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Using Immersive Audio in Podcast Production

Vaudeville Sound takes an immersive approach to the Amazing War Stories podcast, taking listeners from the living room to the front lines.

London, UK (November 5, 2020)—Amazing War Stories, a new UK podcast focused on retelling true stories of World War II, aims to raise money to aid historic museums affected by COVID-19 restrictions. Helping raise the podcast’s profile is its immersive sound, intended to transport listeners from their living room to the front lines. Creating that enveloping sense of place is sound design and mix company Vaudeville Sound.

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The UK/US/Canadian company makes use of binaural audio technology for the podcast. As the shows were being compiled during lockdown, the voice recording and mix sessions were run remotely. Live output of the mix was shared with the director so the team could run through mix notes and make changes on the fly. Avid Pro Tools was used to edit and mix all shows, making use of an array of plug-ins and software tools from Nugen Audio, Noise Makers, Zynaptic and Blue Ripple Sound.

Luke Hatfield, group head of Sound at Vaudeville Sound
Luke Hatfield, group head of Sound at Vaudeville Sound Debs

Aiming to provide “film level” sound design, Vaudeville saw it was vital to use the correct sounds not just to drive the story but to be accurate to the various military equipment being discussed. “We feel podcasting as a platform really lends itself to 3D immersive sound, as many listeners consume programs with headphones,” said Luke Hatfield, group head of Sound at Vaudeville Sound. “The binaural aspect really enhances the effect of a scene where we have a distant MG suddenly jump to the 10 o’clock position, and bullet impacts flying up all around us.”

“The sounds needed to be very focused and clear in the mix to tell the story to avoid single, literal sounds,” added Hatfield. “In the trailer, an MG42 is mentioned, but instead of just hearing an MG42, the listener hears it close up, as if the film camera is with the Germans firing on the Allied forces. The audio then cuts to the opposite perspective of the Allied troops to hear a distant MG42 and all the dirt being kicked up by the bullet impacts, ricochets and more. Many people haven’t experienced 3D audio in this context before, so it’s really exciting that these techniques are being used on the podcast platform, as it really works in enhancing the listening experience.”

Vaudeville Sound •

Amazing War Stories •