dubstep elements, additional rock instruments and a little funk influence. But hey, I’m flexible.
However, what about music for virtual reality? The audience has learnt how music is used in a film and lets his emotion flow with it. But there is just a thin line between casting a spell on him or causing distraction. If the viewer can’t see any musicians inside the picture, where is the music supposed to come from? Is music actually allowed in 360° videos, as we are used to from Hollywood movies? This question can not be answered easily, but I’ll gladly assist to find the proper solution.
3D Sound, 360° Audio, Immersive Sound, spherical something – there are a lot of names for creating a virtual or real-life sound installation, where humans have a listening experience, just as they are used to from our natural environment. It doesn’t really matter if this happens with surround loudspeakers or binaural on headphones. The clue is to use a system, that availables sound to come from every direction, to create a truly immersive adventure.
Since this is a new topic, which introduces a lot of interesting questions, I dedicate my blog to spatial audio for virtual reality videos, with a variety of information from newbie to pro.
When mixing, every single track gets routed to groups like recordings from set, atmospheres, SFX and music and finally end up together on the master track. To keep it simple, the goal is now to get a good balance. So everything that should be audible will be heard but does not stand out. It’s especially important to maintain a good level of loudness and dynamics, to avoid being too loud or too quiet on the final medium.
Although for VR, a lot of surround channels need to be used, I can make sure that my spatial sound mix is still compatible with every (!) other surround sound format. This is possible due to my partnership with Immersive Audio Network (IAN) and allows me to playback on SpatialSound Wave, Dolby Atmos, DTS-X or even as a live-stream for social media or high-end Blu-Ray productions.
Although my work comes to an end here, I like to assist you until it’s finalized. There is and will always be a solution – if I’m not the one to have it, I know somebody who does.
Luckily, a variety of platforms already support 360° audio and there are more possibilities and formats coming up. This might get confusing, but don’t worry. I’m always keeping track of the newest state of the art and take care that everything runs smoothly during the process and beyond. So it’s of course also possible to write a software program for your event, to create an outstanding form of presentation with newest technology on a head-mounted display.