Audio 360: Facebook Brings Spatial Audio to 360-Degree Videos

Facebook is bringing 360-degree audio to its 360-degree videos.

Facebook is bringing 360-degree audio to its 360-degree videos.

Oculus VR product manager Abesh Thakur and Facebook technical lead Varun Nair announced the launch of Audio 360 in a blog post, describing it as “a suite of tools including the Spatial Workstation which enable creators to publish 360 videos with spatial audio on News Feed.”

Audio 360 was launched Friday for 360 videos on News Feed in Facebook’s flagship iOS and Android applications, Chrome on desktop and Samsung Gear VR, bringing spatial surround sound to those videos.

Thakur and Nair described spatial audio as follows:

Think of spatial audio as 3-D sound for 360 videos. It’s an immersive sphere of audio meant to replicate how humans hear sound in real life, but delivered over headphones. As audiences move around in a 360 video, the sound moves around with them, helping to place them in the context of the scene.

They also provided information for video creators looking to incorporate Audio 360:

To enable spatial audio within a 360 video, creators will either need to record audio with an ambisonic microphone—a microphone that records directional audio—or simply use existing monoscopic and stereoscopic audio tracks along with Facebook’s free 360 Spatial Workstation tools to edit the audio in post-production. Our tools enable creators to sync their audio with what viewers see in a 360 video’s field of view. Check out our video tutorials for a step-by-step guide to editing the audio tracks.

Once the audio has been edited, 360 creators can use the Encoder (a tool for processing your video for output) that comes with the Spatial Workstation suite to mix the 3-D and 2-D audio tracks with their 360 video. The Encoder will automatically add the metadata needed to share the 360 video on Facebook.

Finally, Thakur and Nair provided examples of Audio 360 in videos (embedded below) from President Barack Obama and Mariachi Flor de Toloache.

Readers: What are your initial thoughts on Audio 360?

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Fuerza Imprevista

Put yourself in the middle of a modern mariachi show by Latin Grammy award-winners Mariachi Flor de Toloache. With the new spatial audio done in the Facebook 360 Spatial Workstation, the sound follows you around the room with real-time spatial audio. Listen over a normal pair of headphones on Facebook 360 for Android and GearVR today – with iOS and Chrome on Desktop to follow in a couple of weeks.

Posted by JauntVR on Tuesday, September 20, 2016

SpatialWorkstation David Cohen is editor of Adweek's Social Pro Daily.