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Stereo vocals can be an immersion breaker

Dowlphin

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I am noticing this more frequently in recent episodes: Vocals are being distributed on the stereo channels depending on where a speaker is in relation to the camera.

This can add acoustic information and some pseudo-realism (if not overdone, which happens when factors like sound reflection on walls are disregarded), but it is a tricky thing to use, because it is very easy to break immersion with it, and this happens especially when a speaker's position changes not by moving, but due to a changing camera position. Because then the watcher becomes aware of a 'camera man' teleporting around in the scene.

I think this is especially noticeable in MLP because lately they're overdoing the stereo separation with lateral voices.

 

I don't know why people who get paid for this stuff ("professionals") don't notice those subtle but crucial details, but I guess treating this area as an art form might be more than what is the norm in the business.

 

This isn't a rant. It's just that I keep noticing various things that disturb immersion and would love to contribute my expertise, but unfortunately things aren't that easy.

  • Brohoof 1


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I haven't noticed this in MLP, but I've noticed it a lot in video games, where it annoys me to absolutely no end (I turn to the side and suddenly I'm deaf in one ear or something?).

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I haven't noticed this in MLP, but I've noticed it a lot in video games, where it annoys me to absolutely no end (I turn to the side and suddenly I'm deaf in one ear or something?).

Maybe in games it can be fixed. If you're using headphones, try switching the speaker setting (in-game and/or in the sound driver) between headphone and 2-speaker. Maybe that helps a bit.

AFAIK Source engine games will also activate virtual surround when you set them to headphone mode.

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Can't say I've noticed in MLP either, though I'll be sure to pay attention next time I watch a recent episode.

 

It is something I've noticed in plenty of games though, and it really bugs me to no end when they make the position change according to camera rather than your character. I complained about this in the beta forums for Guild Wars 2 but was ignored. When I have 7.1 surround, and there is an NPC talking to me directly in front of my character, and I turn the camera to watch to conversation from the side, the audio position should still be front and center since that is where my character is facing. I don't get why game developers don't understand that. If you are meant to be that character, there shouldn't be a "cameraman". Blizzard did it correctly in WoW, so I just didn't understand it in something as new, shiny, and awesome that GW2 was turning out to be.

 

I totally get where you're coming from.

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Can't say I've noticed in MLP either, though I'll be sure to pay attention next time I watch a recent episode.

 

It is something I've noticed in plenty of games though, and it really bugs me to no end when they make the position change according to camera rather than your character. I complained about this in the beta forums for Guild Wars 2 but was ignored. When I have 7.1 surround, and there is an NPC talking to me directly in front of my character, and I turn the camera to watch to conversation from the side, the audio position should still be front and center since that is where my character is facing. I don't get why game developers don't understand that. If you are meant to be that character, there shouldn't be a "cameraman". Blizzard did it correctly in WoW, so I just didn't understand it in something as new, shiny, and awesome that GW2 was turning out to be.

 

I totally get where you're coming from.

IIRC you can switch between both modes in WoW, and that's the best way to do it. Since the camera view in a game likw WoW serves informational purpose, sound location might be easier with camera-based sound, so it's good that one can choose between 'practical mode' and 'immersive mode'.

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