Open City Documentary Festival

360° Spatial Audio Production: Advanced Techniques

Dates
May 13 — Jun 17
 
Duration
5 evenings, over 5 weeks
 
Price
£300 / £275 students / £250 UCL students
 
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For more experienced practitioners, explore advanced techniques and principles for creating high-quality soundtracks for 360° videos.

In this practical evening course you’ll explore advanced techniques and principles for creating high-quality soundtracks for 360° videos.

You’ll learn practical techniques for capturing spatial audio, using industry standard tools including Sennheiser microphones, Zoom field recorders, the Facebook Audio 360 suite of tools and Reaper digital audio workstation.

You’ll learn how to perfect your techniques for recording, editing and mixing ambisonic spatial audio, and combining the finished mix with a 360° video, ready for delivery.

By the end of the course, you should have the knowledge and practical and creative skills to make high quality spatial audio productions, add them to video and deliver onto multiple platforms.

The course involves lectures and practical exercises. There’s an emphasis on helping you to get excellent results quickly and highlighting common problems you may encounter.

Sessions are held on Monday evenings, from 7 to 9pm, over five weeks. There will be a break on Monday 27th May for the bank holiday.

Course content

Each session will cover the following:

Session 1 – Advanced concepts in spatial audio

  • Fundamentals of spatial audio
  • Advanced human hearing, head-related transfer functions (HRTFs), and psychoacoustics
  • Key differences between spatial and traditional audio
  • Ambisonics and other spatial formats
  • Learning how to identify ‘good’ and ‘bad’ spatial audio
  • Critical listening exercises and understanding what the medium can offer
  • Using 360 audio as a creative storytelling tool for increased immersion

Session 2 – Advanced recording techniques for 360° video

  • Recording audio for 36o° video
  • Advanced onset, wild-track, and spatial sound design techniques (Sound Particles)
  • Advanced A-Format, and lapel radio microphones and using field recorders
  • Spatial foley recording
  • Use of voiceover and headlocked stereo (diegetic vs non-diegetic)

Session 3 – Advanced editing and manipulation of 360 audio

  • Advanced editing and automation of spatial audio with Reaper (digital audio workstation)
  • Advanced use of the Facebook Audio 360 workstation suite of plugins and tools
  • Other freeware 360 audio tools including AmbiX, Blue Ripple and IET
  • 360 ambisonic reverberation and room simulation

Session 4 – Advanced spatial mixing, immersive sound design, music and headlocked stereo

  • Spatial mixing and automation in Reaper
  • Immersive sound design techniques and resources
  • Use of reverberation for increased realism
  • Basics of binaural headphone delivery and speaker arrays

Session 5 – Exporting, encoding, and muxing for delivery

  • Exporting master audio mixes from reaper
  • Target output levels, optimisation, and good monitoring practices
  • Encoding and muxing for multiple delivery platforms including Youtube, Facebook, and Samsung Gear VR
  • Uploading, sideloading and checking before final delivery
  • Future developments and ways to stay current

Who this course is for

To attend this course you should have the following experience:

– Understanding of complex multi-channel workflows
– Basic understanding and usage of Reaper DAW
– Basic understanding of Spatial Audio technologies, such as Ambisonics, VBAP, WFS
– Worked on at least one 360/VR project

This course follows on from the course 360 Spatial Audio Production: an Introduction, going over the same material but in greater depth.

If you are unsure about your experience level, please get in touch with ripley@opencitylondon.com with your queries.

Learning outcomes

By the end of the course you should:

  • be familiar with in-depth concepts and advantages of spatial audio as well as commonly used terminology
  • understand the different approaches required for producing audio for 360° video
  • be familiar with the layout and toolsets available in Reaper and the Facebook 360 workstation, automating audio objects to follow moving actors within a 360° video
  • be able to use the more detailed controls within Reaper to automate an audio source to follow an object within a 360° video
  • understand the signal flows required for ingesting, editing, spatialising and automating the movement of audio sources in the 360° soundfield
  • understand the variations between the platforms and how to ensure the finished product performs optimally on each platform

Cost and concessions

This course fees are:

  • £300 – full price (external applicants who aren’t students)
  • £275 – external students
  • £250 – UCL students

An introductory course is also available, with a discount available on bookings for both. Please contact ripley@opencitylondon for more details. 

Tutors

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Axel Drioli

Course Tutor

Axel is a freelance immersive audio designer and producer. He worked on international 360 and VR projects, travelling all around Europe and Africa, and also collaborating with US production companies.
One of the 360 films he provided full immersive audio design and production for, 'The Journey 360' and funded by UNICEF, won the 2018 Cine Golden Eagle Award for 'Best VR documentary short' and it has been screened at SXSW, Seattle Film Festival, Sheffield Doc Fest, United Nations HQ (Bonn, Germany), Downing Street and Future of Storytelling Summit (NY, USA). Also, he was the '3D Audio Technical Coordinator' of SOMNAI, one of the first and biggest multisensory large-scale immersive theatre events.

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Jack Reynolds

Course Tutor

Jack is a specialist 360 audio engineer at SohoVR, CEO of Reynolds Microphones, musician and sound designer. He's president of the UCL Audio Engineering Society.