So today I decided to try a little experiment with a technique i’ve been thinking about for a while; worldizing, as it’s called in film, or re-amping. This is the process by which pre-recorded sounds are played back in a ‘real world’ environment, in order to capture them in a specific reverberant space. For example, this was done a lot (to my knowledge) on games like Battlefield, whereby pre-recorded relatively dry sounds were played back in rooms, warehouses and exterior locations, in order to capture the sonic footprint of that space.
I’m currently planning a new sound re-design video from a popular wartime based game, and i’m hoping to invest into a more ‘realistic’ sound for it, much like the sound approach on Saving Private Ryan and other war movies. I’ve noted that a lot of that ‘real’ sound comes from this re-amping technique, with the reverb of a space directly influencing the sound of a gun, for example, or an aircraft overhead. I’m looking to build the sound of a battlefield from scratch for my re-design, and this comes as something of a challenge, especially when focusing on a ‘realistic’ soundscape. The player audio is less difficult, as it’s fairly dry – but sounds of the environment and NPC’s (gunfire, explosions, vehicles, foley, aircraft etc) has to be mixed in a way that sounds distant.
I decided to try the re-amping technique to liven up some gun recordings, and used my garden as the recording space. The loudest speaker I have access to is my studio monitors, so I lugged one out into the garden and set up a pair of 414’s in the A/B configuration on omni about 4/5 meters away from it.
Luckily, I didn’t blow my monitor (although the woofer did take a beating) and I also didn’t get any law enforcement knocking on my door. What I did get, was some pretty cool sounding, beefy, recordings. I used some of The Recordist‘s free weapon sounds, and played them out from the top of my garden and captured the sound at the bottom.
The results are surprisingly cool, some of the pre-recorded sounds really hitting the spot in terms of exciting the space, others not so much. Interestingly, some of the quieter gunfire recordings actually resulted in a better re-amped sound, likely because they allowed more of the sonic character of the space hit the mics (as opposed to them just being battered by the loud signal of the gun). I think all of the recordings I made are certainly very usable, possibly for layering into other gunfire recordings and possibly on their own for the ‘distant’ sound I was talking about. I’ve put together a selection of clips of different gunfire recordings captured at different distances in my garden. My favorites are the last two, they really capture the sound I was looking for from this experiment. These are, as usual, raw from the recorder – not processing done other than cutting the clips together. Its been limited a bit by soundcloud, but be aware it’s still quite loud.
That’s it for now! Thanks for reading, I’ll be back again soon with more cool stuff.