Why Spatial Audio is a Big Deal for Google Cardboard – Wired Quotes Mark Bolas

Published: January 18, 2016
Category: News

A story about Google Cardboard’s new ability to support spatial audio quotes Mark Bolas on the importance of sound in both traditional film making and in the emerging medium of virtual reality.
“Audio is as important as it has always been,” says Mark Bolas, director of the Mixed Reality Laboratory at USC’s Institute of Creative Technology (ICT). “It helps drive the emotional arc of an experience, offering the ability to foreshadow and support the story without anyone knowing it was there.”
According to the article, audio design may be more important to VR than traditional film, because the viewer also is the director. The story changes depending upon where the viewer looks, and directional audio cues can help guide the experience. Plus, VR is intended to be as realistic and immersive as possible. Audio that doesn’t act the way it should—or the way the viewer expects it to—can ruin the experience.
“The sense of immersion requires a certain minimal level of support, for example a wide field of view, without which the experience just does not click,” Bolas explains. “After that threshold is crossed, then additional improvements to the medium provide additional richness of experience… Good audio combines with immersive graphics in an almost synesthetic way to enable transformational immersion.”