Next Level Filmmaking in 3D Audio

Today’s post is guest written by one of our Hooke Audio Team Members Joe Guarini of Sozo 3D Sound Design

Everyone loves movies.  When inviting someone over to watch a movie, the reply is never, “Ew!  I hate those things!  Count me out, freak.”  It’s because we all love how films can inspire, thrill, and excite us. They are a universal love.

I’m a bit of movie junkie – I’ve rated almost 3,000 movies on Netflix already.  So, I’ve learned a thing or two about what makes a “holy balls, you have to see this” type of movie.

Filmmakers have always been on the lookout for new, creative ways to tell their stories and create a meaningful connection with their audience.

It turns out that modern filmmakers are wising up and using 3D audio in their creations. They’re noticing how it can mainline their story right into people’s emotions.  It is a fantastic natural high – and people are responding with rave reviews.

So, who’s been taking advantage of this, and pumping our ears with the good stuff?

About a year ago, the 3D Audio film called “The Turning Forest” premiered at the Tribeca Film Festival.  The BBC produced this VR film.  What made it stand apart is that it was developed with sound being the central focal point – not video.

They understood that sound conveys reality even more than sight does.  No one has ever shown me a video of a roller coaster which made me scream in fear.  But if I play a high-quality sound clip of a car horn, 100 eyes are going to dart around expecting a vehicular incoming.

In 2012, Zachary Beckler began a kickstarter campaign to make a feature length horror binaural film, which is now called “Interior.”  During filming, he used pairs of binaural microphones.

This was a pioneering effort in showing how the little guy can use 3D sound, and should have a place at the Hollywood table.  To his credit, Zachary earned several national film festival awards for the film.

A documentary film called “Blind Faith” uses binaural recording to help the audience understand the perspective of its main character, David, who happens to be blind.  The film by Isabel Hill was an official selection at the NYC Independent Film Festival in 2016.

Today, more and more films are being produced that incorporate 3D sound as more than just a sideshow spectacle.  Mike Reed is making a feature length film with a working title of “P.A.I.N.” which will focus on ASMR.

Filmmaker begins production of the ASMR-inspired movie, “P.A.I.N.”

This is actually pretty interesting!  Why?  Well, all ASMR videos today are essentially the same.  They feature a single person putting various soft sounds extremely close to binaural microphones to illicit chills and tingles in the listener.  Mike has found news ways to use these common tools at our fingertips!

Of the films that require VR goggles, Oculus Story Studio is paving the way.  In May of last year, Thomas Bible from the Oculus team wrote a great blog article about how they learned that VR needs binaural sound in order to convey reality.

Their recent film, “Dear Angelica,” was an official selection at the Sundance Film Festival this year.  Although the visuals are the real meat and potatoes of the experience, binaural sound played a key role in keeping the audience engaged and rooted in the story.

This is all just a taste of what’s out there.  My mind reels at the realization that this is merely just what I know about.  Imagine all the creative minds out there at this moment, creating new ways to tell their stories with 3D audio.

Even Hugh Jackman’s new movie “Logan” incorporated binaural audio.  The sound mixers and recorders using binaural recording in order to truly translate the desolate wasteland where the movie takes place.  This is not a fad, folks…

I believe we’re on the cusp of something very big.  With the arrival of the Hooke Verse upon us, I feel like a million lightbulbs are about to turn on!  Show us how it’s done, guys!

Binaural sound is the next big thing, and it’s surprising that not a lot of people have tapped into it yet–or even know about it. But as people start experimenting and start seeing what it can do, how it can transport people to the middle of the action, I’m sure that it’s going to be something that more people want to get a hold of. But for now, we can be happy that the word about it is spreading and that people are starting to play with it.

Just think about what you can create with binaural sound. As sight and sound go hand in hand, think of just how much better your creations can be if they transport the audience directly into the space? That’s exactly what binaural audio can do for you.

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