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Image of SoundFellas Technology Logo FocusBlur.

FocusBlur™

FocusBlur™ is a delicate psychoacoustic process that defocuses the signal of directional sources in soundscape or music material, producing a difficult to localize result with a subtle in-front focus, perfect for scene ambience, music, and non-diegetic material.

Combine with any Visuals

Easily combine any scenery with a soundscape that fits. You don't have to care about any other details, just drag-and-drop the background ambience in your project and it will perfectly complement your scene.

No Audience Confusion

Achieve perfect contrast between the important and unimportant layers of your scene's audio, by using defocused ambience and music loops for the background. Keep your audience's focus where it should be.

VR/XR Ready

Keeping your background ambience and music out of focus makes it perfect for applications needing perfect localization of the sound sources around a listener. This applies more than ever to virtual reality or any type of extended reality applications.

We wanted to be able to produce ambient soundscapes and music loops that can be combined with any other visual, without the inconsistencies that arise when the elements of what you hear doesn’t  agree with the elements of what you see. And we succeeded.

FocusBlur™ is the result of years of experimentation with multichannel audio. From testing various panning techniques, to experimenting with different dynamics on correlated and non-correlated parts of a recording.

Finally we succeeded on creating a proprietary process with one task in mind: To defocus the signal, blurring the directionality of individual sound sources within a recording, while still surrounding the listeners preserving the immersion and character of the recording.

The FocusBlur™ production process is:

  • Generic enough to be applied any kind of multichannel material be it music, sound effects, of ambience soundscapes.
  • Specific enough to influence any source with strong directionality within the audio material.

After FocusBlur™ the sources in the recording have minimal directionality, but instead of sounding “monophonic”, they are psychoacoustically spread surrounding the listener, boosting the feeling of immersion in the sound.

And voila! No immersion break, no time wasted in editing trying to sync your audio with your visuals or looking for new assets.

A fresh perspective on classic practices

Having the background elements defocused to give your main subject the complete attention of the audience, while maintaining enough detail that represents the background, is not new thing. It’s being used in the visual arts for ages. It’s called “contextual aesthetics” and it’s when you see the director focusing on the main character of the movie, while in games you experienced it in the form of what is called a “sky box”, not always containing just the sky.

FocusBlur example of painting Impression - Soleil levant by Claude Monet

The painting titled “Impression, soleil levant”, created in 1872 by Claude Monet, set the name of the artistic movement which is known as ‘impressionism’. As illustrated by the impressionists, we can communicate the generalities of a subject, by blurring the forms and colors, and also normalizing the luminance. FocusBlur™ applies the same principles in sound.

Image of FocusBlur example of photograph Woman walking in between road.

In photography and cinematography, artists use to blur the background, or any part of the environment they want to move away of focus, by changing the camera lens settings or later, in post-production, using software tools. This maintains the focus on the main subject or foreground, while on the same time it keeps the composition in context, without allowing any background element to steal the viewer’s attention.

A simple example

To give you a good idea on how FocusBlur™ works, imagine that you want to create the soundscape for the scene showing in the pictures below. This could be a videogame or a movie, or any media that combines audio with visuals.

You already have the sounds for the skateboard and you just want to add a loop for the background ambience. Possibly a loop with recordings from a park, with people walking around, talking, etc.

Image of FocusBlur example of scene Skateboarding in the park FocusBlur Off.

In the ordinary recording, there possibility to have the various recorded sources positioned in the place your visuals are is highly unlikely.

Your audience might hear more people on the right together with the seagulls, and if you turn that around, everything goes to the left while in your visuals the seagulls are on the right.

And most importantly, your camera work will definitely not going to match the movement of the recorded material head-locked or not.

Image of FocusBlur example of scene Skateboarding in the park FocusBlur On.

By using a recording processed with our proprietary FocusBlur™ production process, for your background ambience, you can easily give the character of the setting your scene takes place, surrounding the audience with all the sound elements, but without stealing the focus from the foreground sounds, in our example the skateboard sounds.

You don’t have to care about any other details, just drag-and-drop the background ambience in your project and it will perfectly fit in your scene.

It’s that easy.

Music for media

Apart from our Ambience Kit Libraries, our Production Music Libraries also offer stereo, surround, and ambisonic versions for all included music tracks, together with extra versions for all those formats processed through FocusBlur™.

Music is used in soundtracks as a non-diegetic layer, and using the FocusBlur™ versions of our music tracks, you allow all the important layers of your audio to pop out, while at the same time you surround your audience with music.

We also offer the service of processing your project’s audio assets with our proprietary FocusBlur™ process, read below.

Hard facts

Our brains already distinguishes the important from the unimportant every fraction of the second.

By using soundscapes and music  featuring processed with our proprietary FocusBlur™ production chain, together with any significant sounds added on top, you free them from the cognitive load creating enough contrast between the focused and defocused layers of your audio, making the experience more engaging and boosting immersion.

Games

Suddenly all significant sounds have enough contrast with the background and can be quickly located around the player as intended by the game design.

Focus your audience on:

  • Interface sounds.
  • Foley cues of friends and enemies surrounding the player.
  • Dialog and the location that its coming from.
  • Point-of-interest sounds.

Film

What matters most becomes the main focus point of the audience, amplifying the story with the dramatic emotions and adrenaline action you want.

Focus your audience on:

  • Dialog.
  • Character Foley.
  • Special sound effects.
  • Directed sounds like thunder from above (or a spaceship fly-by for that matter).

Extended Reality

Create the reality that will enchant your audience and make their experience as real as it gets, immersing your audience in real or fantastic universes.

Focus your audience on:

  • All audiovisual cues.
  • Carefully rendered sounds with distance filtering.
  • Acoustics simulation like reflections and occlusion.
  • Fast changing sounds due to intricate head movement of the player.