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Dustin Pero

Binaural recording

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Hey everyone, new to this forum, and what a great group of people and resources!

Anyways, I was curious, with the new trend of films being shot in 3D (love it or hate it) to give a more "immersive" experience, would it practicle (or even possible) to record binaural production sound? Would this method even work for sound for picture? We already have great surround sound mixing, but would binaural take it to the next level, if it were feasable? With 3D the audience has to wear glasses, and with binaural audio you'd have to wear headphones as well, which could just ruin the whole experience.

Crazy idea, wondering what you guys think.

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Hi, Dr, and welcome..

" binaural production sound? "

binaural recording has been discussed here...

as the site search is wonky, try a Google search of this site (include jwsoundgroup.net as one of your search terms, isially first.)

I had a wanna be ask me to do a movie using a dummy head binaural rig, to get "exactly what the camera hears while shooting what it sees ... needless to say that was where the discussions ended; movie sound is about the magic that is done in post to alter the sound to enhance the story-telling.

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Other than using binaural beats for brain entrainment, would would the

binaural method bring to the experience?

Perhaps a more immersive sound? I'm not thinking binaural beats, but more like the "virtual barber".

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Thanks Senator, I searched and nothing came up, but like you said it can be weird at times.

Yeah, totally get the magic of post. It just seems like a technique that hasn't been used much, and what extent it could play in sound for picture. It could be totally distacting, or enhance certain aspects.

I had a wanna be ask me to do a movie using a dummy head binaural rig, to get "exactly what the camera hears while shooting what it sees ... needless to say that was where the discussions ended

That's hilarous, all I can picture is the dummy head on a long pole tracking talent...silently judging them. I'd still like to hear how it sounds against picture, just to satisfy my curiosty.

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" and what extent it could play in sound for picture... all I can picture is the dummy head on a long pole tracking talent. . "

the folks I spoke with (it really stuck with me!) wanted to place the DH on the (Free Panavision, film) camera to record it just as it sounded at the camera... that's not how we do productikon sound; these DH (etc.) binaural rigs are for different things (like classical music).

The issue with using it for movie production sound is placement.

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the folks I spoke with (it really stuck with me!) wanted to place the DH on the (Free Panavision, film) camera to record it just as it sounded at the camera...

Oh wow, ON the camera?! All you'd hear would be camera noise, and if you're lucky some really distant, unusable dialog.

Practically there really isn't any good way to place a DH to get good sound in a production enviroment. I mean it would sound like the dialog is below if it were boomed.

Getting all Mad Scientist...I wonder what it would sound like if a scene was ADR with a DH. It might lose it effect if it's not the same space and movements. And if foley was done that way as well.

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" if you're lucky some really distant, unusable dialog. "

thus, I was no longer interested in their "experiment"

" .I wonder what it would sound like if a scene was ADR with a DH. It might lose it effect if it's not the same space and movements. And if foley was done that way as well. "

feel free to experiment in post...

(BTW, it is Foley, as it is a person's name)

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I've been thinking about this for a long time. Dialogue would be recorded and mixed as it has always been since the picture remains on the frontal plain even with 3D. It doesn't project next to you, for instance. Remember, we don't ping pong dialogue with stereo nor put it in the back speakers with surround. However. FX, Foley and AMBIENCE could all be recorded with DH to great effect.

Really, it's the presentation that prevents this from being implemented. The audience would need to wear headphones, but I say if they will wear the goggles for 3D and already do the earbud thing everyday, I think they'd go for it. Speakers would still reinforce and give impact to the big picture, but at an over-all lower level.

This record/playback method would be even more effective with video games.

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I experienced a binaural sound performance piece at Canada's National Gallery a few years back (the artist might have been Janet Cardiff). the piece took place in a miniature theatre set. there were 3 rows of real seats on the "balcony" with a miniature set of the downstairs seats in front of the viewers like in an old-school movie theatre (this is a bit hard to describe, you had to be there), participants wore headphones and the performance actually involved binaural recordings of your fellow audience members talking before the show, eating popcorn etc. of course the noisy patrons weren't really there, just on the soundtrack coming through the phones. an interesting experience. you could swear there was really someone beside you opening up a cellophane bag of nuts. disconcerting and fun.

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Here's an interesting project one of my old lecturers created using binaural recordings: http://www.earphonebully.org/

Personally I don't think it would work very well for film unless the whole things was a POV type affair. Even then you would need properly recorded production sound to mix in with the binaural recordings, especially for distant dialogue. I cant see a feature film employing this technique but it could work well for an audio visual art installation.

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I remember a soccer ad a while back that was binaural, pretty cool.

I experimented with some binaural recording last spring. A company that I do contract sound work for has a simple binaural recorder. It's pretty much headphones. Their audiologist wanted me to "play" with it for a day and do some tests. So I did what I would do when it came to doing anything fun, I went mountain biking. I took a 3d gopro rig with me and did some pov riding and then some off bike shots/sounds. Playing back in the recorder to the headphones sounded really awesome and I was looking forward to syncing the audio with the 3d gopro stuff. But then the dude went and formatted the damn drive before converting the audio files for me... I just need to go back and redo it again but keep forgetting to call him.

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A feature film called "Bad Boy Bubby" was made in Australia in 1993. A pair of wireless mics were hidden in his hair to record his perspective. Other sound was used as well. A very good film. There's probably a trailer on youtube.

Cheers, Lloyd

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"The Mist" worked very well as a radio play back in the 1980s -- several LA stations broadcast it during that time, and it sounded great in headphones. I much prefer the audio version to the feature made decades later!

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For 3D pictures, I'd say sound goes as usual – dialogue stays mono, everything else could be stereo, surround, Auro 3D, binaural... binaural being a simple but very effective method (the best) – if the listener wears headphones. A simple method for recording binaural fx or atmos is using something like Soundman's OKM binaural mics which are worn by the recordist like in-ear headphones.

Technically, the dogma of monaural dialogue could only be changed (which would mean a revolution for production sound) if each member of a given audience gets their own sound and picture system that is independent of placement, meaning everybody sees and hears exactly the same. This is the technical side. Then there's the dramaturgic side of things which is entirely another story...

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I've also been interested in this topic. With the emergence of 3D it would add an enhanced perception of the distance and depth that correlates more with the image than it did for 2D. One obvious problem though is the fact that if you wear headphones and turn your head, the sound image and perspective doesn't adapt, and the illusion that the sound comes from the people and objects on the screen is broken. There are sensory systems that can read head movement and adjust the perspective accordingly, but how would they be implemented?

I think it's possible to make binaural recordings that work for film - the biggest problems are the changes in equipment, workflow, and viewer conditions that follows.

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Well, there is the Beyerdynamic Headzone system which tracks the head's movements and move the sound accordingly, thus the sound will always come from the direction of the screen. These are surround headphones, though, not binaural.

I for one would not want to wear headphones at the cinema. The sound would never be as big as that from the large speakers and it wouldn't be felt by the entire body and subsequently it'd be boring. And most definitely i would not want a personal viewing device at the cinemas, as suggested by Christian. I've already got one at home. At home binaural audio is a different thing, here it might work. For the cinema, something like Auro3D et al should be much more exciting.

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We already have 3D audio, it's called Surround Sound...that and a couple new formats of surround have been added and become more popular with 3D films, including 7.1 and Dolby Atmos.

There are many technical reasons Binaural mics aren't used on movie sets. First and foremost it has to do with the issue of noise. A mic that is too far from the dialog will probably not give you the results you want. Second, in a 5.1 set up, the center channel is typically devoted to dialog - so a binaural recording won't really fit into that format.

Trying to get the spatial panning correct is not easy - and will more or less be impossible if multiple cameras are involved.

Using a binaural mic for sound effects or ambiences seems fine to me. I've got a binaural mic that I use from time to time (for post work) - but I can't say the experience of listening to the audio really translates beyond headphones as much as one would hope. What I do appreciate about the mic(s) I've got is that they sound really nice and are somewhat discrete from people milling about.

Many rerecording mixers actually prefer foley and spot fx to be mono to begin with - that way panning is accomplished much more easily, and any added reverb is also more easily controlled.

All that said, rules are meant to be broken - so if you have the will to try something new on top of delivering what is otherwise expected, go for it! Just know that it might be thrown out for technical reasons.

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We already have 3D audio, it's called Surround Sound...

That's not quite true. 3D audio may be surround sound, but it can be anything from Mono up to X.1 or whatever. It does not specifically refer to surround sound.

I was however talking about Auro 3D (inspired by Christian's comment), which is a surround sound format (usually 11.1) which includes height information for each speaker plus one more speaker from the ceiling. This - to me - is more exciting than exploring techniques which would require headphones to function properly. But as always, this is a matter of personal preference. And you are right, Greg, that rules are meant to be broken and things should be tried out.

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Constantin, I would agree with you. wearing a set of phones at the same time as hearing audio from some speakers seems like it could be interesting, but there are too many variables - mainly, where you are sitting in the theater. That and, I wouldn't want to wear a set of phones that someone else just used...

Auro 3D or Dolby Atmos seems like a much better way to go. The only problem with some of these new technologies is they have to account for theaters that still have a basic 5.1 set up. Getting all the theaters to update their systems will take time and likely money that many theater managers won't want to spend.

I understand the technology of 3D audio over a 2 speaker or headphones set up, but it still doesn't really fit into the theatrical experience.

In the end, just getting a solid mono mix with great iso tracks is enough work on set as it is...

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It's bad enough someone convinced Gus Van Sant to do all his dialog and mix in M/S. which is completely useless, and adds nothing but headaches.

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" However. FX, Foley and AMBIENCE could all be recorded with DH to great effect. "

DH is not going to do much for surround...

" Technically, the dogma of monaural dialogue could only be changed (which would mean a revolution for production sound) "

why ? the stereo would still typically be done in post, after the picture is edited.

Edited by studiomprd

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