RØDE Extends the Soundfield 360° Sound To Pro Filmmakers

by planetMitch1 Comment

Note, this is a follow up to the RØDE VideoMic Pro+ announcement – covering the Soundfield version…

I was blessed to be at the announcement of several new RØDE microphones in Las Vegas Tuesday evening and they didn’t fail to impress!

They announced 5 new microphones (3 of them are for live performances) and teased about 30 new products in the pipeline for the coming years.

Of course, our readers are very interested in the 2 mics designed for filmmaking use – the new RØDE VideoMic Pro+ (see our coverage of that announcement here) and the RØDE VideoMic Soundfield.

Unfortunately, neither will be available as soon as we would like as they’re still in prototype mode and they haven’t even locked down the features. But they did tell us quite a bit about the planned features. Nor did they announce any pricing.

We didn’t get a “spec list” to take home either, but here are the notes I made from the presentation.

RØDE purchased Soundfield last month (see our coverage) and they’re very excited about the capability of adding 360° sound to Virtual Reality – something sadly lacking from most VR at this point. And if it is like the “rule” in filmmaking that audio is 50% of the movie, then VR can definitely use improved sound!

But, what about us “regular” filmmakers? I think these new Soundfield versions could be astounding filmmaking mics because of their ability to customize the audio – either while filming or in post production.

The Videomic Soundfield will have 4 capsules inside – which allows capturing true 360° sound.

RØDE Videomic Soundfield 4 mic capsules (photo taken during announcement)

The important piece of this is the ability to adjust the polar pattern! You can set it to be like a Videomic Pro+ with a shotgun pattern all the way out to a full 360° pattern. I can imagine that this might become your only on-camera mic. In the past, you probably had at least 2 – one mono shotgun and one stereo mic – but this could easily perform both functions if RØDE is right with their excitement over this mic. Of course, we've yet to get our hands on one and will have to reserve judgement, but it looks very promising!

Pics I took at the announcement (sorry for being blurry but they were rotating the soundfield patterns so it was a bit dicy with a phone).

RODE Videomic Soundfield Shotgun Pattern

Rode VideoMic SoundField – Narrow Stereo Array Pattern

Rode VideoMic SoundField – Wide Stereo Array Pattern

(The last two kind of look the same, but I think it is hard to display a difference between narrow and wide)

New Videomic Soundfield

  • We weren't told about the battery options as compared to the Videomic Pro+ – I am hoping they use the same battery but when asked, they would not confirm or deny.
  • New microfiber flocked wind sock – better than the foamie, but not as good as a dead cat or a blimp but designed to be very functional indoors and even light winds outside.
  • Cords have locking screws like on the RØDELink system. Since the cords are removable, you can get several varieties of plug combinations for different cameras including smartphones!
  • Rycote Lyre Shock Mount of course (which they’re making in-house now by the way).
  • The 3 polar patterns do go out via the 3.5mm cord (see the video below).
  • There is a soundfield plug as well – for the balanced 4 channel ambisonic signal – you'll need this when using the B Format option (don't ask me what that is yet, LOL. I don't know enough about soundfield to really tell you).

There's a lot of learning to be done for those of us with no background on the Soundfield technology, but this looks like it has some great possibilities!

Have a look at some of the videos below!



Video!

I just found a non-RØDE version of the video that was shown at the announcement (don't know why RØDE doesn't have one?)

My friend Jem Schofield was also at the announcement and created this video – I have a brief goofy appearance

Update… here's the full RØDE video:

 

Freedman Electronics Launches 50th Birthday Celebrations at RØDEShow 2017

Via RØDE Microphones Press:

RØDE Microphones Unveils Revolutionary Product Slate & Commemorative Book, RØDE Trip

WEDNESDAY, January 18, 2017
Las Vegas, Nevada

Last night, at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada, The Freedman Electronics Group – home to premier pro audio brands RØDE Microphones, Event Electronics, Aphex and SoundField – opened its 50th year of business in style, hosting 250 giants of the industry at the RØDEShow 2017 party. The celebrations also previewed a revolutionary product release.

RØDE Founder Peter Freedman AM expressed extreme gratitude to the gathered partners and friends, presenting a short history of the company started by his parents Henry and Astrid Freedman in 1967. “If my parents could see us today, I know they would be very proud,” Peter said. “It’s been a journey full of great heights and some real depths as we made the transition from a sound system installer and pro audio retailer to a manufacturer and exporter of microphones to the world. 2016 was our biggest ever year in business and with these new products for the RØDE range, plus the innovations in development within our Aphex, Event and SoundField divisions, the next decade is so very exciting. Stay tuned.”

To celebrate the milestone, RØDE produced a 196-page company history, titled RØDE TRIP Street Side to Worldwide: Inside 50 Years of Freedman Electronics and RØDE Microphones. The book places the company’s evolution in the context of the pro audio industry and world at large: from the Freedman family roots in the UK and Sweden, their emigration to Sydney Australia in 1966, the foundation of the Freedman Electronics store the following year; the rollercoaster fortunes of the company until Peter began manufacturing and exporting microphones under the RØDE brand in 1993; innovation, growth and the lessons found in business.

The new products announced at RØDEShow 2017 include:

TFM-50 Valve omnidirectional microphone, produced in collaboration with Grammy Award-winning classical music producer Tony Faulkner

NT-49 Valve Studio Microphone

NT-RV Valve Ribbon Microphone

NT-5 Matched Pair Improved capsule technology for a best-in-class pair of studio condenser microphones

VideoMic ProPremium on-camera video shotgun microphone

VideoMic SoundField World’s first on-camera ambisonic, 360-degree surround sound microphone

RØDE Microphones and The Freedman Electronics Group have planned a year of giveaways and social media executions throughout 2017. Stay tuned.

RØDE TRIP Street Side to Worldwide: Inside 50 Years of Freedman Electronics and RØDE Microphones is available on the RODE Merch Store: store.rode.com

About RØDE Microphones: 

RØDE Microphones (www.rode.com) designs and manufactures high-quality microphones and related accessories for studio, live and location use. Its products are designed and primarily manufactured in Sydney, Australia and exported to over 111 countries globally.

(cover photo credit: snap from RØDE Microphones)

planetMitch

chief astronomer at planet5D LLC
Mitch "planetMitch" Aunger is the creator and mastermind behind planet5D.com

He's incredibly happy running planet5D and sharing so much joy of photography and filmmaking with his readers.

Comments

  1. To use a SoundField mic to optimize stereo imaging is fine, * but it misses the opportunity to have true surround playback in all directions. If you have never heard real Ambisonic playback, you cannot begin to imagine the effect of hearing music (or other events) as if you were actually at the microphone position.

    * I used to own continuously variable pattern mics (Pearl TC-4v), and made such adjustments when setting up.

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