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1.618 Digital to join Czech VR Fest 2018

We are delighted to announce that 1.618 Digital will be attending the Czech VR Fest 2018 in Prague, Czech Republic. The Czech VR Fest is now in its second year and will be taking place from the 10th until the 12th of May. Oliver Kadel will be giving a presentation on Immersive and Interactive Audio on the 10th of May at 17.30. If you are attending the festival, be sure to drop by and say hello.

Tickets and more information about the Czech VR Fest, including a list of speakers can be found here: https://www.czechvrfest.com

1.618 Digital Team

Immersive Audio Podcast – Episode 8 Damian Murphy

Summary

Today Oliver is joined in the studio by Professor Damian Murphy. Damian is a Professor of Sound and Music Computing at the Department of Electronic Engineering, University of York, where he has been a member of academic staff since 2000, and is the University Research Champion for Creativity. He started his career in the Performing Arts Department at Harrogate College and has previously held positions at Leeds Metropolitan University and Bretton Hall College.

His research focuses on virtual acoustics, spatial audio, physical modelling, and audio signal processing. This research formed the basis of the Surrounded by Sound project that was selected for inclusion in the Royal Society’s Summer Science Exhibition in July 2001, and he was also co-author of SoundFX – Making Music with Technology, the 2004 IEE touring Faraday Lecture.

He has been principal investigator on a number of AHRC and EPSRC funded projects relating to room acoustics simulation and auralisation, and published over 130 journal articles, conference papers and books in the area. He is a member of the Audio Engineering Society, a Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, and a visiting lecturer to the Department of Speech, Music and Hearing at KTH, Stockholm, where he specialises in spatial audio and acoustics. He has held visiting researcher status at a number of universities internationally.

Prof. Murphy is also an active sound artist and in 2004 was appointed as one of the UK’s first AHRC/ACE Arts and Science Research Fellows, investigating the compositional and aesthetic aspects of sound spatialisation, acoustic modelling techniques and the acoustics of heritage spaces. His work has been presented in galleries nationally and at festivals and venues internationally and included varied collaborations with writers, photographers and interactive digital artists. He is a founding member of Geodesic Arts through which most of his more recent work has been produced.

In this episode, Damian discusses entering into academia and recreating the acoustics of environments.

Listen to Podcast

Shownotes

University of York: https://www.york.ac.uk/

University of York: Masters in Audio & Music Technology: https://www.york.ac.uk/electronic-engineering/postgraduate/taught_masters_degrees/msc_audio/

Dave Malham: https://www.york.ac.uk/music/staff/honorary/dave-malham/

Computer Music Journal: http://www.computermusicjournal.org/

Professor David Howard: https://pure.york.ac.uk/portal/en/researchers/david-martin-howard(ecfa9e9e-1290-464f-981a-0c70a534609e).html

University of York: Department of Music: https://www.york.ac.uk/music/

University of York: MA/MSc in Postproduction with Sound Design: https://www.york.ac.uk/tftv/postgraduate/taught/postproduction-sound//

AECOM: http://www.aecom.com/

Alex Southern: https://uk.linkedin.com/in/asouthern

Geodesic Arts: http://geodesicarts.org.uk/

Me, Myself and MRI: http://memyselfandmri.org/

York Minster: https://yorkminster.org/home.html

Louise K. Wilson: http://www.lkwilson.org/

David Chapman: http://davidchapman.info/

Music excerpt by AudioLab, Department of Electronic Engineering, University of York and Ebor Singers.

Immersive Audio Podcast – Episode 7 Aaron McLeran

Summary

In today’s episode Oliver was joined via Skype by Aaron McLeran, Lead Audio Programmer at Epic Games. Aaron’s first taste of audio programming was writing computer music in CSound while in graduate school at University of Notre Dame (when he was supposed to be doing astrophysics research). Realising his true calling, he left physics to study procedural and interactive computer music, audio synthesis, and audio analysis with Dr. Curtis Roads at the University of Santa Barbara. His first game audio experience was writing procedural music on Spore where he got to collaborate with Brian Eno and Maxis’ audio director Kent Jolly on writing much of the game’s truly procedural music. His next game audio gig was a sound designer on Dead Space 2 where he wrote much of the games interactive audio systems in Lua along with accomplished audio director Don Veca. He made the leap from technical sound designer to audio programmer at Sledgehammer Games where he worked on Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. His next audio programming gig was at ArenaNet where he got to wrangle with the unpredictability and scale of game audio in the context of an MMO and developed some pretty cool tech around for player-created music and musical interaction. He’s currently working on a new multi-platform audio mixer backend for UE4 and developing new tech and approaches to game audio for VR.

Aaron speaks to Oliver about all things Game Audio and Procedural Audio and his unusual entry into the industry.

Listen to Podcast

Shownotes

Super Collider: https://supercollider.github.io/

UC Berkeley: Centre for New Music and Audio Technologies: http://cnmat.berkeley.edu/

Maxis: https://www.ea.com/studios/maxis

Spore: http://www.spore.com/

Brian Eno: http://www.brian-eno.net/

Andrew Lackey: https://www.linkedin.com/in/andrewlackey

Wabi Sabi Sound: http://www.wabisabisound.com/

Kent Jolly: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0427204/

EA Games: https://www.ea.com/en-gb

UC Santa Barbara: https://www.ucsb.edu/

Curtis Roads: http://www.music.ucsb.edu/people/curtis-roads

Sledgehammer Games: https://www.sledgehammergames.com/

Travis Naas: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tnaas

Activision: https://www.activision.com/

Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare: https://www.callofduty.com/uk/en/infinitewarfare

Dave Swenson: https://www.linkedin.com/in/dave-swenson-3b5b376

Epic Games: https://www.epicgames.com/

Unreal Engine 4: https://www.unrealengine.com/en-US/blog

Ethan Geller: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ethan-geller-7684133a

Game Developers Conference: http://www.gdconf.com/

FMOD: https://www.fmod.com/

Dan Reynolds: http://www.musicianeer.com/

Steam Audio: https://valvesoftware.github.io/steam-audio/

Oculus: https://www.oculus.com

Valve: http://www.valvesoftware.com/

Fortnite: https://www.epicgames.com/fortnite

 

Immersive Audio Podcast – Episode 6 Catherine Robinson

Summary

In today’s episode we are joined in studio by Catherine Robinson, Audio Supervisor at BBC Wales. Catherine has worked in radio sound for the BBC since 2001. Her specialism is sound design for radio drama, binaural audio and 3D sound for 360 video and VR. Catherine created the sound design and binaural mix for Ring, a horror radio drama for Radio 4. Following the success of that, Catherine has set up the first operational 3D sound studio in the BBC outside Research and Development, using their tools.

Some of the binaural productions that have been created in the 3D studio are: The Russell T Davies adaptation of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, which was the first ever binaural feature film; six 360 films for Planet Earth 2 using dynamic binaural sound design; and an episode of Doctor Who called ‘Knock Knock’ which is the first binaural TV drama to be made available on BBC iPlayer.

Catherine discusses her role at the BBC, the first binaural episode of a TV program available on the BBC iPlayer – Doctor Who, how content will drive immersive audio consumption and bringing immersive audio to the masses.

Listen to Podcast

Show notes

Middlesex University London: http://www.mdx.ac.uk/

BBC: https://www.bbc.co.uk/

BBC Wales: https://www.bbc.com/wales

BBC Radio Wales: https://www.bbc.co.uk/radiowales

BBC Radio 4: https://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4

BBC Research and Development: https://www.bbc.co.uk/rd

Ring – By Koji Suzuki. Adapted by Anita Sullivan: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06g63fk

The Stone Tapes – Peter Strickland re-imagines a classic seventies horror for Radio 4’s Fright Night: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b06g63fh

Fright Night : http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03328l0

Binaural Audio at the BBC Proms: http://www.bbc.co.uk/rd/blog/2016-09-binaural-proms

Tom Parnell: http://www.bbc.co.uk/rd/people/tom-parnell

Doctor Who: Binaural Episode: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p051x29z

Darran Clement: https://www.linkedin.com/in/darran-clement-00313b55

A midsummer night’s Dream – Classic Shakespeare play adapted for television by Russell T. Davies:

http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07dx7lt

Brian Minchin: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm1848198/

BBC Binaural Sound: https://www.bbc.co.uk/rd/projects/binaural-broadcasting

BBC Radio 4 – Pod Plays: https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05b8wfv

Damming the Nile: Explore with 360 video: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-43117710

Becky Lipscombe – BBC Africa Producer – Twitter: https://twitter.com/Beckstatic

BBC Radio Wales: The Sounds of Wales: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p05zrd8y

Hugh Huddy: https://www.linkedin.com/in/hugh-huddy-0b23562/Royal National Institute of Blind People: http://www.rnib.org.uk/

Immersive Audio Podcast – Episode 5 Samuel Huber

Summary

Today we are joined in the studio by Samuel Huber, the founder of Admix.in, the first adtech platform for mixed reality, giving VR, AR and MR developers the best tools to monetize their content. He frequently speaks at VR, AR and adtech conferences  and is obsessed with the convergence of frontier technology, adtech, and consumer behaviour. Sam has previously disrupted the e-commerce market with Kout.io, a gamified e-commerce platform where users play free games to win their shopping basket, live with 20 of the largest retailers. He is a social gambling pioneer with Betify, a gamified video sharing app. He built and sold Rogue Trader, the first binary trading game on the App Store. In a previous life, Sam was responsible for Mercedes Formula 1 engine strategy (season 2011/2012). He has a MSc Engineering from Cranfield

Uni (UK), BSc Physics from EPFL (Switzerland) and Uppsala Uni (Sweden).

Sam discusses Admix and advertising in a non-intrusive way, monetisation solutions and the importance of audio in VR advertising.

Listen to Podcast

Shownotes

Admix: http://admix.in/

Oculus Rift: https://www.oculus.com/rift/

Samsung Gear VR: http://www.samsung.com/global/galaxy/gear-vr/

Face Your Fears: https://www.oculus.com/experiences/gear-vr/1168200286607832/

Unity: https://unity3d.com/

Unreal Engine: https://www.unrealengine.com/en-US/what-is-unreal-engine-4

HTC Vive: https://www.vive.com/uk/product/

Oculus Go: https://www.oculus.com/go/

Immersive Audio Podcast – Episode 4 Sally-Anne Kellaway

Summary

In today’s episode we are joined by Sally-Anne Kellaway via Skype. Sally is the Senior Audio Designer on the Microsoft Mixed Reality – Audio and AI team, and an industry leading VR Audio Evangelist.

She has extensive experience in sound recording, editing, implementation and testing for interactive media in standard and VR/AR and has an interest in implementing true 3D spatial hearing and binaural sound in video games and other interactive experiences. She is the founder of the Virtual Reality Content Creators Network of Australia (VRCC)  which is a not for profit community for virtual reality and associated industries. The VRCC advocates for innovation and connection for all professionals working in virtual, augmented and mixed reality industries in Australia.

Previously the Creative Director at OSSIC, the leading audio technology providers active in the VR space, she has a Masters in Acoustics with a focus on psychoacoustics and spatial audio from the University of Sydney. Sally-Anne is sought after by VR and AR developers, Software and Middleware developers, Conferences, Meetup Groups and Panels to develop and consult on sound design, implementation, tutorials and presentations. She is the Founder of the Women/NB in VR Group for Australia and co-organiser of the San Diego VR community group and is on the AES Technical Committee for Game Audio (Spatial Audio) and on the Diversity and Inclusion Working group.

Sally is a vocal advocate for VR, AR and MR as the future of audio, entertainment and industry and uses her education in Sound Design, Acoustics and Psychoacoustics to rise the tide for all audio professionals passionate about the future.

In this episode, Sally-anne speaks about head-tracking, the future of Audio AR, and diversity in the industry.

Listen To Podcast

Shownotes

Sally-anne Kellaway: http://soundsbysal.weebly.com

University of Sydney: https://sydney.edu.au/

The Virtual Barbershop: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUDTlvagjJA

OSSIC: https://www.ossic.com/

Audio Engineering Society: http://www.aes.org/

Virtual Reality Content Creators of Australia: http://www.vrcc-aus.rocks/

The Wave VR: http://thewavevr.com/

Zero Latency VR: https://www.zerolatencyvr.com/

1.618 To Join The Panel at The BVE 2018 Excel London

1.618 Digital will be taking part in a panel at The Storyteller Theatre at the BVE 2018 Expo Excel London. Oliver Kadel will be discussing the use of immersive audio in modern storytelling, covering everything from future technologies to next generation audio. We’d love to see you there!

The panel discussion takes place on the 1st of Match at 12.30. You can get your free ticket here: Ticket Registration

Check out what else is taking place at BVE 2018.

 

See you soon!

1.618 Team

Valentine’s Gift Guide For Sound Nerds

It’s that time of year again – when demonstrating your love for your significant other takes the shape of garage forecourt flowers, overpriced dinner dates and lining the pockets of our nation’s finest retailers. Cynics? Us?

If you really want to treat the audiophile in your life this year, how about giving the restaurant a rest and putting the money to good use with something they’ll ‘geek out’ over?

We’ve picked a few suggestions that would increase our heart rate come Valentine’s, so if you’re struggling with some last minute gift inspiration read on for kit with the 1.618 stamp of approval…

OSSIC HEADPHONES

A great pair of headphones to experience immersive audio www.ossic.com

SUBPACK

Deepen your connection with VR with the Subpack wearable haptic device www.subpack.com

PL²

Probably the smallest synth in the world www.ploytec.com

TONIC

The pocket-sized sequencer www.teenageengineering.com

PT01

A super-portable record player www.numark.com

 

Happy Valentine’s Day!

With Love, 1.618 Digital Team

Music – The Language of Emotions

Sonic Branding Part 1

In this series of articles we’ll dive into the essential concepts of sonic branding in today’s rapidly evolving experiential and multisensory media landscape, examining everything from immersive audio, music and sound design within campaign strategies, to the importance of sonic identity assets and enhancing brand look and feel via a multisensory approach.

“As mathematics is the universal language of the mind, music is the language of the heart”

Robert Schumann, Composer (1810 – 1856)

Music is one of the most important aspects of audio branding. We’re hardwired to rhythms and patterns, with science suggesting that hearing is the first of five senses that develops in the mother’s womb, an embryo perceiving its mother’s heartbeat around 18 weeks. Music is so important to us that we constantly and consistently make it part of life – whether through daily routine or during milestone events. From simply driving a car to work to graduation ceremonies, weddings and funerals, music plays a crucial and significant part in how we experience events and the emotions we perceive around them. As perhaps one of the most ubiquitous forms of social interaction after spoken language and gesturing, music is another way of expressing emotion through communication, so it’s perhaps unsurprising that it forms the backbone of many successful audio branding strategies.

As we’re rapidly transitioning from the informational era to the experiential, the classic model of product, price, placement and promotion is no longer a cutting edge approach when placed in the context of today’s tech-savvy and advertising-weary consumers.

Aspects such as authentic emotions, a novel experience, direct engagement and sense of exclusivity play an increasingly pivotal role when it comes to “turning customers into fans”.

“When modes of music change, the fundamental laws of the state always change with them”

Aristotle, Greek Philosopher and Scientist (384–322 BC)

In fact, for decades a number of research programmes have shown that when purchasing expensive goods, for example fashion items, a new gadget or a motorbike, we rarely use a pragmatic approach. Dr Gottfried (2014), in her publication The Hormone Cure, states that it is a purely emotion-driven experience that makes our hypothalamus release the hormone oxytocin, giving us a sense of social connection, bonding, trust, generosity and overall happiness. Only after we’ve calmed down do we tend to try to rationalise the decision from a more practical standpoint.

Unlike spoken language which is processed primarily by the left part of the brain, music tends to engage the more creative and emotional right side of the brain, suggesting that music is a language which communicates directly to our feelings rather than our logic.

In this way, communication through music enables us to communicate emotions, thus creating more memorable experiences and encouraging more thoughtful conversation by tapping into our increasing need for authenticity and direct engagement. In doing so, music is capable of assisting brands in building a special position in their customers’ minds.

Music also plays a significant part in sonic branding when it comes to getting customers to buy into the values a brand stands for. When engaging people through authentic emotions, you need to tap into their passions, and music does that for the majority of the global population.

Brands like Pepsi have understood the power of audio branding for many years and have spent extortionate amounts of money featuring stars such as Michael Jackson, whilst producing tailored music and lyrics as part of their marketing campaigns dating back to the 1980s. The result of those campaigns enabled Pepsi to win a large market segment consisting of young Americans from the much established Coca-Cola.

The great news for thousands of brands around the world is that working with superstars is no longer the only option – any young and aspiring brand can accelerate the process of connecting with their audiences by taking advantage of intelligent branding and marketing strategies that fully utilise both sound and vision.

With a rapidly growing global ubiquity of mobile devices and VR headsets, along with an increasing choice of affordable or even free options of music streaming, apps and immersive content platforms, the power of music within branding is only set to increase.

‘Music is the shorthand of emotion”

Leo Tolstoy, Writer (1828-1910)

In the next installment of our sonic branding series we will continue to discuss the concept of exclusivity, the perceptual self-identity of a consumer in relation to a brand, and purchase decision-making based on a sonic branding strategy.

1.618 Digital

What YouTube’s Heatmap Is Really Saying About 360 Video

YouTube recently announced a new analytics tool for 360-degree and virtual reality content creators: heatmaps that illustrate where viewers are actually looking. The new tool allows creators to see exactly what parts of their video are holding a viewer’s attention, and for how long.

YouTube has also released some enlightening early statistics on how – and this is important – viewers currently engage with immersive content.

“Surprisingly” (says YouTube), viewers spend 75% of their time focused on the front 90 degrees of an immersive video. Understandably, this figure has a lot of people questioning the point of VR content if the audience is only willing to engage with a quarter of it.

It’s an easy argument to make, but perhaps what these numbers are really saying is that VR content creators need to learn new ways to grab viewers attention in a 360º world?

Ever since moving pictures became something we watched for entertainment purposes, our eyes have been guided by camera angles to tell us where to look. For over a century that’s what the viewing audience has come to expect.

Virtual reality reminds us very much of the 2D world of film and television, but it’s an entirely different medium with its own set of rules that are still being written. Nothing is set in stone.

And camera angles? Well, those are up to the viewer to choose.

Content creators in the virtual reality space have the difficult task of catching the attention of an audience with over 100 years of collective viewing experience of looking straight ahead.

Does this make virtual reality a fad? A gimmick? No, of course not. It simply means that VR can’t rely on the same tools that have been used for film and television to engage an audience in a fully-immersive format.

That’s a lot of unlearning to do for content creators, and a lot of new learning to do as the format develops. It’s an exciting new frontier.

Back to YouTube’s statistics: the most popular VR videos had the audience looking behind them almost 20% of the time. Markers and animation are what the company suggests will help draw attention to other parts of the surrounding space. In our day to day lives our attention is constantly guided by signs, so it’s a helpful suggestion. But think about this: what’s the one sure thing that will make you stop whatever you’re looking at and focus your attention elsewhere?

Sound…

We are programmed to react to sound. In a split second we must figure out where that sound is coming from and what it means. It is as true in the virtual world as it is in the real world, which is why 1.618 Digital is passionate about high-quality spatialised sound.

Spatial audio can be an effective tool to lead or surprise your audience.  By being in the habit of looking in one direction at any given time, the viewer can easily miss out on what is happening behind or beside them. Through the creative implementation of sonic cues within an immersive environment content creators can control or suggest a narrative. Ultimately, this encourages the audience to engage with specific elements – or viewing angles – within the experience.

Virtual reality is an effective form of visual storytelling. What YouTube’s early heatmap data points to isn’t VR’s failure to engage its viewers. It’s the bigger picture of where audience attention currently is, and the gaps content creators need to fill to direct it elsewhere.

1.618 Digital Team