How do I record with 8ball?

8ball is an 8 channel “omni binaural” microphone and companion software designed to capture live, immersive, head-trackable audio for 360 video and virtual reality applications.  We’ve designed 8ball with a proprietary internal clamping mechanism, allowing you to easily attach the microphone underneath a 360 camera rig, outside of the cameras field of view.  8ball has four 5 pin mini xlr outputs on the bottom of the enclosure, and each output carries 2 balanced audio signals for a total of 8 channels.  Channel 1-2 represents the front binaural perspective, 3-4 represents the left perspective, 5-6 represents the rear perspective, and 7-8 represents the right perspective.  8ball comes with a custom audio cable that breaks out to 8 standard balanced XLR jacks that can be connected to a multi-channel field recorder such as the Zoom F8.  8ball requires 48 volt phantom power to be enabled on all input channels of your field recorder in order to pass signal.  

The capsule numbers 7 and 4 represent the front or “North” position of the mic.  Align this with the north position of your camera rig.  It is important to note that if you re-align your north video perspective during the video editing process that 8ball audio will also need to be re-aligned with our Compass calibration plugin. 

How do I set up my Zoom F8 field recorder to work with 8ball? 

We recommend recording at 24 bit, 48k or higher.  Link the mic pre level controls together to make it easier to set levels.  This way you only need to adjust the first mic pre level to make the same adjustment to all of 8 channels.  Please record in “mono” file format, (do not use polyphonic file mode).  With mono file format, each take that you record will be saved as a folder on the SD card and will contain 8 mono files labeled 1-8.  This is important so that you know which pair of file numbers (1-2, 3-4, 5-6, 7-8) represents which binaural perspective.  After you have plugged all 8ball channels into your recorder, enabled phantom power, and set your record levels, please make sure to tap test each capsuleI to ensure that they are showing up at the correct input on the Zoom F8.  

If you have 2 SD cards, you can record to both cards at the same time for a redundant back-up.  Please remember to set the date on the F8 so you have an accurate time stamp on your files.  After you format the SD cards in the Zoom F8, download the bluetooth firmware file from Zoom’s website and copy it on to the first SD card.  This way you can control the F8 remotely using the downloadable iOS app on your iPhone.  Please refer to the Zoom F8 manual for setup details on the above recommendations.  

I have recorded audio content with 8ball, now what do I do with it?  

Once you have recorded audio content with 8ball, remove your SD card and insert it into your computer.  You’ll see all of your takes organized as folders - copy the takes over to your computer.  Please note that the audio files contained in each take folder should be labeled with the take number and channel number - channels 1 through 8.  It’s very important to make sure that you keep these channel numbers in the name structure of the files throughout the editing process, as the channel numbers correspond to each binaural perspective, and those perspectives must be maintained for accurate head-trackable spatialization.  

Once you have transferred your files over, there are several different work-flow options available depending on how you plan on integrating your content and what platforms you are distributing your content on.  Start by importing your takes into your favorite DAW for editing, or into your favorite video editing suite.  Next, create an 8 channel audio track and drag the audio onto the track maintaining the channel order 1-8. Now you'll use our H360 spatial audio plugin suite (AAX and VST) to calibrate, monitor, and head-track 8ball audio in real time with our local video player while you work on your project. Please refer to our DAW templates available on our downloads page for a full work-flow description. 

Use our H360 encode tool to output a 360 video with your final H360 spatial audio mix for Unity, H360 web player, H360 iOS, and Samsung Gear VR.  Our H360 encode tool also converts 8ball recorded audio into ambisonic work-flows for FB360, Dolby Atmos, YouTube, and others.  

- Unity - please download our Unity plugin from our downloads page.

- 8ball Web player - please access our web player from our downloads page.

- Samsung VR - please see Samsung file specifications here: https://samsungvr.com/portal/content/content_specs

How do I integrate into Samsung Gear VR?

Start by creating an account at samsungvr.com.  Use the creators portal for uploading content.  

Use our H360 encode tool to create a Samsung Gear VR formatted 360 video. 

Go to the Samsung VR Creators Portal and select “Upload Video”.  Choose your video mode (monoscopic, stereo up/down, or stereo side by side.  The following is very important.  For audio, you need to choose “Binaural” - Binaural represents any type of binaural, including 8ball Omni Binaural.  Do not select “Quadraphonic”  - the audio will not render correctly.  

Samsung will process the video and when its finished you will be able to play back 360 video with head-trackable spatial audio through Samsung Gear VR.  

How do you convert 8ball into ambisonic work-flows and do you get elevation information after conversion?  

Use our H360 encode tool to convert 8ball audio into many different formats including ACN and FuMa B format Ambisonics.  8ball is an “Omni Binaural” microphone, not an ambisonic microphone.  A single binaural perspective does not translate well into an ambisonic work-flow, and we do not attempt to directly translate binaural into ambisonics.  That being said, we have come up with a great way to translate multichannel audio recorded by 8ball into a configuration for ambisonics that sounds excellent, and head tracks really well.  We don’t derive elevation data from a sound field decode, but because of how 8ball is designed, there is a lot of elevation data that already exists on the stereo pairs.  We developed 8ball to be a flexible microphone that allows for incredible native binaural fidelity, and also great translation into an ambisonic work flow.  We believe the sonic benefits of 8ball stand out and we are confident that you will feel the same after using 8ball in your next production.  

How do I create a spatial audio mix with other pre-recorded audio in the post production process and combine that with 8ball content?  

Use our H360 Earth and Sky spatial audio AAX and VST plugins to spatialize anything not recorded by 8ball, and merge those elements seamlessly with 8ball recorded content. The H360 platform uses our own custom HRTFs and is designed to allow you to layer an omni binaural spatial audio mix on top of an omni binaural 8ball recording, delivering a final mix output into 4 stereo tracks or one 8 channel track that can be rendered by all of our playback solutions including Unity, H360 web player, and Samsung Gear VR.  Because we are pre-processing all of the spatial information through our HRTFs, you are guaranteed that the mix you created in your DAW will sound exactly the same when it’s played back though our web player, Unity, or Samsung Gear VR.  This is a huge advantage for controlling the sonic delivery in your content.