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Audio And VR

Posted by on May 28, 2014 | 4 comments

There’s been more VR content made in the past year than the last twenty combined, thanks to the emergence of the Oculus Rift, Sony’s Project Morpheus and other such virtual reality (VR) devices. There’s lots of innovation happening on the visual front, including new methods of gameplay, narrative structure and visual design. The obvious question: what’s happening on the audio front?

There are discussions about audio for VR across the Internet but most of them are related to the technology behind binaural/3D positional audio. There also is lots of academic research related to auditory interfaces spanning the past couple of decades. A search on Google Scholar will lead to lots of good material worth reading. [This post is focussed on first person game like environments, where audio-visual realism and synchronisation is necessary]

Over the past two and a half years I have been involved with Two Big Ears where we’ve been developing 3Dception, a very very efficient real-time and easy to use binaural audio engine that works everywhere (you can head to the website to watch and download demos). During this period I’ve had the opportunity to design sound for about fourteen augmented and virtual reality projects including games, interfaces for the visually impaired and audio led tourism apps. My experience so far, especially when working with binaural audio, has shown that some of the ‘tricks’ we take for granted in non-VR applications don’t work as well. This article is a summary of a few things that I’ve learnt, as a designer, when dealing with such technologies.

This article is by no means exhaustive. My hope is that it can be expanded as more sound designers experiment in this area. I’ve also made a copy of this article on a wiki which I hope to update as I continue work in this area (it is on wiki to facilitate community contribution!). I’m also currently working on a short playable game t (more…)

Sound Design Podcast Roundup 2014

Posted by on May 21, 2014 | 2 comments

Photo cc: zoomar

Photo cc: zoomar

While Designing Sound is snuggled firmly in the warm and cozy blanket of text articles; it’s not always the most convenient way to absorb information. Whenever I am walking on a hiking trail or making a long (or even short!) drive I don’t usually listen to music unless I am out of new podcast episodes! People may be aware of the podcasts we have covered and collaborated with recently but I thought it would be cool to wrap them all up into a nice little bundle for everyone!

Here’s a roundup of the sound design podcasts that I listen to regularly: (more…)

Interview: Chris Sweetman and Interesting Interiors

Posted by on May 19, 2014 | 2 comments

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Chris Sweetman has a new library out called “Interesting Interiors” and was kind enough to be interviewed by Samuel Justice for this article.

For those who don’t know you – could you give a quick overview of your career?

I was very lucky to have an early start in sound. My father, Brian Sweetman, is a 50 year film sound veteran and I was brought up going to field recording sessions and fooling around in projection rooms as a kid, so when I left school it felt natural to move into sound.

Initially, I worked with my Dad who was running his own sound business working in the Film & Television industry back in the late 80′s/early 90′s. We worked mainly on film and tape stock (as DAW’s weren’t invented!) such as 16mm, 35mm, 1/4″ and Optical, I loved the tactile aspect of the job, playing around with splicers, moviolas and steenbecks. Most of the work we did was recording sounds, film transfers and voiceovers. That’s when I really started to get interested in making sounds. (more…)

Remembering Alan Splet

Posted by on May 15, 2014 | 4 comments

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One of the main reasons to start this site back in 2008 and also one of the things that keeps me motivated to do this is the impact that some people had in my life; curiously, people who I haven’t met in person, but I’ve deeply met with my ears.

I’m talking about those sound designers who created initial routes for all of us and started to develop a truly amazing way of working with sound, by establishing the essence of this art, not just from a technical perspective but an emotional, narrative and even spiritual one. I’m so glad to make this post about about one of those sound genius, a person that I know many of us deeply admire, Alan Splet.

He had the main faculties any sound designer needs to have, as described by Splet’s widow Ann Kroeber: “attention to detail, nuance, perseverance, ability to vastly influence the mood of a scene by the choice and placement of sounds”.  (more…)

In Search of a DIY Surround Panner

Posted by on May 15, 2014 | 10 comments

Photo by: Lu Chiganer

Photo by: Lu Chiganer

Last month my friend Marc Mailand was showing me around his home studio (which is super sweet). We were discussing his surround setup and mentioned needing a surround panner and how expensive they are. I noticed the PS3 controller sitting on his desk and wondered out loud: “There has got to be some sort of DIY solution using a game joystick as a surround panner”.  So when it came time to think up an article for this months topic of “Surround” I thought it would be eezy peezy to round up all of the DIY surround panners out there, only to find that it is a mythical beast! (more…)

Big Noise Go Boom: Bass Management and Your Subwoofer

Posted by on May 13, 2014 | 0 comments

 

That's a lot of bass

That’s a lot of bass

Let’s talk about surround sound systems for a quick second, shall we?

A modern surround sound system, in its simplest form, consists of six channels; Left, Center, Right, Left Surround, Right Surround, and the Low Frequency Effect channel. The first five channels are all fairly self-explanatory, denoting the location of the speaker itself and the channel’s location in the sound field. That last one, the LFE, is a little bit more complicated.  (more…)

DSDG – Noah With Craig Henighan and Coll Anderson

Posted by on May 11, 2014 | 0 comments

We’ll be starting our web chat with Craig and Coll in just a few minutes! Head over to our Google+ page if you want to ask questions when we get to the Q&A.

We had a great conversation, and the recording is now available, and remember that this and all of our other previous Designing Sound Discussion Group presentations are archived here.

Reflections in Your Control Room

Posted by on May 9, 2014 | 2 comments

Guest Contribution by Dennis Foley

The reflections in your control room represents the sound of your room. What sound do you ideally want from your control room? Do you want all the direct sound or straight line sound from your speakers? Do you want to include the sound of the reflections from the room in your mix? If so, how much of the room sound do you want?

Room sound is reflections. Reflections from your room walls, floor, ceiling, and rear wall are all part of the sound of the room. It is present in all rooms and must be managed correctly, if you are to hear all the sounds in your mix. Lets identify the problematic room boundary surfaces that produce these reflections.

(more…)