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C-Flat360 | 3D Classical Music & Spatial Audio

Simon Brooksbank / 9 months ago

C-Flat360 is a 360 VR production company based in Prague, Czech Republic who's goal is to expose classical music to the world through 360 VR and spatial audio. During the summer of 2020 they produced a new series of classical performance pieces in 8K 3D with spatial audio, available for license exclusively on Blend Media.

What is your background and how did you to get into 360 VR?

We have both worked for over two decades in the audio-video business. Petr, as a sound designer, sound engineer, composer and musician, and Jan as a production manager and producer. Petr started his professional career graduating from the Film and TV Academy of Preforming Arts in Prague. Jan produced hundreds of TV spots for lots of international clients and for many advertising agencies. He was also involved in a lot of TV series, documentaries, and events.

We have both worked together on many projects in the past. So, when we found out that it was possible to integrate spatial audio with 360 VR, we naturally decided to work together. We started to live a life of Alice in Wonderland, spending a lot of time exploring the possibilities of 360 VR and bringing our amazing experiences to our viewers/listeners and classical music lovers.

During the summer of 2020 you recorded your second series of performance pieces in 360. How did you go about selecting the music to record and why?

We wanted to keep on with chamber music. Beside the string quartet with which we have great experiences, we also wanted to try other chamber music formations - various duos and a wind quintet. This was also the first time we used vocals. The repertoire was selected in close cooperation with the artists, what they like to perform or what they actually practiced etc. We chose mainly, let’s say, “the mainstream of the classics”. Also I'd like to mention our close cooperation with the Musical Academy of Performing Arts in Prague, especially in questions of artistic direction. What’s more: we have wild plans for the future - we’d like to bring a full orchestra to virtual reality. Won't be easy, but what if? Honestly, first of all it would be really expensive:)

The locations you filmed the performances in are fabulous and unique, can you tell us more about them and why you chose those particular locations?

Generally speaking, although this is classical music we are talking about, we don't want to underrate the visual part, since we find ourselves in a 3D VR environment. Most importantly, we want the experience to be as complex as possible. Therefore we scout for unusual and eye-catching locations that also communicate with the very music. In our newest set of clips, we chose two different places: one is the Chateau Ploskovice - those historical interiors simply go well with the classical music - and the other, industrial one, is the historical waste water plant in Prague which, in turn, creates a nice contrast to our music. I’d like to bring the attention to all the different aspects that we have to take in account in the location choice: not only each location has its particular style and mood, but also specific technical properties such as acoustic conditions, lighting - that we fine-tune with filming light design, temperature and humidity, all of which play a part in the shaping of the final result.

"our aim is to bring the best we can - from the technical side (both audio and visual) and also from the artistic side - music, artists, locations. Professionally, we grew in the advertising filming business so this is our natural way of working."

This new series of films were filmed in 8K Stereoscopic (3D), why did you choose that format and resolution and what camera did you use to film?

It's simple - we want to bring the best experience possible and there is nothing better available in the market than 8K/3D. The camera we used was the INSTA360 PRO2. We also had a special audio setup - a whole collection of hi-end microphones and a separate audio recorder. 

Did shooting in 8K add more stress to the production process?

The shooting itself was not much more complicated than usual. The real challenge, which made the whole production far, far more exhausting was the entire post-production process - cleaning of the stereoscopic 3D image, an incredible amount of stitching, handling a huge amount of data... we had to hire two visual production companies at a time to do all this most painful and detailed job. But it's all good... our aim is to bring the best we can - from the technical side (both audio and visual) and also from the artistic side - music, artists, locations. Professionally, we grew in the advertising filming business so this is our natural way of working.

Do you believe 360 VR in music is a better way to engage with your views than more traditional formats? Do you believe you are able to evoke more emotion this way?

We don't know for certain that 360 VR is generally better for presenting music but it is definitely another step further in terms of delivery possibilities and it has its own great advantages. Primarily, it can offer the viewer unusual perspectives of artists playing instruments. It can transport the viewer right to the centre of the orchestra which would be a pretty unique experience in real life. Also, thanks to our way of shooting, it is possible to show musical performances from the conductor’s perspective for example. It also helps viewers to get a deeper understanding of what music is all about and what’s exactly going on during the live act.

You use spatial audio audio very well in your productions. What is spatial audio? How is this able to further immerse your audience?

Spatial audio simply means that audio reacts the same way as a video in VR. When you move your head during one of our 360 VR videos, the sound in the headphones changes accordingly to which direction you move your head. The delivery of sound in the headphones is similar to that which you would experience in the real world, where you can localise all of the sound elements surrounding you. 

In our 360 VR productions we are able to separate out the individual instruments/players with the use of spatial audio. As a result, the listener is able to perceive the different instrument sounds in a much clearer and richer way and therefore it triggers more emotional impact.

This way of presenting music is not limited to classical music only and can bring the right impact to any live music

If you would like to find out more about C-Flat360 check out their collection here and if you would like to license any of their videos from the Blend platform then please get in touch with us at: licensing@blend.media