Workshop Abstracts for Monday, August 20


11:30 - 12:25   Monday, August 20   Room: Plato   Workshop Session: Audio Production & Design for VR/AR I

Chanel Summers,  VRstudios, Inc.

TITLE:   Compete to Win! Creating the Audio for VRcade PowerPlay: A Next-Gen Competitive eSport for Location-Based VR

This presentation will discuss specific immersive and aesthetic auditory design techniques and strategies as applied to create VRcade PowerPlay, a full-motion, multi-participant virtual reality competitive eSport game experience for live commercial Location Based Entertainment (LBE) installations that allows the participants to actually forget that they are in VR. Challenges and solutions will be revealed for designing the dynamic audioscape for an intensely athletic team eSport played in free-roaming, arena-scale VR.

12:35 - 1:30   Monday, August 20   Room: Plato   Workshop Session: Audio Production & Design for VR/AR I

Jeffery Stone,  Artisyns Audio

TITLE:   Audio Production in a New Reality

The demand for VR/AR content, in the near future, is potentially explosive. We, the creators of 50% of the experience, need to be ready with a solid understanding of what is possible with 3D sound design, as well as its unique limitations, and how to produce it effectively. With this workshop, presented from a sound designer's perspective, I will discuss and demonstrate some tools and platforms I have used, and their potential workflows, for production, post-production, and distribution of 3D cinematic audio for 360 video, as well as production and design techniques for this unfamiliar aesthetic.

2:30 - 3:25   Monday, August 20   Room: Plato   Workshop Session: Audio Production & Design for VR/AR II

Robert Rice,  Microsoft, Kedar Shashidhar,  Magic Leap

TITLE:   The Role of Audio and Multimodal Integration for New Realities

An effective VR/AR/MR experience is dependent on content and technology to work together in harmony to suspend disbelief for the participant. These new realities demand an understanding of the connection between audio design and technologies that vary in immersiveness and deliver to variable end-user environments. On this panel, experts of interactive audio will discuss the role that immersive audio plays when interacting with multiple modalities of perception in order to create top-notch virtual and augmented reality experiences.

MODERATOR: Kedar Shashidhar

PANELISTS: Tom Smurdon, Chanel Summers, Viktor Phoenix, Guy Whitmore, and Robert Rice

3:35 - 4:30   Monday, August 20   Room: Plato   Workshop Session: Audio Production & Design for VR/AR II

Martin Rieger,  VRTONUNG, Germany

TITLE:   Sound for challenging 360° productions

The talk shows various examples of 360 degrees productions under challenging conditions for sound on vision on location and in post-production. Working on virtual reality films requires a whole new understanding for the entire sound department. Not only that, 360° videos tend to be more adventurous than the average film production since they start feeling like pioneers again and want to shot footage that simply hasn't been there before. This is not only crucial for the camera but also for the sound department. Sometimes even more. How to approach onboard recordings on moving motorcycle with dialogue to ski-stunts in snowy mountains -Martin describes 360° recordings on set and fixing them in the post.

5:00 - 6:30   Monday, August 20   Room: Plato   Workshop Session: Immersive Audio & Education

John Merchant,  Middle Tennessee State University

TITLE:   Immersive Audio + Education

This will be a panel discussion of topics regarding higher education for immersive audio, with consideration of skills and knowledge required for long-term student successes as well as ways to balance the needs of industry with calls for academic research. The selected panelists represent a cross-section of industry professionals and academics to assess essential concepts and teaching methodologies. The panel will include significant time for questions and answers.

PANELISTS: Agnieszka Roginska, Assoc. Director of Music Technology at New York University Tom Smurdon, Audio Content Lead at Oculus VR Jean-Marc Jot, Distinguished Fellow at Magic Leap Sally-anne Kellaway, Senior Audio Designer at Microsoft (Moderator) John Merchant, Assoc. Professor and Director of the Immersive Story Lab, Middle Tennessee State University

Workshop Abstracts for Tuesday, August 21


11:30 - 12:25   Tuesday, August 21   Room: Plato   Workshop Session: HRTF and Ambisonics

Michel Henein,  VisiSonics

TITLE:   The Basics of HRTF Personalization

VR/AR strives to convince the human brain that the virtual world is real. Since sound in the real world is critical to the human experience, virtual sound, based on HRTFs, must be convincing. Due to anthropometric differences between individuals, a generic HRTF set does not provide convincing 3D effect for all humans, which is a major problem for mass VR/AR adoption. Research conducted by the VisiSonics team, first at the University of Maryland, and then at the company for its RealSpace 3D engine has resulted in a few techniques enabling individualized HRTFs to be created quickly, thus helping to provide the most accurate spatial audio experience -- as good as being there -- for all VR/AR users.

12:35 - 1:30   Tuesday, August 21   Room: Plato   Workshop Session: HRTF and Ambisonics

Markus Zaunschirm, Daniel Rudrich and Christian Schörkhuber,  IEM, University of Music and Performing Arts, Graz, Austria

TITLE:   Binaural Ambisonics rendering for headphones

With the widespread adoption of the Ambisonics format for headphone-based playback of spatial audio the binaural rendering of order-limited Ambisonic signals became of great interest in the fields of virtual reality and 360-degree multimedia productions. Classic binaural renderers adopt decoding strategies from loudspeaker-based rendering (e.g. virtual loudspeaker approach). They either yield strongly direction-dependent coloration (dull in front) when using a dense set of virtual loudspeakers, or they yield strongly sampling-dependent spatial cues and spatial aliasing with a sparse layout which only uses those few virtual loudspeaker required for the Ambisonic order. This workshop compares classic binaural decoding with new cutting-edge binaural Ambisonic renderers. We discuss differences in coloration and localization, and present approaches for improving externalization.

2:30 - 3:25   Tuesday, August 21   Room: Plato   Workshop Session: XR Audio in Diverse Industries

Joel Douek and Benedict Green,  EccoVR, Inc.

TITLE:   Riding the XR Sound Wave into Diverse Industries

The nascent technologies of Virtual, Augmented and Mixed reality, although originally driven from the world of entertainment and video games, are extending into an untold number of industries. What this means for anyone working in XR, including on the audio side, is that all these industries are becoming part of our world by extension. It means that career opportunities are multiplying manifold in fascinating new areas where sound never played an obvious role. This expansion of reach has real implications for our professional lives, not only in terms of job opportunities and earning potential, but also the possibility of being at the forefront of new technological and creative developments that will influence the shape of the future.

4:00 - 4:55   Tuesday, August 21   Room: Plato   Workshop Session: XR Audio and the Music World

Joel Douek,  EccoVR, Inc.

TITLE:   Can XR Rekindle the Music World?

Against the often bleak picture of music industry and the diminishing value of music, XR offers a ray of hope. With the personal presence, proximity and free agency the VR listener has, a sense of intimacy, wonderment and privilege can be restored to the musical experience. That magical connection can be regained as we stand (albeit virtually) in the presence of our musical heroes or be present at the birth of a song. AR, MR & Social VR can further enrich musical experiences with opportunities for interaction and deeper information. This talk will showcase some recent music-driven XR experiences and explore the future potential of these new platforms and technologies to breath life into the creation and appreciation of music.

Workshop Abstracts for Wednesday, August 22


11:30 - 12:25   Wednesday, August 22   Room: Plato   Workshop Session: Dialogue for VR/AR and MPEG-H

Jelle van Mourik, Simon Gumbleton and Nick Ward-Foxton,  Sony Interactive Entertainment Europe

TITLE:   Recording and implementing dialogue for VR applications

Rendering voice recordings in a 3-dimensional virtual environment presents many technical and creative challenges, many different from traditional dialogue recording. Based on the learnings from the production of several VR game titles, this talk will discuss an end-to-end workflow of getting dialogue into a VR application. It discusses best-practice techniques with respect to the recording stage. Additionally, all relevant signal paths, such as HRTF processing of the direct sound and reflections, and spatial processing of reverberation are discussed. Particular attention is given to first-person dialogue, which provides an extra challenge, as the lack of proprioception of speech complicates the player's suspension of disbelief that the voice is emanating from themselves. Finally, future improvements and topics for investigation are suggested.

12:35 - 1:30   Wednesday, August 22   Room: Plato   Workshop Session: Dialogue for VR/AR and MPEG-H

Patrick Flangan,  THX Ltd.

TITLE:   MPEG-H for Gaming AR/VR/MR. Using HOA and Objects to deliver immersive audio.

A new way to deliver immersive audio for gaming, VR, AR, and MR. Currently the content available on the market is 3 order Ambisonics at best. Here we present MPEG-H that is capable of delivering up 6th order HOA. A fundamental shift to traditional channel-based audio playback where the device say that you must render to 7.1. In the meantime, all the content is consumed on headphones.

2:30 - 3:25   Wednesday, August 22   Room: Plato   Workshop Session: Environments and Spatial Computing

Anne Heimes, Muhammad Imran and Michael Vorländer,  Institute of Technical Acoustics RWTH Aachen University

TITLE:   Real-Time Implementation of Building Acoustic Auralization for Virtual Reality Environments

We implement a framework for real-time auralization of sound transmission for virtual environments. In Unity 3D, a virtual building is created consisting of a resident flat with different types of building elements. The demo shows real-time airborne sound insulation auralization that comprehends the sound transmission filter for flanking paths of building elements. The insulation filters describe the sound transmission between dwellings by partitions and by flanking structures. The real-time performance of implementation is evaluated in terms of computational costs. Therefore, real-time auralization of virtual buildings is possible for evaluation of acoustics of building structures in immersive manners. This framework allows the users to perform tasks of daily life of work under conditions of usual behavior and movement in virtual reality.

3:35 - 4:30   Wednesday, August 22   Room: Plato   Workshop Session: Environments and Spatial Computing

Anastasia Devana,  Magic Leap

TITLE:   The 4 Domains of Audio in Spatial Computing

Audio techniques for visual media have developed and matured alongside mediums like film, television and video games. Audio professionals in these mediums enjoy established paradigms and sophisticated tools. But the advancement of technologies like Spatial Computing has introduced a brand new medium, with a whole new set of audio challenges, considerations, and possibilities. Creating compelling audio in this medium requires audio designers to change the paradigm or how they think about sound, and to seek out new vocabulary, tools, and processes. In this talk I will introduce the concept of 4 domains of audio, as a prism through which sound designers can address the challenges and take advantage of the unique opportunities of this medium.

5:00 - 5:55   Wednesday, August 22   Room: Plato   Workshop Session: Immersive Audio for VR/AR

Tim Gedemer and Francois LaFleur,  Source Sound, Inc.

TITLE:   Keeping Up With Visual Advances: Creating Innovative Audio for VR/AR - The Struggle is Real

While the world continues to generate copious amounts of traditional audio / video content, the battle to capture future media consumers is on. With higher quality VR/AR/MR experiences being produced every day, audio must keep up it's end of the bargain by providing sound to match stunning visual advances occurring in these new mediums. This must be realized through the continued advancement of audio technology by researchers and product developers, in concert with the application of that technology by the creative minds working in the field. In this series of three case studies: Pixar's Coco VR, Dreamscape's Alien Zoo, and CNN's VR news portal, we share information on technical and creative challenges encountered during each project's spatial audio production.

6:05 - 7:00   Wednesday, August 22   Room: Plato   Workshop Session: Immersive Audio for VR/AR

Varun Nair, Jon Ojeda, Andrew Boyd,  Facebook

TITLE:   Immersive Audio At Facebook

This panel discussion with the Facebook Sound Design and Audio engineering teams will focus on the process of designing audio for immersive media at scale. Four short presentations - sound design process, audio for AR, audio for VR, and audio for 360 media - will be followed by a discussion. The presentations will cover Facebook's unique approach to sound design at scale, lessons in designing immersive audio across a variety of formats and experiences, and the challenges in designing audio at the cutting edge.