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AMBEO for Cinematic Virtual Reality

Great Cinematic VR experiences require fully immersive sound

For a truly immersive experience, cinematic virtual reality needs spatial sound. Be it immersive content for VR goggles, your favorite web browser, YouTube 360 or Facebook 360 - spatial audio will make or break the VR illusion. Our tools can deliver an enveloping soundtrack to your creative ideas.

Workflow

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Blueprint

Capturing

Just as with any video production, the key to success is correct recording. While traditional microphones still play an important role in virtual reality productions, they need to be augmented with spatial microphones that capture the full 360° ambience.

This is what the Sennheiser AMBEO VR Mic does. A single compact microphone operating on the Ambisonics principle, it allows you to capture complete spherical audio from a single point in space. Basically, you capture exactly what a listener would hear if he or she was in that position.

It sounds easy but some care should be taken to record the Ambisonics signal correctly with regard to position and level, as certain errors cannot be corrected during post-production. A field recorder that has an AMBEO VR Mic mode will help to make this task far easier.

On location, the VR Mic will usually be combined with conventional microphones such as wireless lavalier mics. This allows for increased flexibility during post-production, giving the mixing engineer greater control over the final experience.

Capturing

Mixing

DAW and tool chain
Mixing for cinematic virtual reality can be done in most standard DAWs as long as they support multichannel tracks, i.e. a minimum of four channels in a track. To support you in the mixing process, you should select an Ambisonics tool chain because most deliveries for cinematic virtual reality – including the AMBEO VR Mic recordings – are in Ambisonics. There are many tools to choose from, such as DearReality’s dearVR tool chain or the free Facebook Spatial Audio Workstation.

Recommended mixing paradigm
Use the recorded Ambisonics signal as the base ambience, then add signals from conventional microphones such as wireless mics and foley sound to emphasize and build your final mix.

Format conversion
As all Ambisonics tool chains operate in B-format, you first need to convert the AMBEO VR Mic signal to B-format using our free A-B format converter.

Spatialization
Additional sound sources captured by conventional microphones need to be spatialized so that they come from the correct point in space and match the video image and the ambience. This step is accomplished by your selected Ambisonics tool chain.

Monitoring
During mixing, it is important to monitor your Ambisonics mix. However, before you are able to listen to it, Ambisonics must be decoded. As cinematic virtual reality will in most cases be delivered over headphones, use a binaural renderer. Best practice is to monitor via the binaural renderer that is used on the platform or device that you will deliver your content to.

A note on working with Ambisonics
Ambisonics is the description of a sound field. Therefore, you should never work on any of the constituent tracks of an Ambisonics signal on its own. Always use Ambisonics mixing and editing tools if you want to modify an Ambisonics signal. When using a standard multichannel mixing tool, you must make sure that changes are applied equally to all four channels – otherwise you risk altering the spatial image of the Ambisonics signal.

Delivery

Ambisonics B-format is the audio format of choice for cinematic virtual reality. All major cinematic VR distribution platforms support Ambisonics B-format, including YouTube and Facebook.

To ensure that a file is viewed properly as a 360 video with 3D immersive audio, every platform requires its own metadata and has its own file format specifications. Please check the documentation of your targeted service.

If you plan to distribute to your own app or custom platform, make sure to include support for Ambisonics decoding.

Get in touch

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