BBC Engineers Develop 3D Sound
Posted on: 06/11/2012 06:31 PM

Researchers at BBC's special R& ;D department have been developing acoustics can convince a listener that sound is coming from every direction - even above and below. For those of you don't know, the BBC has the largest library of video and sound effects in the world, and has for a long time. This new technology will help push that sound department to a new level, allowing broadcasters to fool audiences into hearing an object rising or falling.

The idea of 3D sound has been around for quite a while - many of you have surround sound systems at home, and many of you have heard 3D sound recordings like this one of a "3D Haircut"

But, the engineers claim that this new technology will allow consumers to receive 3D sound from their existing radio and television speakers.

Frank Melchior, lead technologist for audio with BBC R& ;D, said: "We want to deliver a new experience to the audience that gives them more immersion and involvement in the content." "We also have to make sure we are flexible enough in the delivery of this content. It has to sound OK on headphones as well as on speakers."
Engineers have tested the new technology with recordings of a radio play of the Wizard of Oz.

Anthony Churnside, who co-authored the BBC R& ;D research paper, said: "There are a number of ways to create 3D sound. There are psychoacoustic tricks that can make you perceive sound from above and below.
"With the Wizard of Oz we concentrated on a couple of scenes including the tornado when it takes the house away. Suddenly we had mooing cows thrown up into the air, and the wind could be all around you. With 3D sound you have every direction to play with so you can be really quite creative.
"For an orchestra or a live event, the majority of the sounds come from the stage in front of you, but the sense of immersion comes from the sound bouncing off the roof and the walls."

Obviously, the next step to 3D sound is adding it to 3D video. This could be a potent (in a good way) mix, making your visuals that much more real. Since 3D sound could be used with normal speakers, everything would integrate easily. Bring on 3D sound!

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