Holophone Captures Battle Sounds for Simulator

Surround sound was an important factor from the very beginning of the project, as the audio had to be fully immersive.
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Surround sound was an important factor from the very beginning of the project, as the audio had to be fully immersive.

Holophone is the master of surround-sound microphones, and has a place in all sorts of video productions.

Now, it’s going well beyond entertainment to potentially saving the lives of soldiers, taking a starring role in a military Humvee simulator designed to protect troops from those roadside bombs now known as improvised explosive devices.

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The simulator has 260 degrees of HD screens. Sound mixer Ezra Dweck, who has worked in post production, mixing and editing for more than 15 years on projects such as the TV series “Brothers and Sisters” and “CSI: New York,” who recorded, edited and mixed the audio for the project, used Holophone’s H2-PRO to capture realistic surround sound recordings from the interior and exterior of the Humvee.

?Surround sound was an important factor from the very beginning of the project, as the audio had to be fully immersive. Dweck needed to create coincident multi-channel recordings, which required a microphone that could handle a variety of audio levels. In addition, the audio needed to be accurate and realistic in order to offer the most value and experience to troops using one of two simulators, currently installed at Fort Eustis in Virginia and Fort Campbell in Kentucky, to train at home before deployment.

The H2-PRO record surround sound from both inside and outside of the Humvee, including IED explosions and gunfire, re-creating the audio of a real-life military scenario.

?“For the kind of recordings I needed to make, Holophone’s H2-PRO was hands down the best choice I could have made,” said Dweck. “Today’s military personnel are very savvy when it comes to surround sound, due to the abundance of surround home theaters, so they understand the value of when audio is coming out of a little speaker in the dashboard versus something that sounds like it’s coming from all around you.”

?The customized Humvee, from which the engine has been removed, is located on a motion base in a 60-foot semi-circle surrounded by 260 degrees of large screens projecting realistic HD images. Dweck used the Holophone H2-PRO in conjunction with a Neumann 190 stereo shotgun with a Sound Devices 788T Digital Recorder to capture discrete surround sound for playback in the Humvee. The Humvee is equipped with five Meyer MM4XP speakers with an additional speaker mounted on the dashboard and a subwoofer placed where the engine would be located. The exterior of the Humvee is also equipped with three JBL EON speakers arranged left, right and center.

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The Holophone captures the sounds of the desert. ?In order to capture realistic audio, Dweck visited the Army's national training center in California's Mojave Desert, driving around the base in the Humvee to capture the realistic sounds of the vehicle in motion. For the IED explosion sounds, Army Explosive Ordinance Disposal personnel used several pounds of C4 to detonate a 120mm tank shell in a dry creek bed. Dweck also recorded the sounds of several AK-47s firing as well as some simulated radio communications, which can be heard on a radio speaker inside the Humvee training setup.

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