Spatial Audio.Surrounded by Sound.
Spatial Audio is the next big step towards full immersion in the VR Video space. Spatial means that the viewers can locate the exact location of sounds within a 360°/180° video. This adds to the realism of the whole experience in a big way!
What is Ambisonics?
Ambisonics is a different way of encoding sound in an orientation independent manner. This is achieved by transforming sound into a different basis function and storing the parameters of said basis functions in one channel resp. The higher-order the function is the more precision can be represented in the signal but the more channels will be used. First order ambisonics are currently a good fit since they produce 4 channels of parameters for the basis and thus fit inside a single 5.1 stream. Second order ambisonics would require 8 channels and thus could fit in 7.1. As soon as the standards improve on storing ambisonics data, Delight VR will strive to support even higher order streams.
To capture ambisonics data you will need a microphone or microphones that are able to capture sound from multiple directions at once. It would also be able to create such a microphone array yourself by using multiple small microphone capsules. As of writing there are the following commercial microphones available that can be used to capture ambisonics:
• Zoom H2n (with firmware version 2.00 or newer)
• TSL Products SoundField SPS200
• Audeze Tetrahedral (VR) Microphone
Even though these microphones are able to capture audio in terms of a single location, this kind of approach is inherently limited. Close-miking techniques can be used in addition to an ambisonics microphone and spatialized in post production.
For post production there are a number of software packages and tools. See the following links for more information:
• Facebook 360 Spatial Workstation
• Noise Makers Ambi Head and Ambi Pan
"Sound does not only help the story, but also the orientation. Spatial audio will be the norm in a couple of years."
Timor Kardum, omstudios
State of the art Ambisonics.
Delight VR now supports spatial audio through first-order Ambisonics in the ambiX format, the new go-to standard for spatial audio, endorsed by Google. This means maximum compatibility while maintaining minimum effort to get your next-level VR video content out the door!
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