Exploring Virtual Reality

Hands on Sound has begun to embark on a journey into the emerging field of Virtual Reality, getting acquainted with the SF Bay Area VR community and trying some of the production tools that are becoming available.  3DAudio, Ambisonics and Spatial Audio are some of the buzz phrases out there in the 360video/VR sound space and we are getting familiar with how to capture and process audio for picture in this new world.

Several weeks ago I attended a VR sound design workshop at Pyramind in San Francisco and spent the day working with Dysonics Rondo360 software and their RondoMotion headtracker.  By the end of the day we were placing sound to pictures and demoing ambisonic microphones.  Rondo360 is still not available on the market, but should be well received.

Follow up sessions at Google and The Upload Collective in SF have been valuable in getting to understand the what creators are working on, what some the challenges and opportunities there are in VR and 360 video. Looking at it from an audio POV, much of the conversation is similar to when we were making the early 5.1 surround title around 2000-2003.  Are there standards?  Are there rules or best practices?  Attendee Ian Hirschfeld has written up a nice summary of the evening that goes into more depth.

Back in the studio I'm currently working with FB360 Spatializer and the Sennheiser Ambeo Format Converter plugin to learn more about use and placement of Binaural recordings, Ambisonic A and B format conversions and use.