Short courses


360 Spatial Audio Production: an Introduction

  • 10 hours
  • 5 evenings (7pm to 9pm) - over 5 weeks
  • 14 Oct 2019


In this practical evening course you'll learn how to create soundtracks for 360 degree videos.

It covers all aspects of 360 spatial audio recording, mixing, and exporting for delivery on multiple platforms such as Youtube, Facebook, and virtual reality head mounted displays.

You'll learn:

  • practical techniques to capture spatial audio, using industry-standard tools including Sennheiser microphones, Zoom field recorders, the Facebook 360 suite of audio tools and Reaper digital audio workstation
  • how to record, edit and mix ambisonic spatial audio before combining the finished mix with a 360 video, ready for delivery

The course involves lectures and practical exercises, with an emphasis on helping you create a finished project as quickly as possible.

Sessions are held on Monday evenings, from 7pm to 9pm, over five weeks (14 October to 11 November 2019.

This course is run by the Open City Docs School, based in UCL's Department of Anthropology.

Course content

Each session will cover the following:

Session 1 - Fundamental concepts of spatial audio

  • Basics of human hearing and psychoacoustics
  • Key differences between spatial and traditional audio
  • Ambisonics and other spatial formats
  • Learning how to identify 'good' and 'bad' spatial audio
  • Critical listening exercises and understanding what the medium can offer
  • Using 360 audio as a creative storytelling tool for increased immersion

    Session 2 - Recording audio for 360 video

    • Onset, wild-track, and spatial sound design techniques (Sound Particles)
    • A-Format, lapel radio microphones and using field recorders
    • Spatial foley recording
    • Use of voiceover and headlocked stereo (diegetic versus non-diegetic)

      Session 3 - Editing and manipulating 360 audio

      • Introduction to editing spatial audio with Reaper (digital audio workstation)
      • Introduction to the Facebook Audio 360 Spatial Workstation suite of plugins and tools

        Session 4 - Spatial mixing, immersive sound design, music and headlocked stereo

        • Spatial mixing and automation in Reaper
        • Immersive sound design techniques and resources
        • Use of reverberation for increased realism
        • Basics of binaural headphone delivery and speaker arrays

          Session 5 - Exporting, encoding, and muxing for delivery

          • Exporting master audio mixes from Reaper
          • Target output levels, optimisation, and good monitoring practices
          • Encoding and muxing (putting together audio and video) for multiple delivery platforms including Youtube, Facebook, and virtual reality head mounted displays
          • Uploading, sideloading and checking before final delivery
          • Future developments and ways to stay current

            Who this course is for

            To attend this course you should have some filmmaking knowledge or previous audio engineering knowledge.

            Learning outcomes

            By the end of the course you should:

            • be familiar with the basic concepts and advantages of spatial audio and commonly used terminology
            • understand the different approaches required for producing audio for 360 video
            • be able to use the Facebook 360 workstation to edit audio to fit with a 360 video
            • be able to use Reaper to edit audio, automate an audio source to follow an object within a 360 video, and implement room simulation 
            • load a completed video onto a virtual reality head mounted displays, Facebook and Youtube, and understand the variations between the platforms and how to ensure the finished product performs optimally on each platform

            Cost and concessions

            This course fees are:

            • £300 - full price (external applicants who aren't students)
            • £275 - external students
            • £250 - UCL students

            Course team

            Jack Reynolds

            Jack Reynolds

            Jack is a specialist 360 audio engineer at SohoVR, CEO of Reynolds Microphones, musician and sound designer. He's president of the UCL Audio Engineering Society.

            Axel Drioli

            Axel Drioli

            Axel is a freelance immersive audio designer and producer. He's worked on international 360 and VR projects. Recent clients include Mixed Immersion, Visualise, Picture this Production, 1.618 digital, Pebble Studios. He's currently tutoring at UCL at the MA Immersive Factual Storytelling course.

            Axel will run the last two weeks of the course.

            Course information last modified: 9 Sep 2019, 14:07