What are your thoughts on surround music in movies?

Discussion of music production, audio, equipment and any related topics, either with or without Ableton Live
sporkles
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What are your thoughts on surround music in movies?

Post by sporkles » Thu Jan 09, 2014 7:47 pm

I'm not sure if I can make up my mind myself; a part of me thinks it's silly and unnecessary (probably the same part of me that finds stereo manageable and multi-channel intimidating). The other part of me thinks that in modern film soundtracks, the line between FX/sound design and music is quite blurry. I'm really curious to hear your thoughts on this. Could you find yourself thinking "having that trumpet come from behind totally MADE this movie, man!"? Or do you rather think that the music doesn't need to surround you and that it may in fact be distracting?

I don't know if I'm just a nay-sayer, but I find things like 3D glasses and Dolby Atmos to be nothing but gimmicky fads designed to keep gadget-crazy consumers interested. Basic surround is great, but do we need 64 channels to convince the audience that a bullet is passing by?

I digress, but this is where I'm coming from. So, just to recap: is stereo enough for the music track? (And will Ableton introduce surround support ... ever?)

Actually: does anyone think that music in general needs more than two channels?

beats me
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Re: What are your thoughts on surround music in movies?

Post by beats me » Thu Jan 09, 2014 8:07 pm

Gimmicky? Perhaps. But I don’t think it’s a fad. I don’t think anybody is going to get all retro and long for the days when movies were just in stereo.

I have 5 speakers hooked up for our surround sound in our living room but I put zero effort into making sure they’re optimized for the room as far as placement. Actually, scratch that. The receiver came with a microphone I placed in the best center viewing position and with a single click of a button the receiver pinged the microphone from all the speakers and adjusted them for the best listening experience. That’s close to zero effort. I just wasn’t running around the room with tape measures and a compass.

I probably wouldn’t care if I didn’t do that, but I do get a little moment of excitement when something is happening to the left rear of me in the movie and it comes out of the speakers appropriately.

oblique strategies
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Re: What are your thoughts on surround music in movies?

Post by oblique strategies » Thu Jan 09, 2014 8:51 pm

Surround sound & spatialized audio are just more tools. When used in the right hands wondrous things can be created.

Same goes for 3D. I'd rather it exist as a viable commercial possibility that allows for a few great 3D flicks to be made, rather than the previous decades when no one had the opportunity to experiment with the process.

I work in quad spatialzed sound, & it is wonderful to be completely immersed in the sound field. Fun too! :wink:

Ableton allows for surround sound via a cobbled together system which is greatly enhanced by Max for Live.

My thoughts about audio in movies: music & sound are often WAY TOO LOUD in comparison with dialog: it's completely out of balance. That said, I love the movie sound/music/dialog combination: really intriguing & powerful audio worlds.

re:dream
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Re: What are your thoughts on surround music in movies?

Post by re:dream » Thu Jan 09, 2014 8:56 pm

Me, I am waiting for wave field synthesis

oblique strategies
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Re: What are your thoughts on surround music in movies?

Post by oblique strategies » Thu Jan 09, 2014 9:03 pm

The Finn wrote:Me, I am waiting for wave field synthesis
Very interesting. Thank you for this.

The number of speakers utilized reminds me of Audium in San Francisco:

"Audium is the only theatre of its kind in the world, pioneering the exploration of space in music. The theatre's 176 speakers bathe listeners in sounds that move past, over, and under them. "Sound sculptures" are performed in darkness in the 49-seat theatre."

Image

Tone Deft
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Re: What are your thoughts on surround music in movies?

Post by Tone Deft » Thu Jan 09, 2014 9:16 pm

sporkles wrote:I'm not sure if I can make up my mind myself; a part of me thinks it's silly and unnecessary (probably the same part of me that finds stereo manageable and multi-channel intimidating). The other part of me thinks that in modern film soundtracks, the line between FX/sound design and music is quite blurry. I'm really curious to hear your thoughts on this. Could you find yourself thinking "having that trumpet come from behind totally MADE this movie, man!"? Or do you rather think that the music doesn't need to surround you and that it may in fact be distracting?

I don't know if I'm just a nay-sayer, but I find things like 3D glasses and Dolby Atmos to be nothing but gimmicky fads designed to keep gadget-crazy consumers interested. Basic surround is great, but do we need 64 channels to convince the audience that a bullet is passing by?

I digress, but this is where I'm coming from. So, just to recap: is stereo enough for the music track? (And will Ableton introduce surround support ... ever?)

Actually: does anyone think that music in general needs more than two channels?
dumb ass heathen. :roll:

edit - my head asploded with this one...
Last edited by Tone Deft on Thu Jan 09, 2014 10:18 pm, edited 1 time in total.
oddstep wrote:I agree with all of this. I'm just bored of writing "its music, just listen and trust your judgement"

beats me
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Re: What are your thoughts on surround music in movies?

Post by beats me » Thu Jan 09, 2014 9:18 pm

oblique strategies wrote:
The Finn wrote:Me, I am waiting for wave field synthesis
Very interesting. Thank you for this.

The number of speakers utilized reminds me of Audium in San Francisco:

"Audium is the only theatre of its kind in the world, pioneering the exploration of space in music. The theatre's 176 speakers bathe listeners in sounds that move past, over, and under them. "Sound sculptures" are performed in darkness in the 49-seat theatre."

Image
8O

That looks/sounds cool. And in my own backyard. If my backyard was 45 miles in length.

Out of curiosity since you work in surround how hard or easy is it to fuck up a surround mix when it’s played back in stereo?

oblique strategies
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Re: What are your thoughts on surround music in movies?

Post by oblique strategies » Thu Jan 09, 2014 9:52 pm

beats me wrote:
8O

That looks/sounds cool. And in my own backyard. If my backyard was 45 miles in length.
It is! Check it out while it still exists; it's been around for decades, & who knows it's fate?

beats me wrote: Out of curiosity since you work in surround how hard or easy is it to fuck up a surround mix when it’s played back in stereo?
Well, let's see if I can answer this properly.

I don't work in, or save to a specific 5.1 surround file format, since Live doesn't support this.

My source soundfiles are mono & stereo. I mix them to the four speakers using Sends & Returns controlled by Max for Live for spatialization, or manually.

To collapse a quad mix to stereo simply means remixing it. Far more often I'm expanding a stereo mix to quad.

stringtapper
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Re: What are your thoughts on surround music in movies?

Post by stringtapper » Thu Jan 09, 2014 9:57 pm

sporkles wrote:Actually: does anyone think that music in general needs more than two channels?
Well I think first of all you have to realize that multi-channel music existed long before it made its way into cinema.

Electroacoustic composers have been creating 4- and 8-channel pieces for decades.
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stringtapper
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Re: What are your thoughts on surround music in movies?

Post by stringtapper » Thu Jan 09, 2014 10:00 pm

The Finn wrote:Me, I am waiting for wave field synthesis
Another technique prefigured by electroacoustic composers.

See Edgard Varèse's premiere of his Poème électronique in the Philips Pavillion at the 1958 World's Fair using around 350 speakers throughout the listening space.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poème_électronique

Edit: seems the new auto-URL feature that popped up recently can't deal with diacritics.
Last edited by stringtapper on Thu Jan 09, 2014 10:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Valiumdupeuple
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Re: What are your thoughts on surround music in movies?

Post by Valiumdupeuple » Thu Jan 09, 2014 10:04 pm

I've seen Gravity 3D in a Dolby atoms system theatre.
The "Dolby Atmos" logo was incredible.

beats me
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Re: What are your thoughts on surround music in movies?

Post by beats me » Thu Jan 09, 2014 10:12 pm

oblique strategies wrote:
beats me wrote:
8O

That looks/sounds cool. And in my own backyard. If my backyard was 45 miles in length.
It is! Check it out while it still exists; it's been around for decades, & who knows it's fate?

beats me wrote: Out of curiosity since you work in surround how hard or easy is it to fuck up a surround mix when it’s played back in stereo?
Well, let's see if I can answer this properly.

I don't work in, or save to a specific 5.1 surround file format, since Live doesn't support this.

My source soundfiles are mono & stereo. I mix them to the four speakers using Sends & Returns controlled by Max for Live for spatialization, or manually.

To collapse a quad mix to stereo simply means remixing it. Far more often I'm expanding a stereo mix to quad.

Got it. I know some artists dabble in surround but it also plays fine in stereo, wasn’t sure if they had to do something differently when mixing to make both work.

stringtapper wrote:
The Finn wrote:Me, I am waiting for wave field synthesis
Another technique prefigured by electroacoustic composers.

See Edgard Varèse's premiere of his Poème électronique in the Philips Pavillion at the 1958 World's Fair using around 350 speakers throughout the listening space.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poème_électronique

Edit: seems the new auto-URL feature that popped up recently can't deal with diacritics.

That’s making me think of a really fucked up scare experience for Halloween. Pack a bunch of people into a dimly lit room with speakers all over and the only scares are obnoxiously loud noises coming out of the speakers randomly. :lol:

oblique strategies
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Re: What are your thoughts on surround music in movies?

Post by oblique strategies » Thu Jan 09, 2014 10:26 pm

beats me wrote: Got it. I know some artists dabble in surround but it also plays fine in stereo, wasn’t sure if they had to do something differently when mixing to make both work.
I've wondered about programs that have a 5.1 soundfile option, & how they manage a stereo conversion. Guess I'll find out if Ableton ever adopts this.
beats me wrote:That’s making me think of a really fucked up scare experience for Halloween. Pack a bunch of people into a dimly lit room with speakers all over and the only scares are obnoxiously loud noises coming out of the speakers randomly. :lol:
You can make parts of the house vibrate in sympathy using 'structure borne sound' rather than airborne sound by playing their resonate frequencies through speakers placed facing at the walls or floors.

Everyday is Halloween at my house! :mrgreen:

beats me
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Re: What are your thoughts on surround music in movies?

Post by beats me » Thu Jan 09, 2014 10:36 pm

oblique strategies wrote:Everyday is Halloween at my house! :mrgreen:

In that regard I’m way more of a lighting person, but that’s probably also because I live in an apartment. I would feel like I achieved greatness if I got a lighting complaint notice from management. :wink:

oblique strategies
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Re: What are your thoughts on surround music in movies?

Post by oblique strategies » Thu Jan 09, 2014 10:38 pm

beats me wrote:I would feel like I achieved greatness if I got a lighting complaint notice from management. :wink:
:lol:

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