Pro Tools for Virtual Reality Asbjoern Andersen


The emergence of virtual reality (VR) means a lot of changes for the way content is created and used. And in this special interview, AVID’s Tony Cariddi shares his insights on what the future holds for creatives using Pro Tools for VR content creation:


Written by Jennifer Walden



New features come with every Pro Tools upgrade, but you always get that one feature that makes you say, “How did I work without this?!” Take Offline Bounce for example. Every Pro Tools user was thanking the audio gurus at AVID for bringing that timesaver into their workflow. I mean really, bouncing stems in real time? Insanity! Now, on the cusp of VR virtually becoming a daily reality, content creators are going to want to work with their favorite audio artists instead of having to choose from the small pool of talent wielding the prototype tools for VR production and post production.

Content creators are going to want to work with their favorite audio artists instead of having to choose from the small pool of talent wielding the prototype tools for VR production and post production.

While many third-party companies have been perfecting their VR workflow solutions, AVID has been busily preparing their Pro Tools platform to be the place where these third-party tools can work together, in an environment that’s comfortable for most audio post pros. We’re all waiting for that Pro Tools upgrade that will make us say, “How did I ever work with VR content without this?!” Tony Cariddi, AVID‘s ‎Director of Product and Solutions Marketing, generously shares some insight into Pro Tools upcoming VR workflow solutions.
 

Audio post pros who are familiar with linear projects, like films or series, may not know what they’re up against in terms of handling post sound on virtual reality projects. Can you explain some of the differences in the Pro Tools workflow for a linear project vs. a VR project?

In the simplest, most fundamental way, in virtual reality you have the viewer interacting with the content rather than just passively watching it or listening to it. Tony Cariddi, AVID‘s ‎Director of Product and Solutions Marketing So that sets up the expectation that the content is going to respond to the interaction in a natural way. For example, when the viewer turns his/her head the expectation is that not only does the picture follow, but the sound is going to follow too. That creates a lot of new challenges.
You are dealing with a lot of new variables. Obviously with the surround and immersive mixes that our customers do today using Dolby Atmos or other multichannel surround formats, they have sounds respond to camera angles and things like that, but in virtual reality it has to be much more fluid. You also have new challenges when dealing with stereo field information, which doesn’t really respond so well with traditional panning in virtual reality. When someone turns his/her head, what do you do with a stereo source? So virtual reality opens up a lot of opportunity for new technology to create natural sounding results, and it also sets up a lot of questions aesthetically, just like surround did.
 

What’s been the biggest challenge so far in designing tools that specifically address VR workflows?

We are looking into support for Ambisonics. We have really strong tools for surround and automation, really advanced tools that give mixers a lot of control over that. Outside of that, as it pertains specifically to virtual reality, most of our efforts at this point are to make sure that our SDKs — our Alliance Partner tools, are strong and exactly what the development community needs in order to integrate their tools into Pro Tools. For almost 30 years we’ve had a very vibrant developer community that has made plug-ins for Pro Tools, and plug-ins for Media Composer.

One of the huge challenges in the industry is that there are so many different tools that it becomes very difficult for the users, whether it’s the facility manager or the actual engineer, to integrate all of these things together

And now more than ever, one of the huge challenges in the industry is that there are so many different tools that it becomes very difficult for the users, whether it’s the facility manager or the actual engineer, to integrate all of these things together. There’s no shortage of companies or individuals that are creating amazing tools to solve these problems. But what they don’t do is make it easy for the user to integrate all of these tools together and make them work together. So a lot of our focus over the past few years has been to develop a really strong platform upon which they can easily integrate these tools. So when a user needs to work on a virtual reality project, we make sure it is super easy to get the plug-in, or get the add-on, and simply start using the professional tools that they’re familiar with, and that it gives them compatibility with the rest of the industry.
 

Are there any specific solutions/tools that AVID is developing for Pro Tools to help audio post pros design and mix for VR?

We’ve been working on Dolby Atmos integration and that’s going to be a big boon for anyone working in virtual reality because you can have control over specific objects across a 64-channel speaker matrix. That gives you a lot of flexibility.

We’ve been working on Dolby Atmos integration and that’s going to be a big boon for anyone working in virtual reality

In addition, we’re looking at supporting Ambisonics natively in Pro Tools. We’re also working closely with gaming developers to ensure better workflow across Pro Tools, middleware, and gaming platforms. Otherwise, we are working to make sure that we have a solid platform to support the third-party developer tools, and making sure those can be integrated into Pro Tools.
 

In the future does AVID see themselves developing reverbs or compressors or EQs that are designed specifically for the virtual reality environment?

I think that’s possible but I can’t speculate on what will happen. But, historically we have developed a core set of tools for new formats as they have evolved and became more prevalent. At the same time, we’ve always ensured strong support for the third-party ecosystem, which is usually more agile to produce these tools because they are smaller companies and they can really focus-in on one single thing. So I can’t give a definitive statement about our future development but I think that it is possible that we may develop something like that in the future.

With Pro Tools, we have an extremely mature platform and strong development tools for third-parties. As the challenges of VR workflows become clearer, to us and to the market, we will need to keep our SDK and Alliance Partner tools updated to make sure that they can hook-in in the right way. So we are continuing to evolve that platform to make sure that the development community has everything that they need to create and integrate the best tools possible.
 


Popular on A Sound Effect right now - article continues below:

 

Latest releases:  
  • The 2015 German MAN Lion’s Coach tourist bus includes 760 clips in 41.05 gigabytes of audio. It features the sound of a 6-cylinder 460 hp Euro 6 diesel engine.

    The collection includes a total of 29 synchronized takes from exterior and onboard microphones. The exterior microphones captured departures, passes, arrivals, ignition, shutting off, idles, and doppler horns from 9 microphones at 4 positions. The onboard microphones were placed inside, at the exhaust, in the engine, the luggage hold, and in the washroom in 15 perspectives (including an Ambisonic perspective) as the coach drives at steady RPMs, with gearshifts, and ramps. Also provided are 4 designed mixes of the interior, exhaust, engine, and luggage compartment.

    The package comes complete with performed effects of doors, wipers, fans, and more, Pro Tools and Reaper mixing sessions, impulse responses, and full Soundminer, BWAV, and MacOS metadata embedded in every clip.

    Add to cart
  • Fight the forces of evil and call upon arcane magic with a heroic protector of your fantasy world! Introducing Epic Stock Media’s new voice sound library “AAA Game Character Wizard”. This sound collection features an ancient male game character hero facing immeasurable odds. He’s a conduit of nature, wields a legendary staff, has magical abilities and enjoys saving the day!

    Library highlights:

    • 13 battle cries and sayings
    • 5 breathing types – exhausted, running, frantic, quiet
    • 16 coughing recordings – sickly, wheezy, deep, short, throat
    • 12 sad cries – short, explosive, pitiful, brokenhearted, sniffling, wailing
    • 108 immersive custom dialogue lines like by fire be purged, I am a servant of the sacred fire
    • 40 fight vocals – big, growl, swing, throw, groan, grunt, quick, painful
    • 25 jumping vocalizations – big, single, double jump, windup, painful
    • 21 Laughing voice files – chuckle, evil, confident, hearty, short, hilarious
    • 37 pain vocals – dying, wounded, hurt, and sayings
    • 107 stock dialogue lines like alright, affirmative, attack, no

    Add to cart
  • Drones & Moods Dare_Small Pack Play Track 50 sounds included, 11 mins total $10

    “Dare” is a small pack of 50 atmospheric elements (WAV, 96kHz/24bit) suited for horror productions.

    Thanks to his dark tone, this library is great to induce tension, fear and oppression in your game, movie or trailer. If you want to evoke the sensation that someone or something is hiding and watching you, this library is great for you.

    The following musical instruments were used to create Dare: An Ukulele, Transverse flutes, a Kalimba and a Melodica.

    Add to cart
  • Ships Container Ship Voyage Play Track 157 sounds included From: $64

    We had the chance to make the crossing of the North Atlantic Ocean on a cargo ship container (ATLANTIC STAR).
    We boarded in the Antwerp industrial port in Belgium, sailed the English Channel, and then stopped at Liverpool’s industrial port.
    Then we crossed the North Atlantic Ocean to reach Halifax, Canada. This trip took us 10 days, 10 days of sounds recording.

    Through this trip, we were able to access places that normally are closed to the public: industrial ports, and a container ship.

    -The completed sound bank (Stereo + Surround-Ambisonic) contains 154 files record in 24 bit / 96 kHz

  • Footsteps Carpet Footwork Play Track 40+ sounds included $10

    ‘Carpet Footwork’ by Badlands Sound includes 40 high-quality footsteps, scrapes, scuffs, jumps audio files perfect for your projects. The library features two different types of shoes on two different surfaces both hard carpet and soft carpet.

    Add to cart

Need specific sound effects? Try a search below:
 

Are there different workflow requirements for virtual reality projects vs. augmented reality projects?

With augmented reality, you typically think of imagery and graphics overlaying reality. With virtual reality, the entire environment is fabricated. With augmented reality, you have an overlay of interactive production material on top of the real world. It’s usually more of a graphic-based medium compared to virtual reality, which require more sound information. So we have augmented reality tools, such as Orad’s RealSet, which are used in the sports production world — producers can superimpose information on the screen, follow players, put three-dimensional objects in a three-dimensional space on existing footage that you can interact with. So we have a very strong set of tools on that side with RealSet and a handful of other products in that category.
 

When it comes designing, mixing, and print mastering for VR, what solutions will AVID/Pro Tools offer audio post pros that will allow them to make a final mix and then get that back into the VR project?

You can do that today. There was a company called Two Big Ears that was acquired by Facebook in the spring. Their product is called Facebook 360 Spatial Workstation, and it enables users to wear a headset and do the mix within Pro Tools.

It enables users to wear a headset and do the mix within Pro Tools

It handles all the final encoding for you and syncs it back to the final video for you when you are done. So you can do the mix while you’re in that immersive format without having to go back and forth. So that technology is here today and it is only going to get better and better. (For more info, you can check out Facebook 360 Spatial Workstation)
 


Travel to Yosemite National Park in VR, thanks to this National Geograhic presentation, created using the Facebook 360 Spatial Workstation suite

 

For many audio post pros, Pro Tools is their defacto DAW. They’re comfortable designing and mixing on that platform…

People doing this work are typically seasoned professionals and they’re going to want to work in a familiar environment they are comfortable with, so that’s what is great about Pro Tools. You have this immersive VR format and emerging technology, and instead of having to utilize completely new tools in a new workstation you aren’t familiar with and don’t have years of muscle memory to take advantage of, you can work in a way that’s familiar and with the same tools.
 

How does Dolby Atmos for VR differ from the Dolby Atmos tools for linear projects?

The tools they are going to manifest in Pro Tools will be pretty similar. Atmos gives you a lot of flexibility to place objects in very distinct places across a 64-speaker matrix.

If you’re in a small room, or living room, or a giant Dolby-spec theater, those mixes will translate better than they ever have before

That scales really nicely; if you’re in a small room, or living room, or a giant Dolby-spec theater, those mixes will translate better than they ever have before. The basis for this technology will impact VR production just the same.You have a lot of objects to work with and move, so the Dolby tools will translate to that format very nicely.
 

Where would AVID like to be with their sound for VR tools 5 years from now?

We try to stay very close to what our customers are up against, to their challenges as they evolve. That evolution is driven by economic factors, and the health of the industry. Sometimes there are technological breakthroughs that help to advance that. But what we want to do is make sure that we continue to stay close to the customers. We want to make sure that as these relatively new workflows are evolving, that we are seeing where the hang-ups are, where the pitfalls are, and find out where we can increase efficiency and enable creativity.

How can we deliver tools that make their jobs faster, especially for tasks that are redundant and menial? How can we speed that up so that our customers can focus on getting a great sounding mix, and getting very creative results? Beyond that, we want to make sure that we are able to support our really strong third-party Alliance Partners who are usually on the forefront of solving a lot of our customers’ challenges too. We want to stay close and partner with our customers, and also with the developers, so that we can create the best workflow experience possible.

A big thanks to Tony Cariddi for this look to the future of VR sound in Pro Tools – and to Jennifer Walden for doing the interview! Learn much more about Pro Tools here

 

Please share this:


 


 
 
THE WORLD’S EASIEST WAY TO GET INDEPENDENT SOUND EFFECTS:
 
A Sound Effect gives you easy access to an absolutely huge sound effects catalog from a myriad of independent sound creators, all covered by one license agreement - a few highlights:
 
 
  • ENFORCER, a bass plug-in that adds irresistible punch, powerful body and a rigorous low-end bass impulse to your samples.
    You can heavily beef up sounds or add only a hint of weight. You can use it as a kick-drum synth, exchange kick drum tails and tune them easily using semitones or you can completely exchange given source sounds.
    ENFORCER – A scalpel for punch with unmatched precision.

    WHAT IS ENFORCER?
    Ever wasted your time adding sub sweeteners to every single shot of a fully automatic weapon? Ever got stuck layering a kick drum with controllable and tunable low-end or enhance live drums with well defined punch? Having a hard time adding steady weight to every single footstep? Look no further, Enforcer is the Swiss Army Knife for punch, low-end, sub power, kick… you name it.

    KEY FEATURES:

    • Add power and punch to your mix
    • Triggered by source audio material – no need to manually synch it to your tracks
    • Trigger can be adjusted with surgical precision – enforce exactly and only what you want
    • Tune kick drums and snares using semitones
    • Duck source frequencies for an absolutely clean & professional mix
    • Easy-to-use bass plug-in


    Updated to version 1.1, which features:

    • A highly requested Midi-mode
    • Phase invert
    • Link hi and lo pitch
    • 15 new presents

    Please note:

    • ENFORCER is a software plugin (VST, AU, AAX) for Windows & Mac. It requires an audio host software, and does not work as a standalone application.
    • ENFORCER works with the most common audio host software apps that support VST 2.4, AU or AAX plugins, such as Logic Pro, Pro Tools (11+), Cubase, Nuendo, Ableton Live, Reaper.
     
    iLok is an industry standard that we use to manage our BOOM Interactive software licenses (Please note: iLok is NOT required to work with our regular BOOM Library Sound FX packs). For ENFORCER, there are two different types of iLok protection available:

    MACHINE LICENSE: This activation option is FREE. You can deposit the software license on the computer where you’re running the software. You don’t need an additional iLok USB device. All you need is a valid account on www.ilok.com and the free iLok license manager software.

    USB-DONGLE: If you already own a 2nd generation or newer portable iLok USB device, you can deposit the license on the device instead of your computer. Please note that a lot of software plug in creators use the iLok system, so if you already own a 2nd generation (or newer) iLok USB device, you don’t need to purchase another one and if you purchase an iLok USB device now you can use it with software from other manufacturers (one iLok to rule them all).

    An iLok device can be purchased directly at ilok.com or – if you want to purchase from outside the USA – here. Additionally, you can get an iLok device from the most music or audio software retailers.

    Add to cart
  • Foley Essential Bodyfalls Play Track 197 sounds included $24

    Essential Bodyfalls offers high quality, detailed and ready to use bodyfalls on a variety of surfaces (dirt, gravel, sand, concrete, metal, grass and wood) with different intensities and variations.

    Great if you need to cover all your bodyfall needs with one library or to add variety to your arsenal (I know you are sick of those Sound Ideas falls).

    Recorded with a Sennheiser MKH 416 @ 24 Bits and 96 KHz.

    Add to cart
  • Whooshes Cinematic Transitions Play Track 110 sounds included $50 $35

    ‘Cinematic Transitions’ by Cinematic Sound Design delivers a collection of more than 100 high-definition, hand-crafted transition sound effects. We have employed a range of techniques in the process of designing this library to deliver this highly usable collection of whooshes, swooshes, flybys, spaceships, snaps, falls, splats, crushes and more. This library serves a wide range of applications, such as film, games, multimedia projects, music productions, podcasts, even company logos.

    30 %
    OFF
    Add to cart
 
Explore the full, unique collection here

Latest sound effects libraries:
 
  • The 2015 German MAN Lion’s Coach tourist bus includes 760 clips in 41.05 gigabytes of audio. It features the sound of a 6-cylinder 460 hp Euro 6 diesel engine.

    The collection includes a total of 29 synchronized takes from exterior and onboard microphones. The exterior microphones captured departures, passes, arrivals, ignition, shutting off, idles, and doppler horns from 9 microphones at 4 positions. The onboard microphones were placed inside, at the exhaust, in the engine, the luggage hold, and in the washroom in 15 perspectives (including an Ambisonic perspective) as the coach drives at steady RPMs, with gearshifts, and ramps. Also provided are 4 designed mixes of the interior, exhaust, engine, and luggage compartment.

    The package comes complete with performed effects of doors, wipers, fans, and more, Pro Tools and Reaper mixing sessions, impulse responses, and full Soundminer, BWAV, and MacOS metadata embedded in every clip.

  • Fight the forces of evil and call upon arcane magic with a heroic protector of your fantasy world! Introducing Epic Stock Media’s new voice sound library “AAA Game Character Wizard”. This sound collection features an ancient male game character hero facing immeasurable odds. He’s a conduit of nature, wields a legendary staff, has magical abilities and enjoys saving the day!

    Library highlights:

    • 13 battle cries and sayings
    • 5 breathing types – exhausted, running, frantic, quiet
    • 16 coughing recordings – sickly, wheezy, deep, short, throat
    • 12 sad cries – short, explosive, pitiful, brokenhearted, sniffling, wailing
    • 108 immersive custom dialogue lines like by fire be purged, I am a servant of the sacred fire
    • 40 fight vocals – big, growl, swing, throw, groan, grunt, quick, painful
    • 25 jumping vocalizations – big, single, double jump, windup, painful
    • 21 Laughing voice files – chuckle, evil, confident, hearty, short, hilarious
    • 37 pain vocals – dying, wounded, hurt, and sayings
    • 107 stock dialogue lines like alright, affirmative, attack, no

  • Drones & Moods Dare_Small Pack Play Track 50 sounds included, 11 mins total $10

    “Dare” is a small pack of 50 atmospheric elements (WAV, 96kHz/24bit) suited for horror productions.

    Thanks to his dark tone, this library is great to induce tension, fear and oppression in your game, movie or trailer. If you want to evoke the sensation that someone or something is hiding and watching you, this library is great for you.

    The following musical instruments were used to create Dare: An Ukulele, Transverse flutes, a Kalimba and a Melodica.

  • Ships Container Ship Voyage Play Track 157 sounds included From: $64

    We had the chance to make the crossing of the North Atlantic Ocean on a cargo ship container (ATLANTIC STAR).
    We boarded in the Antwerp industrial port in Belgium, sailed the English Channel, and then stopped at Liverpool’s industrial port.
    Then we crossed the North Atlantic Ocean to reach Halifax, Canada. This trip took us 10 days, 10 days of sounds recording.

    Through this trip, we were able to access places that normally are closed to the public: industrial ports, and a container ship.

    -The completed sound bank (Stereo + Surround-Ambisonic) contains 154 files record in 24 bit / 96 kHz

  • Footsteps Carpet Footwork Play Track 40+ sounds included $10

    ‘Carpet Footwork’ by Badlands Sound includes 40 high-quality footsteps, scrapes, scuffs, jumps audio files perfect for your projects. The library features two different types of shoes on two different surfaces both hard carpet and soft carpet.

 
FOLLOW OR SUBSCRIBE FOR THE LATEST IN FANTASTIC SOUND:
 
                              
 
GET THE MUCH-LOVED A SOUND EFFECT NEWSLETTER:
 
The A Sound Effect newsletter gets you a wealth of exclusive stories and insights
+ free sounds with every issue:
 
Subscribe here for free SFX with every issue

One thought on “What the future holds for Pro Tools and VR – a Q&A with AVID’s Tony Cariddi:

  1. Interesting read. Their product team taking Ambisonics seriously is a late yet great start. More tracks are already being recorded and mixed in Ambisonics format, especially in Higher Order Ambisonics (HOA), but can’t be easily loaded and processed at the moment as Pro Tools HD limits only 8 channels per track. I believe this has significantly hindered many sound engineers and plugin developers from utilizing Ambisonics. Looking forward to hearing updates on HOA.

    Food for thought. Will Pro Tools update/improve interpolation features for automation any sooner? Angle is one of the most critical parameters for interactive sound to fully implement head rotation and spatial positioning in VR, but it’s not properly addressed by the current version. i.e. if the object doesn’t fall under min and max range, its angle value gets distorted right when it passes 360 and 0 degree :(

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

HTML tags are not allowed.