Ian F. Hunt

Cinematographer and Filmmaker

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Future Cinema – Project Conclusion

Future Cinema

Mad Doctor Storyline

Please use headphones for best effect

Blackboot the Pirate Storyline

Please use headphones for best effect

For best results use headphones while watching the two videos above. I’ve added visuals which should be viewed full screen but for the full binaural audio effect I recommend the listener to listen to the audio only and with eyes shut.

Future Cinema – The Making Of – A Video Documentary

Future Cinema – The Synopsis

Our groups idea was to incorporate a Binaural Audio Recording element into a 5.1 Surround Sound Film Soundtrack effectively creating a 7.1 Surround Sound Soundtrack. The 5.1 surround sound would be delivered using a Surround Sound speaker system and the binaural soundtrack played back simultaneously through headphones or speakers built into a Cinema seats headrest.

Future Cinema – How did we do?

Fig 1.0 M-Audio 410

Fig 1.0 M-Audio 410

See previous entries  for more details on the groups research and development, final testing, however in summary after days of testing various positions and locations for microphones and recording techniques we developed a solution which allowed us to simultaneously record both the surround sound and binaural sound recordings.

With the sound recorded onto 6 tracks, stored on SD cards, we then edited them together using Logic Pro, an audio editing application. Each audio recording was assigned to a separate channel for example track 1 was mapped to front left, track 2 front right, track 3 rear left and track 4 rear right.  Finally track 5 was mapped to the headphones left channel and track 6 headphones right channel.

It should be noted that we have intentionally made no provision for a centre speaker channel and similarly no provision for the LFE (Low Frequency Effects) channel, that is the .1 in the 5.1 surround sound systems. This was due primarily to a lack of resources for it would have been relatively simple to setup a channel for each but there was no speaker system available for testing and we also felt it was unnecessary for the purposes of the design at this stage.

Using a M-Audio 410, 4 of the tracks were mapped to the speakers in the Edit Suite and the 2 tracks of the binaural audio these were mapped to headphone output socket.

M-Audio 410 specifications

2 x 8 24-bit/96kHz analog I/O; 192kHz stereo out
2 mic/line ins w/ preamps and phantom power
8 line outs to mixer or direct surround output
S/PDIF digital I/O w/ PCM, AC-3, and DTS support
1 x 1 MIDI I/O

As well as assigning each track to a channel we also adjusted individual track volumes to balance the sound levels from each of the channels, then added the effects, the ambient noise of the Hospital and the creaking of the ship.

Fig 2.0 Headphone Test Angle

Fig 2.0 Not Mickey Mouse but testing headphone positioning to optomise the 5.1 with the binaural effect

Using headphones held slightly away from the ear (or turned slightly sideways  see Fig 2.0) it was possible to hear both the 5.1 surround sound audio from the speakers and the binaural audio from the headphones.

Using headphones may not be the final solution for an installation in a Cinema but it was the optimal setup for  demonstrating the concept to a selected audience in order to obtain feedback (See the video below for the audience testing stages).

For the audience the effect of hearing both soundtracks made for a much more immersive experience, for not only was it possible to hear the surround sound but there was the added effect of having sound originating from a point very close to your ear via the headphones. Ideal for horror films, the protagonist whispering into your ear, the sound of a bullet passing close to your ear, or a whispered instruction that only you can hear.

Audience Testing – Screen Tests

Fig 3.0 Audio Levels Testing

Fig 3.0 Audio Levels Testing

With the audio tracks locked down we began Audience Testing, inviting fellow students and staff to experience the project while we recorded their responses in real time on video. We then followed each test with a short question and answer session on camera to gauge each subjects response and to find out if our idea would indeed add value to the Cinema audiences experience.

From the video and looking at the screenshots below, as you can see the subjects gave an overwhelmingly positive response to the experience. All felt that it put them at the centre of the action, made it a more personal and more immersive experience than they would normally expect from watching a film at the Cinema.

Fig 4.0 Audience Testing - Video Setup

Fig 4.0 Audience Testing – Video Setup

Surprisingly most felt the experience was the better for the lack of visuals, the imagination more than making up for this.

Future Cinema – Sound X.1?

Cinema sound is a technological area that still has much to offer, for example Dolby (TM) have developed a new Dolby Pro Logic IIZ system which adds a height element to the sound, which they have done by adding extra channels 5.1 to 7.1 and 7.1 to 9.1 and by positioning speakers above the existing Front Left & Front Right speakers. These extra channels add to the depth and spacial qualities of the sound, allowing film-makers the opportunity to add a feeling of height to their films, an example of which, would be the distant approach and then passing of an aeroplane – as it approaches gradually gaining in volume and then passes over your head and behind rather than to the left or right.

At the moment when considering existing sound set-ups in Cinemas, film makers show aeroplanes and in fact any form of transport passing from front to back or vice versa by filming them passing either to the left or right rather than passing directly overhead, most probably due to the limitations in faithfully reproducing the sound of the passing aircraft in the Cinema. (NB this may not be the only reason)

What does this mean? as the number of channels continues to grow so will the number of speakers and with the positioning of these new speakers coverage will also grow until eventually complete coverage will have been achieved and the audience will be totally immersed in a hemisphere of sound.

Fig 5.0 Immersive Headset

Fig 5.0 Immersive Headset

Final thoughts

Personally I feel that the group have worked hard to prove that a 5.1 surround sound soundtrack with the addition of the binaural soundtrack combined together would both enhance and add a new dimension to the Cinematic experience. With the right Film, with changes to the narrative to include the binaural sound element and with minor modification to the Cinemas seating (speakers built into the headrests) it would be possible to provide a much more immersive experience for the Cinema audience.

The concept could also be applied to the Gaming environment using a headset, which has both visual and audio capabilities, for example a headset such as the one shown in Fig 5.0 would be perfect for such an application.

One of the many hurdles we had to overcome was that what we thought we knew about sound recording did not match the results. We thought that by widely spacing the microphones we would get the best separation for the channels. In fact we produced the best recordings by having the microphones just a few centimeters apart and facing in completely the opposite direction to what we had originally planned.

Time was the usual thing in short supply, working late into the night to get the recordings done in the studio space. The original assigned roles in the group blurred as we each took on extra tasks when short handed, grabbing a camera to record the processes and work carried out for the ‘Making of’ documentary.

In summary though I personally think the group have produced an effective design that can be demonstrated to an audience based on our original conceptualisation of the 5.1 Surround Sound combined with Binaural Sound Recording and it’s possible inclusion in a Future Cinema Design.

  • Future Cinema – Screenshots

    The Mad Doctor in action Mad Doctor & Lawrence Microphone Positioning Alexsandra in the Sound Booth Audio Recording Working on his Lines Sound Test Subject 1 Ben Sound Test Subject 2 Sound Test Subject  3 Jason Watkins Sound Test Subject 4 Sound Test Subject 5 Chris Pegg

Future Cinema – Links to Related Blog Entries

  1. Future Cinema – Project Conclusion
  2. Future Cinema – Sound Effects
  3. Future Cinema – Digital Cinema
  4. Future Cinema – 5.1 Surround Sound
  5. Future Cinema – Binaural Sound – Digital Sound Recording
  6. Future Cinema – 360 Degree Camera Mount
  7. Future Cinema – Learning Agreement (Updated)
  8. Future Cinema – Audio / Film Script 1st Draft
  9. Future Cinema – Binaural Sound Recording
  10. Future Cinema – The Film Pitch
  11. Future Cinema – does it have one?

 

 

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Future Cinema – Sound Effects

Sound Effects

Following a successful conclusion to the recording tests earlier in the week we again setup in the Editing Suite to review the sound recordings for a short list to edit into the final sequence.

This took more time than we’d originally planned but eventually we had a complete set of recordings for both the 5.1 surround sound sequence and the binaural soundtrack by the end of the day. Then for the first time using the 5.1 surround soundtrack played back through the speaker systems using Logic Pro and the binaural via the output of a PC through a set of headphones. Both recordings were started in synch and for the first time we listened to the combined soundtrack.

Although not all the sound effects have been added yet we were generally happy with the result so far and decided to demonstrate it to Chris Pegg. Chris commented positively, that he was happy with the progress the group had made and with the overall project, which was a new experience for him. Chris also suggested that we test the project further by asking individuals from outside DMP to experience the soundtrack and to record their responses and feedback in order to confirm our concept and/or to make improvements.

We felt this was a good idea and immediately asked a 1st year and a 2nd year from another course to listen to the soundtrack in the edit suite. We recorded their responses on video to be included in the ‘Making Off Video Record’ which we are making in conjunction with the project as a complete record of the work, the testing and each individuals role in the development of the project.

Sound Effects

Audacity Noise Removal Filter

Audacity Noise Removal Filter

I have personally sourced some additional sound effects to go with the Mad Doctor & Pirate storyline. For example the ambient noise from inside a Hospital Ward, the bleeping of medical equipment for the Mad Doctor version and for the Pirate version the creaking of the ship, the wind and the sea. All of these will help to establish the setting for the audience, to assist with their imagination, to visualise themselves in a Hospital Ward and the Cabin of a Pirate Ship in a heavy sea.

To test the suitability of these sound effects and additional soundtrack clips I first edited together the binauaral sound recordings, taking the best recordings from each scene and cutting and pasting them together using Audacity. After I had completed this I discovered noise where there should have been silence. Using the noise removal effect in Audacity, I first recorded the ‘Noise Profile’ by selecting a 2 second sequence of the soundtrack free from effects and voices and then using this, the noise removal tool removes the noise by comparing with the Noise Profile in effect filtering it out.

The resultant soundtrack was very clean, free of any noise. I then added a 10 second sound sequence of the ambient sound taken from a Hospital waiting room and mixed onto this the sound of an EKG medical unit using it’s bleeping to link sound clips together. The final touch was to add some sound clips of a fellow student screaming and the majority of the editing was done. All I had to do then was to balance the audio levels on the individual tracks and then export the whole sequence of 6 tracks to a stereo WAV file. During the export process the 6 tracks were mixed to 2 track stereo file.

I repeated this process for the Pirate storyline version, but using the sound of a ship rocking in the sea with the wind in it’s sails. Again I exported the 6 tracks as a 2 track stereo WAV file.

I’ll post these sountracks up onto the final blog posting for this unit following the critique.

Sound Scary Laugh by Ian Hunt 1
Please note not used in the final soundtrack

What Next?

We plan to finalise the sound tracks, setting levels and balancing for the 5.1 Surround Sound channels with the additional sound effects added.

Alternative Headphone Tests

Alternative Headphone Tests

I have sourced some headphones that do not filter out external ambient sound, with these I am expecting that the listener will be clearly able to hear the Surround Sound played through the edit suite speaker systems while at the same time getting the full effect of the binaural sound recordings through the headphones. The plan is to test the setup with students from other courses and to record their reactions on video to see if the concept has worked as well as we had originally visualised.

This will be followed by the completion and editing of the ‘Making Of Video’

 

Future Cinema – Links to Related Blog Entries

  1. Future Cinema – Project Conclusion
  2. Future Cinema – Sound Effects
  3. Future Cinema – Digital Cinema
  4. Future Cinema – 5.1 Surround Sound
  5. Future Cinema – Binaural Sound – Digital Sound Recording
  6. Future Cinema – 360 Degree Camera Mount
  7. Future Cinema – Learning Agreement (Updated)
  8. Future Cinema – Audio / Film Script 1st Draft
  9. Future Cinema – Binaural Sound Recording
  10. Future Cinema – The Film Pitch
  11. Future Cinema – does it have one?

 

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Future Cinema – Digital Cinema

7.1 Surround Sound

7.1 Surround Sound

Digital Cinema

Cinema – Digital Cinema conversion

With the ongoing process of converting Cinemas to Digital Technology this opens up new possibilities for sound technology. The majority of Digital Cinemas offer 5.1 Surround Sound that is 6 channels of audio and now many offer 7.1 Surround Sound, 8 channels of audio. The additional speakers are either positioned high above the existing front speakers, that is Front Left and Front Right, alternatively they are positioned mid-way between the front and rear speakers.

Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound. Site Accessed 23/11/2011
http://www.dolby.com/us/en/consumer/setup/connection-guide/home-theater-speaker-guide/index.html

Digital Cinema – Future Cinema will be able to deliver a growing number of audio channels as the technology advances. For this project we think that some of these additional audio channels could be used to deliver a more immersive audio experience directly to individuals in the audience.

X Rocker Gaming Chair

X Rocker Gaming Chair

As an example of this we can look at the Games industry and a relatively low cost piece of Technology the Gaming Chair.

These come complete with their own built in 2.1 Sound Systems including a sub-woofer and the ability to deliver additional sensory experience using rumble and vibration to create sensation of movement directly related to sound levels and frequency.

X-Rocker Gaming Chairs site Accessed 23/10/2011
http://www.xrocker.eu/x-rocker-vision-pedestal-54-p.asp

A cinema fitted out with these types of chairs could deliver a whole new experience to the cinemas audience.

For the purposes of the project the chairs speakers provide the means to deliver the additional sound tracks we conceptualised, to be able to deliver a personal message, a sound clip direct to the audience in very close proximity – the whisper in an ear, the gun shot fired inches from your ears. Such a close proximity in the delivery of sound to the ear would also be felt as well as heard as the compression of loud sound waves or sound coming from a location in  close proximity to the ear would create air pressure effectively pushing against the ear drum, the sensation of wind blowing in the ear.

I’ve thought of a side benefit of using these chairs which would be to provide additional sensations using the built in sub-woofer to create rumble and vibration, in fact feeling as well as hearing the sound. This could be a possible update to Sensurround introduced for a small number of films in the 1970’s for example ‘Earthquake’ released in 1975.

The failing of Sensurround was that it relied on using additional Bass speakers and playing low frequency sound at high decibel levels which could be heard in adjacent theaters ruining the audience experience due to hearing the sound of another film through the walls of the Cinema.

My idea using these chairs would mean that the the high decibel level could be avoided and yet still get the vibration effect.

Our binaural soundtrack could be sent to the speakers in these chairs negating the need to use headphones. Although some of the effect would be lost by using speakers the close proximity of these speakers to the ears and combined with some form of sound processing to simulate the 3D Stereo effect and the brains ability to process sound information known as “interaural level differences (ILD) and the interaural time differences (ITD) that characterize two-eared human hearing” Ambiophonics. Site Accessed 23/10/2011 – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ambiophonics

The Human Ear or rather the human brain can determine not only where a sounds location originates from, anywhere in a 360 degree perspective, but can in fact localise and process sound in a sphere. The visual medium still has some way to go before it can deliver a cinematic experience based on a humans spherical perception.

Future Cinema – Links to Related Blog Entries

  1. Future Cinema – Project Conclusion
  2. Future Cinema – Sound Effects
  3. Future Cinema – Digital Cinema
  4. Future Cinema – 5.1 Surround Sound
  5. Future Cinema – Binaural Sound – Digital Sound Recording
  6. Future Cinema – 360 Degree Camera Mount
  7. Future Cinema – Learning Agreement (Updated)
  8. Future Cinema – Audio / Film Script 1st Draft
  9. Future Cinema – Binaural Sound Recording
  10. Future Cinema – The Film Pitch
  11. Future Cinema – does it have one?

 

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Future Cinema – 5.1 Surround Sound

5.1 Surround Sound

A day testing and proving and disproving ideas for recording and playing 5.1 Surround Sound files.

Idea Development – 5.1 Surround Sound

Sennheiser ME66 Microphones - Surround Sound Recording Setup

Sennheiser ME66 Microphones - Surround Sound Recording Setup

I propositioned the idea that if the dummy head complete with the binaural microphones was positioned in a simulated cinema environment and a DVD with a 5.1 Surround Sound soundtrack was played using a surround sound speaker system then recorded using the binaural microphone setup then the surround sound effect would be duplicated in the recording.

5.1 Surround Sound Headphones

5.1 Surround Sound Headphones

Following a number of recording tests this did not seem to be the case, although I suspect the problems of sourcing a true 5.1 Surround Sound System could have contributed to the failure of the test. We did successfully combine the binaural effect with the recording of the films soundtrack by overlaying our own voices into the recording but the 5.1 Surround Sound effect did not truly represent itself when played back through headphones.

However I have a theory that with the application of the right technology the original theory may well prove to be correct, for example it is possible to source 5.1 Surround Sound Headphones where the speakers are actually separated by 12 degrees in the headset.

[youtube.com/watch?v=5QETQNFYnp4]

5.1 Surround Sound

Definition: 5.1 channel sound, also known as Surround Sound, is a standard sound format found on most DVDs and some CDs. The five channels are left and right main speakers (stereo), a center channel for movie dialog and on-screen action, two rear speakers to surround the listener and a .1 channel (pronounced ‘point-one channel’) for bass. The .1 channel is intended for a subwoofer, used for special effects in movies and very deep bass in music. The designation ‘.1’ means that it is not a full range channel and is designed to reproduce only a narrow range of bass tones.

5.1 Channel Sound Definition. Site Accessed 20/11/2011 http://stereos.about.com/od/glossary/g/FivePointOne.htm

Zoom R24 Digital Recorder

Zoom R24 Digital Audio Recorder

Zoom R24 Digital Audio Recorder

For the new recordings we decided to use a Zoom R24 Digital Recorder rather than the Fostek recorders we used in the previous recording sessions. The main advantage to using the Zoom R24 was that it could record more than 2 channels of audio simultaneously in fact it can record 8 tracks in all, which saved us from having to synchronise 2 recording devices as we had previously. The Audio tracks were also saved onto a SD card making it much easier to import the data to the Logic Pro application.

Initially the Zoom was powered from the mains supply and Phantom power used to power the microphones, but we were getting a power hum on all the audio recordings. To cure this we had to power both the recorder and microphones using batteries. I suspected at the time that as we were in a studio using a dimmable lighting system, either the power from the lighting racks was effecting the main supply or the neutral had  high frequency noise running on it or it was not pegged at earth potential and was floating several volts above zero. As we had no means of checking this and this being outside of the brief, switching to battery power was the only option.

Logic Pro

In the afternoon session we utilised a new software application called Logic Pro and attempted to create a 5.1 Surround Sound soundtrack using the sound files recorded previously in the studio see previous blog Future Cinema – Binaural Sound – Digital Sound Recording. Each track was assigned a channel 1 to 4 representing Left Front, Right Front and Left Back, Right Back.

Logic Pro Application Screenshot

Logic Pro Application Screenshot

The microphones used to record the original tracks was centrally located, the resulting soundtrack appeared to have good separation but not necessarily 5.1 Surround Sound. Personally I felt that this might be due to the fact that the recordings were of only one sound source, centrally located and so the sound when played back should have been heard equally from all 4 speakers which was the case. If instead on just using one sound source, we had recorded multiple sound sources across the studio space we would have been able to have identified these different sound sources and their locations when played back. For example four members of the group each stand beside a microphone and announce their location that is; Left Front, Right Front, Left Back and Right Back, a simple idea but not thought of at the time.

Audacity 1.3.13-beta!

Audacity 1.3.13-beta screenshot

Audacity 1.3.13-beta screenshot

The beta version of this popular Sound Editing Application according to my research now supports AC3 file formats which allows you to save sound files with up to 6 channels. For our purposes this would allow us to create a 5.1 Surround Sound file with the option of a Sub-woofer channel.

Unfortunately although it is now possible to  be able to create these file formats we still have to find a 5.1 Surround System to be able to play them back.

The AC3 file type is primarily associated with ‘AC3 Audio File Format’ by Dolby Laboratories.

AC3 is a 6-channel, audio file format by Dolby Laboratories that usually accompanies DVD viewing. It operates 5 channels for normal range speakers (20 to 20,000 Hz) and the 6th channel reserved for low-frequency (20 to 120Hz) sub-woofer operation.

Human’s audible range of frequency is typically between 20Hz to 20kHz (that’s 20,000Hz) and this range is called sonic. Anything below the range is referred to as infrasonic whilst anything above is ultrasonic.

FileExt – Website Accessed 21/10/2011. http://filext.com/file-extension/AC3

Next Steps

The next step is to revisit the studio space and finalise the full soundtrack, that is the 5.1 surround sound and the binaural sound simultaneously and then go back to the Logic Pro application and assign a track to each channel and experiment to see how the 2 sound sources can be integrated for playback in a cinematic environment.

Future Cinema – Links to Related Blog Entries

  1. Future Cinema – Project Conclusion
  2. Future Cinema – Sound Effects
  3. Future Cinema – Digital Cinema
  4. Future Cinema – 5.1 Surround Sound
  5. Future Cinema – Binaural Sound – Digital Sound Recording
  6. Future Cinema – 360 Degree Camera Mount
  7. Future Cinema – Learning Agreement (Updated)
  8. Future Cinema – Audio / Film Script 1st Draft
  9. Future Cinema – Binaural Sound Recording
  10. Future Cinema – The Film Pitch
  11. Future Cinema – does it have one?

 

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Future Cinema – Binaural Sound – Digital Sound Recording

Digital Sound Recording

For our group project we are investigating methods of digital sound recording using both a Digital Audio Recorder (Fostek FR-2LE field recorder ) and recording directly to a MacBook Pro’s line input.

Digital Sound Recording direct to MacBook Pro line input

Fig 1.0 Digital Sound Recording direct to MacBook Pro line input

Using one of the University Recording Studios we set up the Dummy Head with the binaural microphones inside a soundproof room. The microphones were connected directly to the Mac’s line input. To record the audio I used Audacity a free audio editor and digital sound recorder which is available for both Windows, PC and Mac computers. I made one change to the programs preferences changing the input source from internal microphone to line input. As we were using a sound booth I was able to monitor the recording using the Mac’s internal speakers.

I immediately identified a number of limitations to using the sound booth, primarily there was little space to move around the room, which was a necessity for the script and groups overall concept but in counterbalance the audio recordings that were produced were of excellent quality.

[youtube.com/watch?v=4R38s3c9Unw]
Sennheiser ME66 Microphones - Surround Sound Recording Setup

Fig 2.0 Sennheiser ME66 Microphones - Surround Sound Recording Setup

The next step in the audio recording tests was to relocate to one of the Universities Film Studios. With the benefit of the much greater floor space we setup again the dummy head, but in addition we also positioned 4 directional microphones in pairs linked to two Fostek FR-2LE field recorders that is a Digital Audio Recorder. This in effect gave us 4 channels to record on, that is Left Front, Right Front then Left Back and Right Back.

The positioning choice made for these microphones initially seemed obvious with one set in each corner of the space and directed towards the centre aiming as close as possible at the dummy’s head. This however did not provide the sound (Channel) separation we were looking for.

There was considerable crossover between the channels, for this reason we re-positioned the microphones around the dummy head pointing away towards the corners of the studio space. This proved to be a real improvement when considering just channel separation but it created its own problems by physically obstructing access to the dummy head and effecting the binaural recording process.

Sennheiser ME66 Microphones - Surround Sound Recording Setup 2

Fig 3.0 Sennheiser ME66 Microphones - Surround Sound Recording Setup 2

As a final change in the microphone position we tried relocating the microphones to the corners of the studio space, pointing the microphones downward at floor at a 45 degree angle, the microphone stands were extended raising the microphones 3.5 metres above the floor. In effect each microphone was covering a quadrant of the studio floor space. Results proved to be indeterminate using this setup over the original microphone positioning and so in conclusion of these test recordings it was felt that the best results had been obtained with the microphones positioned centrally, around the dummy head and facing outwards to the four corners of the studio space.

Zoom H2 Handy Recorder

Fig 4.0 Zoom H2 Handy Recorder

Based on these tests the best setup for recording surround sound appears to be to have four microphones combined into one recording device centrally located. An example of such a device is the Zoom H2 Handy Recorder.

Microphone Choices

Based on the audio recordings made on the night we came to realise that our choice of microphone which seemed obvious at the time may not have been the correct choice. Our original specification for microphones choice were that in order to get the separation required for the 5.1 Surround Sound audio recording we would require a directional microphone.

Fig 5.0 Polar Pattern Shotgun Microphone

Fig 5.0 Polar Pattern Shotgun Microphone

We used Sennheiser ME66 Microphones which are very sensitive but also very directional and designed to eliminate noises not emanating from the target direction. From the audio recordings we had channel separation but the volume dropped as well as the actor walked into dead spots created by the very directional behaviour of the microphones used. The shot gun microphones we used have a very direction Polar Pattern see Fig 5.0

Fig 6.0 Cardioid Microphone Polar Pattern

Fig 6.0 Cardioid Microphone Polar Pattern

After discussing this with Lecturers we came to realise that a different choice of Microphone may have produced an improved recording. Cardioid microphones seemed to offer the best solution. The shot gun microphones we used have a very direction Polar Pattern see Fig 5.0, as you can see very different to the Cardioid polar pattern (See Fig 6.0 and 6.1 ). All microphones have different characteristics one is called a polar pattern this is the direction and the coverage that the microphone pick up from.

Fig 6.1 Example Cardioid Microphone showing Polar Pattern

Fig 6.1 Example Cardioid Microphone showing Polar Pattern

So a Cardioid microphone (Heart Shaped) will only pick up sound from one direction but has a wider target range. With this microphone we could effectively segment the studio into 4 zones with some overlap so that we still get the channel separation but there would be some overlap so that when the actor walks around the microphones pickup area we would still get the directional change but without such a dramatic volume drop off as they passed between microphone positions.

 

Evaluating the results

The next step will be to evaluate the test recordings that were produced and source another similar location suitable for audio recording, a location which combines the benefits of a sound proof room but with the floor space to be able to setup all the equipment and for the actors to move freely.

An example audio recording from the binaural microphone setup on the night.

Future Cinema – Links to Related Blog Entries

  1. Future Cinema – Project Conclusion
  2. Future Cinema – Sound Effects
  3. Future Cinema – Digital Cinema
  4. Future Cinema – 5.1 Surround Sound
  5. Future Cinema – Binaural Sound – Digital Sound Recording
  6. Future Cinema – 360 Degree Camera Mount
  7. Future Cinema – Learning Agreement (Updated)
  8. Future Cinema – Audio / Film Script 1st Draft
  9. Future Cinema – Binaural Sound Recording
  10. Future Cinema – The Film Pitch
  11. Future Cinema – does it have one?

 

 

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Future Cinema – 360 Degree Camera Mount

360 Degree Camera

[youtube.com/watch?v=kXfb4DMHhxs]
360 degree camera mount

Fig 1.0 360 degree camera mount

While researching for new ideas for Future Cinema project I considered doing something involving 360 degree video. Although there are now specialised cameras and attachments for cameras that can capture a 360 degree image, I thought of doing something involving time lapse photography.

For this application any digital camera will do as long as it can be set to take an image automatically for example once every 5 seconds, other intervals will give different results depending over what time period the images will be taken. Most cameras will have a remote shutter release and with the use of a programmable controller, the time between photos can be set along with shutter duration and the overall time sequence.

Building the 360 Degree Camera Mount

Fig 2.0 360 Degree Camera Mount

Fig 2.0 360 Degree Camera Mount

Using materials to hand I built a small turntable that can accommodate a camera that automatically turns 360 degrees in an hour. (see Fig 1)

As you can see it’s made from a kitchen timer a circular plastic disk (base from a DVD storage case) and a  large blob of BluTack to hold it on to the top of the timer. One of the many benefits of this very simple design is that by using a clockwork mechanism, no power is required, which allows you to use this anywhere without worrying about having a power connection or batteries. Of course the camera still needs batteries and you should make sure that these are fully charged and have the capacity to run for at least an hour plus 20%.

To use the 360 degree camera mount all you need do is place the camera onto the mount turn the timer to 60 minutes, start the camera in time lapse mode and leave it to run. It even rings to let you know when the hour has passed and one complete 360 degree rotation has been completed.

Then all you have to do is upload the images into a folder and by using some form of video editing application, create a time lapse video. Quicktime and Windows Video Maker will do this as will any number of similar video editing tools.

Hero GoPro HD Camera

Fig 3.0 Hero GoPro HD Camera

Small cameras that can do time lapse include the GoPro and iPhone with the time lapse App.

In the photograph Fig 4.0 I’ve shown how you can mount an iPhone 4 or any iPhone using a small Gorilla Pod to locate it onto the 360 degree camera mount.

Time Lapse Video – Suitable Subjects

My first idea was to mount the camera mount onto a tripod and set this up in the University Refectory just before lunchtime and set it to record for an hour. The video should record an empty refectory rapidly filling up with students moving around the camera in a complete 360 degree rotation.

iPhone 360 Degree Camera Mount

Fig 4.0 iPhone 360 Degree Camera Mount

Another idea was to position the camera set up in a high location, for example the top of a building in the centre of a town and again set it to record one rotation of the town centre at it’s busiest time of day showing the shoppers rapidly going about their shopping. You’d have to angle the camera on the mount to point downwards making sure not to include at the bottom of the video the camera mounts edge and the roof of the building. Mounting high on a pole might overcome this but there may be some movement in the wind.

The 1 Hour Video Version

Having discussed this project idea with Jason he suggested that I consider videoing for an hour instead of using time lapse. The resultant video could then be uploaded into After Effects and using Time Remapping condense the videos length down to a few minutes.

Fig 5.0 Flip Ultra HD Camera on 360 Degree Mount

Fig 5.0 Flip Ultra HD Camera on 360 Degree Mount

Using this method the resultant video would be smoother, much less jerky than using time lapse. This is due to way that After Effects handles the frame rate or Layers, rather than dropping frames from the video it actually changes the time of the frames playback. In time lapse you are missing frames by only recording for example 1 frame every 5 seconds, but using time remapping all the frames are still there but the time that they playback has been changed, either speeded up or slowed down.

Taking this idea on board I immediately thought of using my Flip Camera combined with the Joby Gorillapod to video the sequence see Fig 5.0.

Testing using the Flip Ultra HD

26 minutes of video equivalent to almost 180 degrees rotation (before falling off the tripod) which I then re-mapped down to 2 minutes. Following the test I thought about alternative ways of supporting the mount on the tripod, which was as simple as just bolting a CD onto the tripod to use as a platform for the mount.

[youtube.com/watch?v=LqYuVdSSpEA]

Future Cinema – Links to Related Blog Entries

  1. Future Cinema – Project Conclusion
  2. Future Cinema – Sound Effects
  3. Future Cinema – Digital Cinema
  4. Future Cinema – 5.1 Surround Sound
  5. Future Cinema – Binaural Sound – Digital Sound Recording
  6. Future Cinema – 360 Degree Camera Mount
  7. Future Cinema – Learning Agreement (Updated)
  8. Future Cinema – Audio / Film Script 1st Draft
  9. Future Cinema – Binaural Sound Recording
  10. Future Cinema – The Film Pitch
  11. Future Cinema – does it have one?

 

 

 

By

Future Cinema – Learning Agreement (Updated)

Learning Agreement

Name: Ian Hunt

Course: Digital Media Production                                                     Level: 5

Unit: Future Cinema

Reference number: IMD514

Credit points: 22.5

Study hours: 225

Tutor(s): Liam Birtles, Amanda Stephenson, Bob Cotton and Phil Beards

Learning Agreement – Synopsis of study

Future Cinema – Binaural Sound Recording or 3D Stereo Sound

This is our group’s idea development for Future Cinema. The studios have already begun in earnest to reintroduce 3D Vision back into Film to give a more immersive experience at the Cinema but what about the sound?

Our idea is to investigate the technology and research into methods for the introduction of 3D Stereo Sound to Future Cinema productions by using Binaural sound recording techniques.

Binaural sound is produced by using two microphones to record live performances, nothing unusual there, but what is different is that each microphone is attached to opposite sides of a dummy human head. Ideally these microphones will be actually embedded within the ear canal of the dummy’s ears, these ears which should also be a close approximation of the human ear, in order to more closely replicate the sound that the human ear, hears.

This technique could also be applied to one of the problems with the existing sound setup in Cinema. That is when you turn your head the sound direction or source remains the same. So for example, you turn your head to the right your centre sound source is now coming from the right speaker the centre speaker now becomes your left speaker and so basically the films sound sequence has been lost. With Binaural sound this is not the case, regardless of which direction you turn your head the sound source/position does not change. This would be even more useful in a multi-screened environment, although for it to work correctly there would have to be some form of head tracking in-order to switch the sound source being received in the head phones to match the visuals on the appropriate screen.

Another aspect of our idea is that the Binaural recorded sound which is then played back through headphones would be in addition to the existing surround sound system in a Cinema. This would allow the Filmmaker to directly connect with the audience, for example a whispered sound, a personal messages or sound bite could be sent to an individual or to all of the audience but it would appear as if the sound had come directly to them from a person sitting beside them.

The whispered threats from the films serial killer seated right beside you!

My Responsibilities

My personal responsibilities will include the script development for the film incorporating all the elements of the group’s idea development, providing the storytelling and interactive narrative. I will also as Producer oversee the film’s production ensuring that the group’s vision for the final film has been achieved and satisfies the projects aims to explore the possibilities of future cinema for a user centered design. I will also source information and research into binaural sound recording techniques as they can be applied to future cinema installations. In addition I will assist other members of the group as required in sound recording, camera operation and in post production.

Aims

A1    To develop an understanding of storytelling and interactive narrative

A2    To produce video content that explores the possibilities of future cinema

A3    To develop skills in narrative, interaction and user centred design

A4    Investigate digital techniques to create new user experiences.

Learning outcomes:

LO1        Demonstrate an understanding of storytelling and interactive narrative

LO2        Produce video content to explore the possibilities of future cinema

LO3        Demonstrate skills in narrative, interaction and user centred design

LO4        Explore a consider range of new user experiences

Assessment Requirements

A Project weighted 100% is required for this unit. Our group intends to produce a Film demonstrating the application of Binaural Sound Recording Techniques.

Assessment Criteria

•    Evidence of knowledge of technical processes (b) – Through detailed documentation of the project  (LO1, LO3, LO4)
•    Evidence of understanding through research and analysis (c) – Through presentation of final project work (LO2, LO4)
•    Evidence of Realisation through key specialist knowledge and skills (g) – Through production of finished project (LO3, LO4)

References

Sony – Virtual Phones Website Accessed 07/10/2011 –
http://www.sony.net/Products/vpt/tech/index.html

Wikipedia – Binaural Recording. Website Accessed 07/10/2011 –
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binaural_recording

The Mind Theatre – Immersive 3D Audio. Website Accessed 07/10/2011 –
http://www.mind-theatre.com/

The Science of Domestic Concert Hall Design

http://www.ambiophonics.org/

Action plan/time plan

Unit start Monday 03/10/2011

Week 1 – Idea Development

Week 2 – Production Planning/Research

Week 3 – Filming and Post Production (Interim Crit Thursday 20/10/2011)

Week 4 – Post Production and completion of Blog entries

Week 5 – Post Production and run through (Mini Crit)

Week 6 – Critique Monday pm 07/11/2011 and Tuesday am 08/11/2011

Future Cinema – Links to Related Blog Entries

  1. Future Cinema – Project Conclusion
  2. Future Cinema – Sound Effects
  3. Future Cinema – Digital Cinema
  4. Future Cinema – 5.1 Surround Sound
  5. Future Cinema – Binaural Sound – Digital Sound Recording
  6. Future Cinema – 360 Degree Camera Mount
  7. Future Cinema – Learning Agreement (Updated)
  8. Future Cinema – Audio / Film Script 1st Draft
  9. Future Cinema – Binaural Sound Recording
  10. Future Cinema – The Film Pitch
  11. Future Cinema – does it have one?

 

By

Future Cinema – Audio / Film Script 1st Draft

Future Cinema – film script

Film Script – Mental Health by Ian Hunt


Script & Shot List.
Dr Alexsandra

Dr Alexsandra

The story takes place in a Hospital (Mental Institution). The patients eyes are heavily bandaged and he’s strapped to a chair, he can only hear the bustle of a Hospital Ward and passing footsteps walking up and down the corridor, past his door. Night comes and the sounds begin to die away as he starts to drop off to sleep.

Suddenly he’s wide awake, woken from a fitful sleep by the sound of screaming by his Right Ear, the screaming  suddenly cuts off with what sounds like a very final gurgling sound. This is followed by a deeply menacing silence, which is broken only by the sound of a single pair of footsteps walking towards his door, the door opens quietly and someone, a women, wearing high heels comes into the room and walks to the left side of his chair.

 

The sound of excited breathing as a heavily accented female voice whispers closely into his Left Ear

Left Ear: Hello I’m Doctor Alexsandra, How are you feeling – no don’t answer
Sound of the Doctor moving from Left to Right across the back of the patients head (again the sound of heavy breathing – the sound of those high heels)
Right Ear: She says – one of the patients has escaped; when I say escaped the patient could have been released from the secure unit and there been a few accidents in the other Wards – you must of heard the screaming?
Sound of the Doctor moving from Right to Left passing across the front of the patients head (same heavy breathing – and those high heels)
Left Ear: She says – I’m afraid the escaped patient was last seen coming this way and I expect he’ll be here very soon, in fact as soon as he has (She pauses as if in thought – 1 second pause) finished playing with (Doctors voice moves closer) his last victim.

Right Ear: The sound of another scream which again suddenly cuts off
Right Ear: This is followed by the sound of heavy footsteps walking towards the door, but something is wrong, the footsteps are uneven one foot appears to be dragging behind the other.
Left Ear: Ah I hear him coming now (she pauses for 1 second) he’s such a good patient of mine, he’s been so helpful with my little experiments
She Moves from Left to Right
Right Ear: Of course not everyone agrees with my methods – (Doctor moves closer to the ear and whispers) the hospital management were so wrong to criticise my methods, threatened to stop my funding, threatened me with dismissal, but no matter now they are no longer a problem to me if Lawrence has carried out my orders correctly (She laughs).
Right Ear: Sound of the door crashing open, simultaneously followed by the sound of a distant rumble of thunder

(Note this is the first visual of Lawrence standing framed in the doorway, he’s wearing a white coat and holding an enormous kitchen knife in his right hand with the coat sleeve drenched in blood up to the elbow, this is lighted only by the flashes of Lightening (using Lees Strobe))
Right Ear: Good Lawrence is here – now we can begin.
Doctor moves from the Right to Left
Left Ear: Now I am free to continue my medical experiments – the mind so – complex, how the mind copes with pain and the fear of pain, (she pauses 1 second) let us see (pause 1 second) Yes 10 fingers and of course 10 toes.
Doctor moves from Left side to the Right
Right Ear: She says loudly – come in Lawrence don’t just stand in the doorway (Doctor moves closer to the patients ear and whispers) we have work to do (she laughs)
Sound of Lawrence limping into the room, passing in front of the patient, from the Right to the Left
Right Ear: She says – Lawrence that knife is dirty, why don’t you clean it first (Doctor moves closer to the patients ear and whispers) after all we don’t want to give our patient an infection now do we (laughs again)
(Second visual of Lawrence wiping the bloody knife on his left sleeve)
Right Ear: She says – I’d give the knife a sharpen as well while you’re at it Lawrence
Left Ear: Lawrence says – YES Doctor
Left Ear: There is the sound of a steel being rapidly drawn up and down the kitchen knifes edge.

(another visual of Lawrence – but just showing the knife and sparks from the knifes edge – produced either using After Effects in Post Production

or maybe real spark effects produced by using carborundum stone to sharpen the knife)
Right Ear: The doctor says – A small cut from here to here to start maybe (voice starts very close to Right Ear then moves around the neckline and ends very close to the patients Left Ear.)
Left Ear: No – (pause 1 second as if in thought) – that would be too quick hmm, I’ve changed my mind – (she moves to Right Side)
Right Ear: Lawrence let us begin (pause 1 second) Lawrence lets start with one of the little fingers shall we (she laughs)
Left Ear: Lawrence says ‘YES Doctor’ followed by the sound of the knife falling, cutting through to the arm of the chair.
Central – The sound of the patient screaming

THE END

Future Cinema – Links to Related Blog Entries

  1. Future Cinema – Project Conclusion
  2. Future Cinema – Sound Effects
  3. Future Cinema – Digital Cinema
  4. Future Cinema – 5.1 Surround Sound
  5. Future Cinema – Binaural Sound – Digital Sound Recording
  6. Future Cinema – 360 Degree Camera Mount
  7. Future Cinema – Learning Agreement (Updated)
  8. Future Cinema – Audio / Film Script 1st Draft
  9. Future Cinema – Binaural Sound Recording
  10. Future Cinema – The Film Pitch
  11. Future Cinema – does it have one?

 

By

Future Cinema – Binaural Sound Recording

Binaural Sound Recording – Research

Future Cinema – Binaural Sound Recording or 3D Stereo Sound

This our groups idea development for Future Cinema. The studios have already begun in earnest to reintroduce 3D Vision back into Film to give a more immersive experience at the Cinema but what about the sound?

Binaural Dummy Head

Binaural Dummy Head

Our idea is to investigate the technology and research into methods for the introduction of 3D Stereo Sound to Future Cinema productions by using Binaural sound recording techniques.

Binaural sound is produced by using two microphones to record live performances, nothing unusual there, but what is different is that each microphone is attached to opposite sides of a dummy human head. Ideally these microphones will be actually embedded within the ear canal of the dummy’s ears, these ears which should also be a close approximation of the human ear, in order to more closely replicate the sound that the human ear, hears.

This technique could also be applied to one of the problems with the existing sound setup in Cinema. That is when you turn your head the sound direction or source remains the same. So for example, you turn your head to the right your centre sound source is now coming from the right speaker the centre speaker now becomes your left speaker and so basically the films sound sequence has been lost. With Binaural sound this is not the case, regardless of which direction you turn your head the sound source/position does not change. This would be even more useful in a multi-screened environment, although for it to work correctly there would have to be some form of head tracking in-order to switch the sound source being received in the head phones to match the visuals on the appropriate screen.

Binaural Microphone Headset

Binaural Microphone Headset

Another aspect of our idea is that the Binaural recorded sound which is then played back through headphones would be in addition to the existing surround sound system in a Cinema. This would allow the Filmmaker to directly connect with the audience, for example a whispered sound, a personal messages or sound bite could be sent to an individual or to all of the audience but it would appear as if the sound had come directly to them from a person sitting beside them.

The whispered threats from the films serial killer seated right beside you!

The Recording setup

Fostek FR-2LE front view

Fostek FR-2LE front view

The first tests will be conducted using directional condenser microphones positioned so that they are pointing at a subjects head, one each side. The inputs will be connected to a digital recorder for example a Fostek FR-2LE field recorder with the inputs monitored using headphones. I’m hoping we actually get the effect of binaural recording in real time so that we can make adjustments as required.

Binaural Sound Recording test using 2 microphones

Binaural Sound Recording test using 2 microphones

Fostek FR-2LE top view

Fostek FR-2LE top view

Research Sources

Sony – Virtual Phones Website Accessed 07/10/2011 –
http://www.sony.net/Products/vpt/tech/index.html

Wikipedia – Binaural Recording. Website Accessed 07/10/2011 –
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Binaural_recording

The Mind Theatre – Immersive 3D Audio. Website Accessed 07/10/2011 –
http://www.mind-theatre.com/

Future Cinema – Links to Related Blog Entries

  1. Future Cinema – Project Conclusion
  2. Future Cinema – Sound Effects
  3. Future Cinema – Digital Cinema
  4. Future Cinema – 5.1 Surround Sound
  5. Future Cinema – Binaural Sound – Digital Sound Recording
  6. Future Cinema – 360 Degree Camera Mount
  7. Future Cinema – Learning Agreement (Updated)
  8. Future Cinema – Audio / Film Script 1st Draft
  9. Future Cinema – Binaural Sound Recording
  10. Future Cinema – The Film Pitch
  11. Future Cinema – does it have one?

 

By

Future Cinema – The Film Pitch

Future Cinema – The Film Pitch

Technology will have an effect on Future Cinema at some point but I want to talk about a change in storytelling – The Film Pitch.

Instead of going from cause and effect in a linear direction think of a 3D Maze with left and right turns. Think of a story progressing along different paths/choices that change the direction that a story will take, but unlike a typical Maze all choices will eventually lead to the centre or at least a centre and the stories conclusion. Some people will make different path choices to others and so these people will have a different Cinematic experience from the others by taking a different path through the maze.

Take this analogy further and actually project the images onto the Mazes walls, this way the audience can travel with the protagonists in the story following them through the twists and turns of the Maze and the story towards its conclusion.

You have seen an example of this if you’ve ever been to a theme park where images on a wall encourage you to move along towards the start of a ride. They loop and as you move further along these images are replaced by new ones also encouraging you to move along but if you turn around and look back you can still see the previous images, continuously looping and encouraging the people further back in the queue to move along.

In Conclusion

My idea is to create a story with multiple directions leading to a conclusion but not necessarily the same conclusion. An example would be a scene played out in a courtroom where there are two possible conclusions, guilty or not guilty, for one the story shows the defendant going to jail the other shows them being released.

Now take this story and project it onto the walls of a maze and then leave the story choices to the audience.

What Now

This is my idea for a Future Cinema project but as a group we have decided that we are going to be working on an immersive audio experience combining Binaraul Sound with 5.1 or Surround Sound as it is more familiarly known.

Binaural Sound Recording Project

Future Cinema – Links to Related Blog Entries

  1. Future Cinema – Project Conclusion
  2. Future Cinema – Sound Effects
  3. Future Cinema – Digital Cinema
  4. Future Cinema – 5.1 Surround Sound
  5. Future Cinema – Binaural Sound – Digital Sound Recording
  6. Future Cinema – 360 Degree Camera Mount
  7. Future Cinema – Learning Agreement (Updated)
  8. Future Cinema – Audio / Film Script 1st Draft
  9. Future Cinema – Binaural Sound Recording
  10. Future Cinema – The Film Pitch
  11. Future Cinema – does it have one?

 

 

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