I was wondering how I might capture or create audio which sounds like it's being heard first-person. For example, there's a scene in Being John Malkovich where the viewer sees through Malcovich's perspective, he takes a bite of toast and the chewing noises sound as if they're being heard by Malcovich himself. Is a shotgun mic and a quiet sound booth all you need to accomplish this effect? What about swallowing or breathing noises? Would some sort of contact microphone (not sure what the term for such a device would actually be) be more effective? Would selling the effect require additional signal processing?

1 Answer 1


I haven't seen that movie, but one way to achieve this effect is with a binaural microphone. you would have to record and add breathing and swallowing noises later, as I am sure they did in the movie. Be warned, while binaural recordings work amazing well on headphones, they do not fair so well on speakers. This is why they tend to be used more for research than for actual music recording.

I've also heard of a trick where people attach small omni microphones to their head near each ear (like to their glasses or something). Maybe you could add contact mikes (usually piezo microphones) to capture the sounds of swallowing and breathing on a separate track.

  • Good answer. +1. The wiki was very informative, but I think I'm more interested in the timbre of the sound than its spatial orientation. Slurping coffee, eating toast, breathing, these things all happen within the "head shadow". These are mostly the sounds I am interested in recreating. I should've been more clear, but your answer will help address other sounds. Thanks. edit piezo might be the way to go. I'll look into it.
    – Jason Conrad
    Commented Mar 12, 2013 at 3:55
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    I'd be careful of recording dialog in stereo, especially via binaural. Recording the mouth and throat via stereo peizos, separate from recording the vocals, is probably a great idea. Put it all in the dullest smallest room reverb patch you can find, and set the reverb's wet to dry to uncomfortably wet, without any slap-back noises. Also try low passing to the dialog and the reverb return, but not the throat and mouth noises, as well as trying a not so great mic for recording the dialog.
    – JPollock
    Commented Mar 13, 2013 at 1:53
  • Agreed: dialog should always be captured in mono.
    – Bjorn Roche
    Commented Mar 13, 2013 at 14:58

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