Open City Documentary Festival

7 – 13 September 2022
in London

An introduction to Spatial Audio (In-person)

Price £300 / £270 Students / £250 UCL Students

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Location Open City Docs, 4th Floor, 40 Bernard Street, London, WC1N 1LE, Duration Two Saturdays, 11:00am to 4:00pm, Dates  Nov 5 — Nov 19

This practical course covers all aspects of 360 spatial audio recording, mixing, and exporting for delivery on multiple platforms such as YouTube, Facebook, and Virtual Reality Head Mounted Displays, as well as audio-only immersive podcasts or audio dramas and channel-based immersive speaker arrays.

Learn how to create soundtracks for 360 degree videos and some of the basics of object-based audio production for VR and ‘Dolby Atmos’.

In this weekend course students will primarily learn how to create soundtracks for 360 degree videos. The fundamental spatial audio techniques, the human spatial hearing systema and acoustic theory can also be applied to other immersive media formats.

Students will learn:

  • Practical techniques to capture spatial audio, using industry-standard tools including ambisonic and lapel radio microphones, Zoom field recorders, the Noisemakers, IEM, Sparta, Blue Ripple, Sparta suites of audio tools and the Reaper digital audio workstation
  • How to record, edit and mix ambisonic spatial audio before combining the finished mix with a 360 video, ready for delivery.
  • The course involves lectures and practical exercises, with an emphasis on helping you create a finished project as quickly as possible.

Sessions are held on two Saturdays (5th and 19th November) in four sessions, from 11am to 1pm then a break for lunch followed by a second session from 2pm to 4pm. Practice content including online videos, audio and video files will be supplied to consolidate what you have learned in the first sessions.

Equipment will be provided and students are also encouragd to install software on their own computers to practise during the week.

Session 1

Saturday morning

Fundamental concepts of spatial audio

  • Basics of human hearing and psychoacoustics
  • Key differences between spatial and traditional audio
  • Ambisonics, object based and channel-based and other spatial formats
  • Binaural recording vs head-tracked binaural decoding.

Recording audio for 360 video

  • On-set, wild-track, and spatial sound design techniques
  • A-Format, lapel radio microphones and using field recorders
  • Spatial foley recording
  • Use of voiceover and headlocked stereo (diegetic versus non-diegetic)

Any specific areas can be studied and discussed in greater detail if there is a concensus in the group.

Session 2

Saturday afternoon

Editing and manipulating 360 audio

  • Introduction to editing spatial audio with Reaper (digital audio workstation)
  • Introduction to the Facebook Audio 360 Spatial Workstation suite of plugins and tools
  • 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

Test reaper sessions, audio files and video files will be provided plus access to an exclusive set of YouTube tutorials on the use spatial recording, editing and mixing tools. You can also practice these techniques during the week on your own computer.

Session 3

Saturday morning

Exporting, encoding, and muxing for delivery

  • Exporting master audio mixes from Reaper. Ambisonic orders and standards.
  • Using ambisonics in a Dolby Atmos workflow.
  • rendering binaural immersive mixes.
  • Target output levels, optimisation, and good monitoring practices
  • Encoding and muxing (putting together audio and video) for multiple delivery platforms including Youtube, Facebook, and Virtual Reality Head Mounted Displays
  • Uploading, sideloading and checking before final delivery
  • Future developments and ways to stay current

Session 4

  • The final session on the second Saturday afternoon will be for a Q&A discussion to cover anything you need to go over or if you need greater depth or detail on any aspect of spatial audio production.

Who this course is for:

To attend this course you should have some prior filmmaking knowledge or previous audio engineering experience.

Learning outcomes:
By the end of the course students should:

  • Be familiar with the basic concepts and advantages of spatial audio and commonly used terminology
  • Understand the different approaches required for producing audio for 360 video
  • Have an understanding of spatial audio recording equipment and audio workflow
  • be able to use Reaper to edit audio, automate an audio source to follow an object within a 360 video, and implement room simulation
  • Be able to use a range of spatial audio plugins and to edit audio to fit with a 360 video.
  • Know how to load a completed video onto Virtual Reality Head Mounted Displays, Facebook and Youtube, and understand the variations between the platforms and how to ensure the finished product performs optimally on each platform.

If you’d like to be notified about the next dates for this course, please contact shortcourses@opencitylondon.com or call +442031084774.

Tutors

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Jack Reynolds

Course Leader

Senior lecturer in spatial audio and sonic experience at UCL anthropology.

BBC R&D immersive and Interactive content producer/engineer.

Director and designer for Reynolds Microphones Ltd

Director of Soho VR audio Ltd

Musician. Acoustician. Producer.

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