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Sculpting sound with new 3D audio tools

The EU-funded BINCI project is already trialling new 3D audio tools, taking sound to a whole new level for the creative industries and ultimately consumers.

The EU-funded BINCI project has announced that project partners will trial, for the first time, early-stage experimental technology (the assembly referred to as a Sfëar set-up) with professional end-users at the MainBerlin studios, in Berlin. The project is also actively seeking feedback from content creators throughout the development phases for requirements gathering and testing. To further boost development, BINCI has been recognised by the EU’s VERTIGO initiative as an R&D host project to be supported in offering artistic residencies, set up to enable the cross-pollination of innovations between creative and technology experts. BINCI was set up to deliver 3D audio tools supporting the creative industries to enhance user experience through the creation of next generation media content, for platforms such as video games or virtual reality. The project offers an integrated software and hardware approach to improve the production, post-production and distribution of audio content, with 3D audio promising new freedom for more true-to-life, immersive experiences. Pioneering a new artistic language When people perceive sound it seems to flow in time and space around the listener in a 3D manner. This is achievable by taking into account a number of binaural cues. We can detect the number, direction and distance of sounds, as well as location type (e.g. inside or outside), while discriminating against sources filtering some out to prioritise others. The greater control afforded by 3D audio engineering over the movement and position of sounds, melodies and rhythms, holds out new creative possibilities which also expands the listener’s musical experiences. Taking the example of orchestral performances, 3D audio tools allow artists to alter the relative position of instruments, giving users a range of acoustic effects. This can enable them to emphasise certain instruments, for example. As the 3D audio process has been likened to that of developing a new programming language, the project has had its work cut out to design an intuitive application for producers less inclined towards technical, and more towards creative skill-sets. The team has achieved the first step in the process of delivering a tool which is of high technical quality, will improve workflows, with intuitive usability, while retaining over-all cost-effectiveness. As this is cutting-edge technology, there is obviously little prior research to draw on for guidance. The BINCI (Binaural Tools for the Creative Industries) project team tackles these challenges through industry collaboration, with the project consortium comprising a range of state-of-the-art European companies representing the gamut of 3D audio expertise. To cater for consumer as well as producer needs, the project will create experimental audioguides for three tourist sites: Sagrada Familia (Spain), Opera Garnier (France) and Bayerische Staatsgemäldesammlungen – Pinakotheken (Germany) showcasing to over 500 site visitors. BINCI anticipates the technology will generate EUR 10-20 million of direct and indirect business from this sector. For more information, visit: project website



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