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As well as using a multichannel format to immerse the viewer, what other methods would you use to make a soundtrack immersive?

I have just started working with a director who is making two short films. The project will result in an event where the films will be shown in the same rooms that they were shot in, with nothing removed from the set. This is one of the many immersive methods used in this project that is exploring cinematic immersion and creative ways of immersing the viewer.

The obvious method to create immersion from an audio perspective is to use multichannel or even just stereophonic playback systems to create immersion. But what about within the post-production stages?

So far my research has concluded that:

  • Ambience can be key to immersion

  • Detailed ambiences but not bombarding

  • Detailed foley for character's movements

  • Consistently balanced and mixed to avoid any distractions

Of course, how you use non-diegetics and fx is subjective and dependant on the film but are there any other tips people could give me to achieve a realistic and immersive soundtrack?

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I think "immersive soundtrack" is an incredibly loaded term, and cannot be answered easily. Your understanding of it will probably always be developing with your experience, and which direction you might prefer to take.

Having said that though, here's a great thread about films with excellent sound design, which I'm sure will help your research.

A lot of the films mentioned in the link are not necessarily using the same techniques. In District 9 for example, one of the key aspects of the soundtrack was the sound of the alien or "prawn" voices, which resulted in such authenticity due to being designed (by Dave Whitehead) off a new language. In a fictional documentary film, such a technique is bound to be immersive and utterly convincing; it is after all the sound of communication and dialogue that the audience will hear (and interpret by text), not merely alien sounds. That and other references are made in this episode of the Tonebenders Podcast.

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