Jean-Michel Caron is a sound designer of more than 25-year experience. He worked on various exhibition and theatre projects in Quebec. At Cirque du Soleil, Jean-Michel contributed to several creations as the project manager and the head of sound.
The current struggles of live performance could be a deterrent for artists. However, pioneers keep exploring with the new normal. During the pandemic, I started noticing that the audio quality of the playback for online streaming and in the cinema were not always at their best.
There are differences in the way music is recorded, produced, and delivered for different media such as live concerts, TV, or mobile device. Even if very similar, they have quite different approaches to delivering the sound. For example, orchestra music in films is utilizing the latest sound system configuration and pushing the envelopment, while live recordings for TV and DVD are still in a conventional way.
In the end, I came up with the idea to record and present live orchestral recording in a unique way for the playback on websites, TV, or even in the cinema. It would be very nice if we could provide the freedom of choice to the audience who is listening to or watching a concert from their living rooms or on their commute via mobile devices.
With the help of our partners, Productions Troublemakers and MTRX Audio, we presented this project to the Laval Symphony Orchestra. They were super interested and joined us. We agreed to deliver a cinema version for movie theatre as well as a binaural version for online streaming.
I also approached Sennheiser with this project to record the Laval Symphony Orchestra in a more immersive way. After researching on different techniques currently used and adapting to our needs, we made our mind using Sennheiser’s AMBEO Cube microphone arrangement of 9 MKH800 Twin to capture the full breadth of the Orchestra, merged with the Decca Tree technique and adding multiple spot microphones. We came up with a configuration to capture the space and get an immersive feeling. With the joint efforts of Productions Troublemakers and MTRX Audio, I delivered a cinema mix with AMBEO Cube and a binaural mix recorded with Neumann KU100 for mobile devices. Both delivered the ultimate immersive experience of being right in front of the conductor and surrounded by the musicians of the orchestra.
The quality and flexibility of the AMBEO Cube mic played a crucial role in the final delivery. The MKH-800 Twin allowed the fine-tuning of the mic’s pattern during the post-production and mixing process. The tone of the microphones is perfect to provide a transparent, rich, and warm reproduction of the Orchestra’s performance, with no details lost. The microphones’ coherent and smooth polar pattern makes it an amazing tool for this type of recording. With the customized AMBEO Cube microphone arrangement, it has become possible for us to adapt and deliver different audio formats that would be perfect for playback in the cinema and in binaural through headphones.
About Jean-Michel Caron
Jean-Michel Caron has spent the past 25 years in the realm of sound. Since 2012, Jean-Michel Caron has been teaching sound at Collège d’Alma, in Quebec. At Cirque du Soleil, Jean-Michel contributed to several creations as the project manager and the head of sound, like Messi 10, Alegria, VOLTA, and KURIOS – Cabinet of curiosities. He was also the assistant sound designer of the shows OVO and Zarkana, which he repeated on TOTEM and Amaluna alongside Jacques Boucher. He participated in several productions in the new media and entertainment studio like Moment Factory, including Aura at the Basilique Notre-Dame de Montreal and Ode à la vie a multimedia show projected on the façade of the Sagrada Familia (Barcelona) in 2012.
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