The Zoom H2n is the microphone I have used in several of my test videos and I already talked about it a bit in this post. For the purpose of this research a bit more of an elobrate description of this microphone will be given.
As mentioned in the blog post that is linked above, the Zoom H2n is capable of recording spatial audio. This microphone has five built-in microphones and can record in four different modes. The X/Y mode is for natural-sounding stereo sound by covering a wide area while also capturing the sound in the center. The Mid-Side mode allows you to adjust the width of the stereo image after it has been recorded while it maintains perfect mono compatibility. According to Zoom, this is especially useful for film, video and television projects. The other two modes let you either record a 2- or 4-channel surround sound.
Using this device is quite simple. After you turn it on you put it in the desired settings. For spatial audio on the Zoom H2n this can be done in the recording settings via the menu, where you enable the spatial audio mode. This function is only on the device when it is updated with the right firmware, in this case it Firmware v 2.00. Onces it is enabled, it will be shown on the screen like below. When you have put it in the right settings you only need to press the red button below the screen and it will record a single four-channel, multi track WAV file. (“Zoom H2n Handy Recorder”, 2017)
In the table below the specifications for the Zoom H2n camera are written down.
(“Zoom H2n Specs”, 2017)
With the combination of capturing four-channel surround sound and Firmware v 2.00, the Zoom H2n can record spatial audio. To enhance a VR experience spatial audio is essential. It can control the viewers attention by having sound coming from any direction to provide cues to what is important to the story. It makes the VR experience more believable. Since you are able to look around in 360-degrees, you should be able to listen in 360-degrees as well. If you have a bird that flies around for example, the sound of the bird should move with it. When someone is in a VR experience and two elements are not in sync, the experience is disrupted.
There are some techniques to help guide the viewer through a VR experience with sound. Animating the position of the sound when its source is out of view helps the viewer to pinpoint sound more easily. This also works when you repeat a sound. The Google VR developers page compares this to the ringtone of a phone. A phone’s ringtone is not a single beep, but it repeats a certain sound. When you hear that repeated sound you know it is your phone that is ringing and where it is. (“Spatial Audio | Google VR | Google Developers”, 2017)
Why am I using the Zoom H2n?
The short version of why I am using this microphone is that it is the only microphone available to me that does what I need. Apart from that, I do think that the Zoom H2n is nice to work with. Mainly because of its clear and easy usability. All the buttons make sense, when I first worked with it I knew directly how to work it. The settings I needed were easy to find and change. When the microphone is in the right settings, it keeps it after turning off which makes it easy and quick to start recording. Putting the sound file in my editing software goes without any problems. The four channels are all seperated and easy to edit.
To conclude, the Zoom H2n is a very nice piece of equipment. The option to have record spatial audio in a single four-channel audio file makes it very easy to have good quality sound for a 360-degree video.