Computer models used recordings of a live concert held at the cathedral and detailed acoustic simulations of the hall to produce a new kind of experience for the audience: a virtual recreation of the live performance using spatial audio and virtual reality.
Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris has a phantom orchestra that performs constantly, thanks to a sophisticated and multidisciplinary acoustic research project.
In the project, computer models use recordings of a live concert held at the cathedral and detailed acoustic simulations of the hall to produce a new kind of experience for the audience: a virtual recreation of the live performance at the using spatial audio and virtual reality. Researchers reproduced the recordings using computerized acoustic data and enhanced them with computer-generated virtual navigation – 3D visualizations made with immersive architectural rendering that floats the viewer through the intricate acoustics of the famous cathedral medieval gothic.
Combined, the Phantom Orchestra’s multimodal sound and image sequences produce a spectral tour to the sounds of the 19th century opera ‘La Vierge’ – La Vierge – performed live during the 2012-2013 concert season to celebrate the 850th anniversary of the cathedral. The integration of multimodal virtual reality is at the heart of the project’s importance, said Brian FG Katz, senior researcher at the Jean Le Rond d’Alembert Institute, Pierre and Marie Curie University, Paris.
“3D audio is the hot topic today in virtual reality (VR) which is currently a very active topic in academic and industrial research,” Katz said. “With the commercialization of affordable VR systems – the cheapest enabling VR on smartphones – spatial audio is rapidly emerging from the lab.” The next step in spatial audio is custom audio rendering which involves the ability to adjust the rendering to match individual head and ear details.
“The importance of multimodal interactions, the way visual and auditory cues balance each other in spatial perception, is key to virtual reality and the feeling of immersion, of being ‘in’ the world of virtual reality. “, explained Katz. He envisions many applications emerging from the survey. The study was presented at Acoustics ’17 Boston, the third joint meeting of the Acoustical Society of America and the European Acoustics Association held in Boston, Massachusetts.
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