The definition of virtual reality comes, naturally, from the definitions for both ‘virtual’ and ‘reality’. The definition of ‘virtual’ is near and reality is what we experience as human beings. So the term ‘virtual reality’ basically means ‘near-reality’.
Virtual reality is the term used to describe a three-dimensional, computer-generated environment which can be explored and interacted with by a person. That person becomes part of this virtual world or is immersed within this environment and whilst there, is able to manipulate objects or perform a series of actions.
The intent of VR is to create an alternate reality, but without the right audio cues to match the visuals, the brain will not believe the illusion. For the trickery to succeed, the immersive graphics need equally immersive 3D audio that replicates the natural listening experience.
The VR technology has now become an integral part of our lives. From Vloggers and YouTubers to Gamers and music or video producers, all of them have now switched their focus on to the next big thing in technological advancement, Virtual Reality. Hence, it is safe to say that Virtual Reality is not a fad but has become one of the most vital technological advancements of the 21st century.
Movies & Broadcast
From The Matrix to Inception, the landscape for cinema and broadcast has changed over the decade with more producers creating content with VR technology. Major film festivals like Cannes and Venice also have a separate category for VR films to recognize the ground-breaking work in the medium. The producers and directors are working towards creating an imaginary world for the viewers, where they can lock their attention into the narrative. To do so, it is important to use the right technology for both audio and visual in order to engage with their audience. VR movies are different from traditional movies in the sense that the viewer has an enticing audio experience. You sit at one place but are transported to a world of your favourite heroes fighting for their pride, where you can hear and watch with a 360-degree audio-video VR technology!
Corporates are also introducing themselves with the concept of virtual reality. They are using the virtual lobby to conduct meetings and be more efficient. It is important that during such meetings, there is a combination of a good quality video with an excellent audio that gives the clear sound to deliver the best and be your most productive self. A set of good headphones completely transforms your experience, as the spatialized audio is the true heavy lifter for ‘completing the illusion of being there’ which fulfils the purpose of virtual lobby meetings.
360-degree immersive audios and videos are becoming a format of choice for recording and mixing by the producers. It is a powerful sensation and emotionally intense affair to be able to hear and watch a 360-degree video compared to a flat screen. You can listen to every detail and arrangement that the musicians, arrangers and producers put into the recordings. The demand for compact microphones that capture spatial audio to match visual 3D experiences has increased enormously in the recent past. Furthermore, 3D audio recording devices and mics with high-quality 3D headsets, that remove the gap between playback and reality help us provide an immersive experience. They are also working on products that give content creators the boost to record the natural sound that will prove to be a realistic experience for you.
The most adventurous games take you to a new world of excitement and give you the adrenaline rush that you deep dive into the virtual world. 3D audio changes the landscape of a game where the visual is pre-determined, by attaching the sound to the certain objects. Imagine a game setting of a war zone, where a machine gun that is out of sight can feel so real in your brain. A gaming headset should put in the game and not outside of it and you should hear sounds as they were recorded and developed by the game developers. VR creates the illusion of being in the game and it is not broken as the sound doesn’t move with you. It stays put, even when you move and shoot all your enemies!
It is the era of videos where the vloggers, YouTubers have tasted success because of their videos going viral. Vloggers are creating an endless stream of entertaining content using virtual reality accompanying amazing audio to create immersive video content. A great example would be the New York Times YouTube channel which captures the incredible stories, whether it is a sneak peek of the subway stations or a pro snowboarder through an epic run down a mountain, in an experience that leaves the viewer mesmerised. To engage with their viewers’ vloggers, record and capture videos that throws you right into action and makes you feel the moment. From the time, you hit the play button to the time you hit pause, it lets you feel every breath and creates a magic which transports you in the video.
Therefore, to adapt to this ever-changing world and meeting demands for immersive audio experience, audio giants these days are focusing on creating products that will not only help us experience 3D sound but will also focus on capturing sound for binaural recording identical to the way our human ears do. To crack it the right way, it is important to pay attention to the technology that goes into making it-right from capturing to the processing/mixing. VR is changing the way how creators create and consumers consume content.
With over 22 years of experience in sales and marketing, Mr. Vipin Pungalia heads the professional segment for Sennheiser in India.