As an ordinary consumer, the considerations for buying a Soundbar are nothing more than wanting to upgrade TV speakers, improve the surround effect of watching movies, or because the space in the home is small, and want to simplify wiring and solve the difficulty of speaker positioning. For professional sound engineers in the film and television industry, what do they think of products like Soundbar? Out of curiosity, T Kebang interviewed Mr. Zhu Shiyi, who just won the Golden Bell Award for sound design for drama programs. In addition to asking him to analyze the mysteries of the sound engineer industry, he also used the Sony HT-A7000 to surround the home theater Take the Soundbar as an example to share Mr. Zhu’s impressions after using it.
The sound effect work is divided into pre-stage and post-stage
Excellent films and dramas are inseparable from the perfect blend of image and sound. Competent directors not only use images to tell stories, but also know how to use sound to give the images vitality and lead the audience into the world inside the fourth wall. . However, the development track of “sound effects” can be said to be a relatively young part in the film industry. Due to the limitations of early technology, most films before the 1920s were presented in the form of silent films. Even after the advent of sound films, film companies The emphasis on sound effects is far less than that of soundtracks and dialogues. Fortunately, after the 1960s, along with a group of creators with unique ideas, they began to enhance the rendering power and authenticity of movies through sound design. Since then, they have gradually formed highly specialized and mature industry.
Nowadays, the importance of sound effects to the viewing experience has almost become common sense, but most people still feel mysterious and curious about the invisible “sound”. To be honest, if you are not an industry insider, it is actually not easy to understand sound How exactly does that work in the film? And in what form? To what extent can it be restored? Or is it possible to present a surround feeling similar to a movie theater at home and so on. There are even some misunderstandings about the profession of recording engineer, and this is the part we most want to clear up through Mr. Zhu Shiyi.
Teacher Zhu Shiyi explained that the sound engineer is a relatively broad term. After all, the division of labor in the team is very detailed, including the early field recording, post-production mixing, etc., and everyone is responsible for different work projects. Mr. Zhu said that his job content is mainly focused on the simultaneous recording of the scene, that is, when the camera is shooting, the ambient sound of the scene and the dialogue of the characters are recorded through the microphone at the same time. It is necessary to fully understand the shooting content and environment in advance in order to arrange the position of the microphone. Even if the shooting has officially started, it is still necessary to make corrections at any time according to the shooting conditions on site. Of course, since it is a live recording, it means that no matter what barren mountains the crew sets off to, or the shooting lasts until midnight, they have to follow the crew to act together, which requires strong physical strength and long-term concentration. Speaking of this, Teacher Zhu also laughed and said, “It’s really not easy to make money.”
General public’s myths about sound production
A few years ago, the Taiwanese documentary film “Foley” was released, which also gave local audiences a glimpse of the concept of film sound design and production. Teacher Zhu further explained that although Foley does not belong to his current scope of work, in the early years , In fact, he also has a little contact with some related fields. Specifically, “Foley” is actually a part that is more inclined to post-production. As for when it will be applied to foley, it is mainly for those special sounds that cannot or are difficult to obtain in live recording, such as using broken celery to simulate the sound of fractures, etc. etc., and the production of foley is only a small part of the work of post-sound effects producers. An equal sign is drawn, which is actually not very accurate.
According to Mr. Zhu’s experience, the number of sound effects team for a movie may range from a few to dozens of people, mainly due to the scale of the movie and the company’s distribution plan. On the shooting scene, only about three or four people are enough to conduct live recording, operate the Boom rod radio, and assist the actors with the Mini Mic, etc., and each other will cover each other, so the actual scene is not as many as you imagined. People, and the post-production is mainly responsible for editing, mixing, and the aforementioned foley production, etc.
Mr. Zhu also added that in the recording work of movies and dramas, some are on-site sound recording, and some are post-event dubbing, so how to choose which recording method to use? In fact, it can be roughly divided into several situations. One is that during the post-production, it is found that the sound recorded from the scene is not ideal, and re-recording may be required; When the idea emerges, I will try to use other dubbing to see if there will be better effects; in addition, for some special sounds such as explosions, special effects, etc., they will basically be processed in post-production.
Video sound effects are auxiliary rather than main body
In addition to winning the Best Sound Effects Award at the Golden Horse Awards in 2015 and 2021 for the films “Assassin Nie Yinniang” and “Old Moon”, Mr. Zhu also won the Best Sound Effects Award at the Golden Bell Awards this year for the TV series “Auspicious Time” , Mr. Zhu’s answer may be a bit unexpected for how to identify the sound effects of a movie or drama. The so-called “sound effect”, its purpose is not to make you feel that the sound is outstanding, but to make you feel that the movie is very good-looking, so that you can focus on the plot itself and integrate into the atmosphere of the whole work In addition, if the sound design of this movie has reached the point where it can attract the audience’s extra attention, from Mr. Zhu’s point of view, this is actually unnecessary. “Sound effects” are originally an auxiliary function to enhance the movie viewing experience. Overwhelm the guests.
Of course, compared with the past, the development of film sound technology has also undergone great changes. Surround sound specifications have gradually evolved from the previous stereo to 5.1, 7.1, and 9.1 channels. Has this brought about any changes in recording work? Mr. Zhu said yes, but the impact is not great. In terms of the current work form, he will record the sound of the surrounding environment additionally, and collect as much sound material as possible from the scene, so that he can use it in the multi-channel later. There are more materials that can be used in the production of audio tracks. Although there are many specifications for the surround sound effects of movies, such as Dolby 7.1, Atmos, IMAX, etc., for Mr. Zhu’s live recording work, there are not many. It is necessary to prepare several microphones for the sound channel, because these specifications are actually adjusted in the later stage, and processed and output into the corresponding format according to the customer’s delivery requirements.
How to restore the sound experience of a movie theater
Teacher Zhu further explained that when recording, we will not switch to different recording formats because the content is for movies played in theaters or DVDs for TV. This leads us to another question, so Can watching a movie at home achieve the same sound experience as a movie theater?
“Of course!”Teacher Zhu said firmly.
However, Teacher Zhu also added that for ordinary people, there are many issues to consider in order to achieve the same effect as a movie theater at home. The placement and positioning of the speaker system also requires certain skills and knowledge. As long as you are willing to spend some time to understand these related Know Hows, it is actually not difficult. Most of them are accumulated experience, but if you really want to get started quickly , Teacher Zhu actually has another way.
In order to enjoy excellent film and television works at home, Mr. Zhu, who is an audio enthusiast, set up a 5.1-channel surround system at home very early. It was not until he came into contact with the HT-A7000 Soundbar launched by Sony recently that he gave him a different idea. This is a very simple and easy-to-use home theater system. General home users can directly skip learning the complex concepts of multi-channel systems, including how to connect the output and input terminals of the amplifier, how to route the cables, and how to position the speakers. Wait, basically, the HT-A7000 only needs to be connected through an HDMI transmission cable through the ARC/eARC compatible HDMI interface on the rear of the TV, and since the HT-A7000 is a single-piece built-in 7.1. Placed under the TV, it can produce a surround effect above the standard.
Comparison of virtual surround and real multi-channel
Compared with the original TV speaker, Mr. Zhu thinks that the improvement effect brought by Sony HT-A7000 is quite obvious, not to mention the surround effect, after all, this is the main function of HT-A7000, and the sound quality and dynamic performance will be better. In many cases, what TV emphasizes is the image quality itself. Due to the limitations of size and built-in monomers, there are also inherent limitations in the speakers of the TV. Although the HT-A7000 is a one-piece design, the body has built-in upward-firing speakers, beam tweeters, subwoofers, and 5 front speakers, etc. The total output power can reach 500W, and with Sony’s Vertical Surround Engine and S-Force PRO front surround sound field technology realize the virtual surround effect by means of sound wave reflection, which is naturally difficult for ordinary TVs.
When referring to the difference between the virtual surround system and the real multi-channel system, Teacher Zhu did not deny that there is still a certain gap between the two. As far as the situation is concerned, not all families have the time, energy and conditions to build a perfect physical multi-channel environment. Just trying to install a sky channel may destroy the home decoration, but with the Sony HT-A7000 In terms of sound, in addition to using upward-firing speakers to realize the reflection of the sky channel, its expansion capability is also something Mr. Zhu appreciates very much.
For example, users can use the optional wireless subwoofer Sony SA-SW5. After pairing with the Sony HT-A7000, it can make up for the small size of the Soundbar woofer, and it can be used for subwoofer output. Enhanced to provide more accurate and solid low-frequency sound waves; while the wireless rear surround speaker SA-RS5 not only improves the realism of the HT-A7000 in the rear channel, but also further enables 360 spatial sound effects, which can bring more enveloping, Listening experience without dead ends. During the trial period, Mr. Zhu watched several big Hollywood movies. He felt that the sound shuttled back and forth, and he was surrounded by the sound field. The effect was really enjoyable.
It can be easily controlled by ordinary people
In addition to the performance in terms of sound quality, Teacher Zhu also added that the use of the HT-A7000 is particularly impressive, including the subwoofer and rear surround can be connected wirelessly, not only the convenience of pairing, but the most important thing is Video and audio can indeed be synchronized in real time. Mr. Zhu has been in contact with some Bluetooth audio systems in the past, but there will inevitably be a slight delay in the sound and video. When using the HT-A7000 with the rear surround speaker SA-RS5, There was no delay, and it was able to achieve complete video and audio synchronization. Although I don’t know how Sony did it, Mr. Zhu was quite satisfied with this performance. In addition, because the rear surround speaker SA-RS5 adopts a built-in battery design and has long-term battery life, there is no need to worry about whether there are redundant sockets available in the placement location, so it can achieve true “wireless” deployment.
In addition, due to the different sizes of spaces in each family, and the high flexibility of Sony wireless rear surround placement, how to achieve a consistent surround sound experience in different spaces is also a part that Mr. Zhu attaches great importance to. In multi-channel settings, it is often necessary to repeatedly adjust the position of the speakers, but now you can use Sony’s exclusive one-key optimization function to intelligently measure the relative positions of the speakers, and automatically adjust the position of the speakers without moving the speakers. Complete the sound field correction and construct a 360-degree spatial sound field. It’s a pity that Mr. Zhu’s home TV is not a Sony BRAVIA series, otherwise, you can directly control the HT-A7000 through the TV’s setting interface, or activate the center sound field synchronization function to set the BRAVIA TV as the center channel , so that the fusion of sound and picture is higher.
Suitable groups and usage advice
Due to the epidemic, a high percentage of people are used to watching movies through Netflix and Disney+. Teacher Zhu suggested that if you want to feel closer to the movie theater, you might as well choose the Sony Soundbar as an entry point. It can solve many settings and The installation process is cumbersome, and it also has the ability to upgrade. You can purchase subwoofer and rear surround by yourself to obtain a more obvious improvement effect. You don’t need to spend much effort to increase the immersion of watching movies. After all, the Soundbar’s appeal It is simple and convenient! If you have spare capacity, Mr. Zhu thinks that you can pay a little more attention to the way of placement. In addition to leaving enough space between the Soundbar and the rear surround, try to avoid being blocked by other furniture or objects to reduce unnecessary sound waves. The interference formed by the reflection affects the expressive ability of the spatial sound field.
On the other hand, if you consider the use environment, the HT-A7000 is relatively large in size and is more suitable for use with TVs above 65 inches and a wider living room environment. Sony’s recently launched HT-A5000 and HT-A3000 And other new products, it can correspond to relatively small indoor space, such as bedroom, etc. Both new products also support 360 spatial sound positioning function like HT-A7000, and can also be freely matched with separately purchased SA-SW5 and SA-SW3 Wireless subwoofer, wireless rear surround speakers SA-RS5 and SA-RS3S, etc. This almost customized combination can be flexibly used in the planning of various sizes of spaces. Even in small spaces, you can still enjoy 360 spatial sound effects surround effect. Mr. Zhu also agrees that Sony’s series of home theater Soundbar products and accessories are definitely a good choice to meet the needs of most people watching movies, no matter from the perspective of CP value or convenience.