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Applied Multichannel Recording of a Contemporary Symphony Orchestra for Virtual Reality

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Capturing musical performances for Virtual Reality (VR) is of growing interest to engineers, cultural organisations and the public. The application of ambisonic workflows in conjunction with binauralisation through head related transfer functions enables perception and localisation of sound sources within three dimensional space, crucially enabling height perception. While there are many excellent examples of orchestral recordings in VR, however, few make use of the height perception and favour ‘on stage’ horizontal positioning. This engineering brief presents a contemporary symphony orchestral performance captured with multichannel spot recordings and produced in second order ambisonics in which 51 performers were individually split and positioned across five levels of the performance space. The paper looks to critically discuss the methods employed addressing the workflow through pre-production, capture and post-production.

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