Renée Abe is a composer, sound designer and film editor who has been working as a 3D audio specialist for several years. His works have won several awards, including an Emmy and the Clio Music Award. At ZDF Digital Renée manages the department for sound and music production.
Our motto at ZDF Digital is "Content meets Technology". We are always trying to develop new formats and content by using new technologies and vice versa. That’s why the future of audio formats and new playback possibilities have been a big part of our work for several years now. We quickly realized that 3D binaural audio and the associated object-based mixing is the future and started developing content and formats. We started out with 3D audio for 360- degree movies and VR experiences but we soon realized that we could "reinvent" formats like radio plays and podcasts and the way we create and mix music using the new possibilities of immersion for the listening experience. The desire to create an "audio blockbuster" was very big and we were looking for the right content. Fortunately, Lufthansa Group Communications came into contact with us and wanted exactly that and was in search of a partner for recording and postproduction. They wanted to create a kind of "Black Mirror"- or “Stranger Things”-style series, just for listening.
The sound had to be very realistic and at the same time big and epic like a movie. Listeners should close their eyes and have the feeling that they are in the middle of the scene or at the position of the protagonist. It was clear to everyone that we had to produce this "audio blockbuster" as a 3D binaural radio play to achieve exactly this effect and feeling. The story, written by Viertausendhertz Studio, was a perfect fit for the use of this new technology. It's all set in the future and it's all about the advancing digitalization and artificial intelligence.
We recorded almost all scenes on location, not in the studio. The actors/speakers could play and interact with each other better and more naturally. It was important for us to be able to record as much detail and realistic sound as possible. The Sennheiser AMBEO VR Mic was the first choice for us. The setup is compact and therefore very mobile. It basically consists of a simple small tripod to which the AMBEO VR Mic is attached and a Zoom F8 for recording, to which additional wireless microphones also are connected.
„The AMBEO VR Mic has allowed us to record the ambient sound perfectly on location to create the most realistic sound image of the scene.“
The actors were also wearing headset microphones to record the direct signal, which we were able to mix perfectly with the AMBEO recordings. The ease of use and size of the setup allowed us to record quickly and efficiently. Even in difficult places like a public swimming pool. Of course, the production effort is higher than if you record everything in the studio, but the level of detail and realism of the location recordings and the time saved in post-production make up for this in our opinion.
In the post-production we used the AMBEO VR Mic for some additional sound effects and Foley recordings as well as the AMBEO Smart Headset. The AMBEO Smart Headset is totally practical and easy to use and allowed us to quickly make binaural recordings that mixed perfectly with the rest of the recordings. For example, we were able to perfectly capture the feeling and listening impression of a person blow-drying their hair. Listening to the recording through headphones is basically just like the real thing.
We are really excited about the result of the recordings. The positive feedback on the sound speaks for itself. We hope to inspire other people to get on board with our concept of an "Immersive Audio Blockbuster" and would love to hear more binaural productions of that kind. There is a market for this, and you don't need special players or devices to experience the immersive sound. Everyone who hears it for the first time is enthusiastic and recognizes the added value. It's time to move forward in audio, from mono to stereo to surround and now 3D audio. We are looking forward to the future of immersive audio and are excited to be entrepreneurs in the field.
About Renée Abe
Renée Abe is a composer, sound designer and film editor. He studied film music and sound design at the Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg and graduated in 2016. Since 2011 Renée has been working as a freelance composer for film music as well as a sound designer and editor for film, television and theatre. Brands and Institutions like Mercedes, Audi, Bang&Olufsen, VW Autostadt, Legoland and the Burgtheater Vienna belong to his clients, just to name a few.
His works have won several awards, including an Emmy and the Clio Music Award. He has been working as a 3D audio specialist for several years now gaining a high expertise in immersive content creation. At ZDF Digital Renée manages the department for sound and music production. Learn more here: https://www.zdf-digital.com/soundandmusic/
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