Gareth Fry is an adventurer in sound. He’s a triple Olivier award-winning sound designer, whose credits include the London 2012 Olympic Opening ceremony and Harry Potter and the Cursed Child.
He’s also the man behind the innovative binaural recording in The Discovery Adventures. We asked Gareth to explain what binaural sound is – and how it helps create our podcasts’ unique sense of drama.
WHAT IS BINAURAL SOUND?
Binaural sound describes the way we, as human beings, perceive sound. To put it simply, we have two ears with which we hear – so the ‘bi’ means two and ‘aural’ means sound. We use our two ears to work out the direction of sounds around us and to create a three dimensional sense of space.
HOW DO YOU RECORD BINAURAL SOUND?
We use a special piece of equipment that looks like a mannequin’s head, with a microphone in each ear. So it records sound in the same physical relationship as if we, the listener, had been there ourselves. When we play that recording back our brain creates that same sense of three-dimensional space using the cues in the recordings to work out where all the sounds are.
HOW DOES BINAURAL SOUND ENHANCE THE LISTENING EXPERIENCE OF THE DISCOVERY ADVENTURES?
Recording binaurally on-location gives us a real sense of panorama, of landscape and our place within it, because binaural microphones pick up everything around us. So it really allows us to imagine we’re part of the story, in the heart of the action. To feel like we're actually experiencing the places we visit on our adventures.
WHAT OTHER EMERGING SOUND TECHNOLOGIES ARE YOU EXCITED ABOUT?
There’s a lot of exciting technology emerging from the audio worlds of Virtual Reality and video games. These platforms tend to be about allowing the listener to explore a world rather than necessarily experience a linear narrative. These allow people to be much more active agents in these stories.
Land Rover presents The Discovery Adventures.
Available now on Apple Podcast, Acast, Spotify and other podcast apps.
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