misc 3D Audio / Sound for Film?

whymonarae

Member
Hey guys! 🤓

I'm working on a feature with a blind lead protagonist. I want to put as much EMPHASIS on sound that a low budget will allow. I came across a youtube video with 3D audio music...but couldn't find anything regarding this kind of approach for film. Are there any films out there that use 3D sound? Is it expensive?
 

BazTheHat

Member
My understanding is that 3D audio really depends on how it is being viewed.

1. VR set - this is more like game design, with audio placed in a 3d environment so that viewers with a vr headset can hear a solid position of sound as they turn their head. You would probably need to have a proper 3d video made as well so that the visual can turn with the head movements too.

2. Surround or Dolby Atmos - mainly used in cinemas but more and more people are getting surround and even atmos speakers at home.

3. Binaural playback - this uses two speakers to simulate sound as heard from your two ears. Works great on headphones, is possible with two speakers but only if you're in the sweet spot.

Any and all of these options requires specialist skills and equipment, so I'm guessing expensive might well be the word to use. Most importantly, they really depend on where you're expecting the audience to view it. If you're wanting a large audience then surround or atmos would be your best bet. If it's more online then perhaps the binaural would work better.

Hope that helps. :)
 
Anything requiring specialist playback systems (Surround, Atmos, Binaural, etc.) will require specific recording techniques and/or special mixing & playback equipment. (Yes, I know, all of you experienced audio types will say that it's just the placement of the sounds into the expanded sound space, but we are automatically thinking about the mix before we begin; neophytes don't think this way yet.) Unless your project is that one-in-a-billion quality plus lots-of-luck project, the odds are your film will be shown at mid and low level festivals with mediocre sound systems and, subsequently, on laptops, smart phones and ear buds, so the effect of high end "3D" audio will be lost.

Your blind protagonist has only hearing (at least in your project; in reality blind folks also rely on touch, taste and smell) so your project will require a highly "stylized" approach to the sound. This will occur mostly in the mixing state of the project, although great attention will need to be made to every other aspect of the production and post production audio. When you get to your protagonists POV the audio could/should become extremely defined. This MUST be supported by the visuals, at least in the initial part of the film, so that the audience understands the "sonic language" of the project - the blind protagonists aural perspective versus that of the other characters. There are many ways of accomplishing this, and you should probably use them all. As an example… When a large object, lets say a bowling ball, is dropped into deep water, you can hear the ball "slap" the water, the hollow "bloop" of the hole the ball makes, the "clap" as the water collapses back into the hole, the "rush" of the water climbing in to the air and finally the individual drops of water raining back into the body of water. This all happens in about 1.5 seconds Your blind protagonist will hear this amount of exaggerated detail of a water drop into a filled sink taking less than half a second. Most people just hear the heel/toe of a footstep, your blind protagonist will hear the entire "roll" of the footstep and every grain of sand being crushed/moved as well as the "swish" of clothing, breathing, etc.

Your protagonist will be extremely sensitive to every sonic detail of his/her world So, in my opinion, you will need to establish this POV both sonically and visually at the outset of the film to firmly embed the difference in the ears & eyes of the audience. You may want to check out "Daredevil" (2003); some good ideas there. There is also the TV series "Longstreet" (1971-1972) about a blind insurance investigator. He relied heavily on his guide dog, but a few interesting ideas there as well. (Just for fun, a fair number of 70s TV notables guest starred, including Bruce Lee.) You may also find this interesting; it's about a blind man who uses echolocation:


As a final suggestion you should spend a day blind; I did this twice and it is a fascinating journey.

Yes, I am available for consult and/or audio post and relatively affordable.

Good luck.
 
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Another goodie that I just remembered is "If You Could See What I Hear" (1982). My favorite scene was of blind Tom Sullivan driving the car with his friends. They put tin cans and other noisy objects on the bumpers, etc. so Tom could hear where he's going, and they would tell him about stops and turns. When they get pulled over by the cops for weaving all over the road they are asked "If he's blind, why the hell is he driving?" "Well, he's the only one who's sober!"

Other blind protagonist films I've enjoyed:

Pride Of The Marines (1945)
Scent Of A Woman (1992)
Butterflies Are Free (1972)
The Miracle Worker (1962)
23 Paces To Baker Street (1956)
Ray (2004)
 

whymonarae

Member
I LOVED Lonsgstreet - thanks for the good memory :)

The movie with a blind protagonist that I remember from my childhood is "Wait Until Dark" with Audrey Hepburn.
My film is actually loosely inspired by films such as "Wait Until Dark", "See No Evil" with Mia Farrow, and "Misery." :)
 

whymonarae

Member
Anything requiring specialist playback systems (Surround, Atmos, Binaural, etc.) will require specific recording techniques and/or special mixing & playback equipment. (Yes, I know, all of you experienced audio types will say that it's just the placement of the sounds into the expanded sound space, but we are automatically thinking about the mix before we begin; neophytes don't think this way yet.) Unless your project is that one-in-a-billion quality plus lots-of-luck project, the odds are your film will be shown at mid and low level festivals with mediocre sound systems and, subsequently, on laptops, smart phones and ear buds, so the effect of high end "3D" audio will be lost.

Your blind protagonist has only hearing (at least in your project; in reality blind folks also rely on touch, taste and smell) so your project will require a highly "stylized" approach to the sound. This will occur mostly in the mixing state of the project, although great attention will need to be made to every other aspect of the production and post production audio. When you get to your protagonists POV the audio could/should become extremely defined. This MUST be supported by the visuals, at least in the initial part of the film, so that the audience understands the "sonic language" of the project - the blind protagonists aural perspective versus that of the other characters. There are many ways of accomplishing this, and you should probably use them all. As an example… When a large object, lets say a bowling ball, is dropped into deep water, you can hear the ball "slap" the water, the hollow "bloop" of the hole the ball makes, the "clap" as the water collapses back into the hole, the "rush" of the water climbing in to the air and finally the individual drops of water raining back into the body of water. This all happens in about 1.5 seconds Your blind protagonist will hear this amount of exaggerated detail of a water drop into a filled sink taking less than half a second. Most people just hear the heel/toe of a footstep, your blind protagonist will hear the entire "roll" of the footstep and every grain of sand being crushed/moved as well as the "swish" of clothing, breathing, etc.

Your protagonist will be extremely sensitive to every sonic detail of his/her world So, in my opinion, you will need to establish this POV both sonically and visually at the outset of the film to firmly embed the difference in the ears & eyes of the audience. You may want to check out "Daredevil" (2003); some good ideas there. There is also the TV series "Longstreet" (1971-1972) about a blind insurance investigator. He relied heavily on his guide dog, but a few interesting ideas there as well. (Just for fun, a fair number of 70s TV notables guest starred, including Bruce Lee.) You may also find this interesting; it's about a blind man who uses echolocation:


As a final suggestion you should spend a day blind; I did this twice and it is a fascinating journey.

Yes, I am available for consult and/or audio post and relatively affordable.

Good luck.
I must look you up...your post is very much aligned with part of my approach to the sound of WMR?
 

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