Today we are going to dream a little. Surely you’ve heard of “8D audios”, those audios that when you listen to them through headphones, it seems that the sound effects are coming from different places. There is a well-known person who takes us to a hairdresser and the truth is that the result is fascinating because it really gives the feeling that we are there listening to how the hairstylist cuts our ends. The question is:what are we waiting for to use this technique in audiobooks?
Usually 8D audio they try to fascinate us by taking us to common places that we all know, like a barber shop or a room where things happen. But the crumb is that these 8D audios have huge potential, but huge, tell stories. Imagine how fantastic it would be to hear the tale of the battle from “Helm’s Deep” (“The Lord of the Rings”, to the ignorant) as you hear the swords collide, the arrows buzz and the orcs s’ approach. My God, my hair just hangs down when I think about it.
How does it work not so magical black magic
First, let’s talk a bit about what this 8D audio is. It is a very explosive name for the audio holophonique and it’s a pretty old technique. Its origins date back to the 1970s and its creation is attributed to Hugo Zuccarelli, an Argentine chemical engineer who sought to understand how the eardrum is able to locate ambient sound.
Some time ago my partner Enrique published an article explaining everything in depth and I invite you to take a look at it to understand the more technical part. In this text, and so that it does not extend much, we will see it above for understand how it works and how this effect is achieved.
In a nutshell, 8D audio changes various audio settings to trick our brain. Our brains use the time difference, varying sound pressure level, and varying frequencies to identify the location of a sound source. If these parameters are changed, the brain becomes unloaded and understands that sounds come from different places. This way you can modify an audio to use the same settings that a rear audio would have, and so the magic appears.
Having said that, it sounds simple, something anyone could do in 10 minutes with Audacity, well, yes and no. To achieve a realistic effect, it takes time and material under conditions, but like everything in this life, ” There is an application for that “. Jaime Altozano, the famous music youtuber, has a tutorial on his channel where he explains how to get it with Reaper and a Sennheiser plugin, both free.
And now that we know what this technique is and how it works, it’s time to ask ourselves why we haven’t seen it in audiobooks. Obviously in a scientific essay we won’t be using it, but we will think for a second about the potential that you have in historical novels, horror novels or any novel based on a franchise called “Star Wars”.
I’ll give you a simple example of any thriller. The protagonist is locked in a tiny cell. Beside, another person sobbing and talking, locked in another cell. We know that inside the cell there is a pipe, that the kidnapper’s footsteps can be heard when he approaches and, at one point in the scene, our protagonist knocks several times on the metal door.
Imagine for a moment that the narrator tells us while we listen to these sound effects. The drop that falls from the pipe and hits the ground just below us, the metal door that rings right in front of us when we touch it, the one to the next cell crying and scratching the wall, the kidnapper steps up and approaches from our door … The story itself already captures us, but with the right sound effects and well timed, would range from capture to immersion, to come in, be there and take off my headphones while I recover from the fear that was about to occur.
More Examples, a war novel in which a shootout between two rival sides is described. The typical paragraph of “bullets hissing above their heads as landmines decimate the advancing tank squadron to the right” quite a sound show. The narrator tells us what happens when the sound of the bullets travels very quickly back and forth over our heads, as we hear a distant explosion to the right and a few steps behind us from the rest of the soldiers. moving in the trench.
Imagine what it would be like to listen to “A Song of Ice and Fire” accompanied by the sounds of dragons, arrows and swords; or great classics like ‘1984’ while listening to the voice of Big Brother; or thematic novels like those of “Star Wars”, in which we could hear the lightsabers buzz in front of us. The possibilities are huge and, at least to me, it would seem a lot more interesting to hear a story than to do it with one voice.
This is something that we have seen in some video games. It’s not exactly the same, but it goes in those directions. An example would be “Hellblade: Senua’s Sacrifice”, a fabulous story in which we play a Celtic warrior suffering from psychosis. The “Furies”, voices that echo in his head, accompany us through history and if we play with headphones, we will listen to them left and right, all the time, each with their own tone and way of speaking, and it makes you immerse yourself a lot more in the story, in the way the protagonist feels and in what it means to have a psychosis.
The potential, as I said, is huge, but there is a problem. Audiobooks tend to be long and multi-part in different settings, so add realistic holophonic sound for the 11:48 hours of an audiobook like “Red Queen”. it is simply a task entrusted to him by Homer. But if you think about it, when the Lumière brothers screened the video of the train arriving at La Ciotat station in 1895, it also seemed impossible to add 5.1 sound to a two and a half hour film.
Technology is evolving a lot, and here we have animated movies, realistic CGIs and chroma, which allow transport the viewer to unimaginable places from the comfort of your sofa. Who knows? Maybe in the future we will read this text and ask “but were audiobooks really just a flat voice before?” »Ready to dream, let’s dream big, right?
This article is part of a weekly section by Jose García dedicated to approaching technology from a more relaxed, personal and informal perspective that we post in SamaGame every Saturday.