Sound is probably the second most important part of creating a compelling immersive VR experience, but it’s also usually put off to the end as an afterthought. The visual system is so dominant that this is not a huge surprise, but I thought that it’d be worth focusing on trends of immersive sound on the next four episodes of the Voices of VR podcast starting with Dolby Atmos’ solution for creating spatialized sound with audio objects.
Just as Unity and Unreal are able to create 3D sound environments for interactive games, Dolby Atmos has an ProTools plug-in with a 3D interface that allows you to mix 3D audio objects for narrative, 360-video content. I had a chance to catch up with Dolby Lab’s Director of Virtual and Augmented Reality Joel Susal to talk about their audio spatialization solution, how it’s being used in both Hollywood Blockbusters and cutting-edge narrative VR experiences, and why it’s important to have granular control over individual audio object files rather than just relying upon 4-channel, ambisonic sound fields for 360 video productions.
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I’ve explored audio in VR in previous episodes including in episode #222 with Jaunt’s Arthur van Hoff, episode #80 with AJ Campbell, and in episode #232 with Two Big Ears & their Spatial Workstation, which has since been bought by Facebook.
Here’s a trailer with a demo of a Dolby Atmos sound mix
Here’s the highlights from the Sundance panel on Immersive Sound for Virtual Reality
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