The future is here! There is no doubt that immersive audio is gaining traction and is a key component of many games, VR experiences, and now streaming music too! Designed to move sound all around you, immersive audio transforms the way you experience sound. In this post, friend, mentor, and audio pro Ken Felton shares a project he developed and mixed in Pro Tools, specifically designed to compare and contrast the workflow and binaural encoding with Dolby Atmos, Facebook 360, and dearVR.
Ken Felton is an Audio Director and Sound Designer with decades of experience in multiple professional audio industries and a passion for story telling by creating immersive sonic soundscapes in interactive VR and game environments.
In order to complete this project I needed some kind of narrative “vehicle” to drive the sound design and dialog production that I created and mixed in the different binaural formats.
- Entering store,
- 1st portal- enter/exit
- Walk to next portal
- 2nd portal- enter/exit
- 1st person “shopper” (me)
- Pre-recorded “greeter” (friend)
- P.A. announcement (wife)
- Check-out attendant (son)
I recorded myself using my Sony M-10 and a microphone setup that I purchased many years ago- SonicStudios DSM mics. Unfortunately, SonicStudios is long out of business.
- Egg farm
- Ice Cream
1. FB360 (Two Big Ears) Facebook 360
- Thank goodness for the FB360 ProTools templates that get installed! The bussing/monitoring setup works as designed but I’m glad I didn’t have to create it from scratch.
- I couldn’t figure out how to link the L channel and R channel in some way so I could move a stereo sound effect around. I had to make separate passes on the L and R tracks. I searched the internet and tool documentation to find shortcuts and key commands that would make my workflow smoother but I never found any. I might have missed them.
- The height imaging was pretty good. Center image content never felt like it was truly in front of me. I perceived front center material to be just about on my forehead and no further forward.
2. Dolby Atmos
- Full disclosure- I’m most familiar with the Atmos toolset. However, I never had to set up the ProTools I/O like I did on my home system using the Audio Bridge. I dug myself out of a few bussing holes as I remixed the “Grocery Trip” in Atmos. All good in the end though.
- I enjoyed remixing the piece in Atmos. I think the Atmos binaural version sounds the best of the three. I like working with the ProTools panner and seeing my results in the Atmos Renderer.
- I was very excited to get the Dear Reality dearVR fully functional two week demo installed and working. The demo on the Dear Reality website is really amazing! The three instruments in the demo spatialize very convincingly.
- My experience with the dearVR tool was good, once I figured out that the plug-in really only deals with mono sources. Working with stereo content is really just dealing with dual-mono. There is a very good blog post that explains why this is, here- https://blog.dearvr.com/
overview/why-stereo- recordings-and-spatial-audio- dont-usually-mix
- Once I understood how dearVR works, I was able to rework my multi-channel effects returns to be multi-monos, and used the multi-channel panner to pan the source.
- The built in reverbs in the tool do sound very good.