Germany’s Delta Soundworks was co-founded by Ana Monte and Danielo Deboy back in 2016 in Heidelberg, Germany. This 3D/immersive audio post studio’s projects span across installations, virtual reality, 360-degree films and gaming, as well as feature films, documentaries, TV shows and commercials. Its staff includes production sound mixers, recording engineers, sound designers, Foley artists, composers and music producers.
Below the partners answer some questions about their company and how they work.
How did Delta come about?
Ana Monte: Delta Soundworks grew from the combination of my creative background in film sound design and Daniel’s high-level understanding of the science of sound. I studied music industry and technology at California State University, Chico and I earned my master’s degree in film sound and sound design at the Film Academy Baden-Württemberg, here in Germany.
Daniel is a graduate of the Graz University of Technology, where he focused his studies on 3D audio and music production. He was honored with a Student Award from the German Acoustical Society (DEGA) for his research in the field of 3D sound reproduction. He has also received gold, silver and bronze awards from the Audio Engineering Society (AES) for his music recordings.
Can you talk about some recent projects?
Deboy: I think our biggest current project is working for The Science Dome at the Experimenta, a massive science center in Heilbronn, Germany. It’s a 360-degree theater with a 360-degree projection system and a 29-channel audio system, which is not standard. We create the entire sound production for all the theater’s in-house shows. For one of the productions, our composer Jasmin Reuter wrote a beautiful score, which we recorded with a chamber orchestra. It included a lot of sound design elements, like rally cars. We put all these pieces together and finally mixed them in a 3D format. It was a great ride for us.
Monte: The Science Dome has a very unique format. It’s not a standard planetarium, where everyone is looking up and to the middle, but rather a mixture of theater plus planetarium, wherein people look in front, above and behind. For example, there’s a children’s show with pirates who travel to the moon. They begin in the ocean with space projected above them, and the whole video rotates 180-degrees around the audience. It’s a very cool format and something that is pretty unique, not only in Europe, but globally. The partnership with the Experimenta is very important for us because they do their own productions and, eventually, they might license it to other planetariums.
With such a wide array of projects and requirements, tell us about your workflow.
Deboy: Delta is able to quickly and easily adjust to different workflows because we know, or at least love to be, at the edge of what’s possible. We are always happy to take on new and interesting projects, try out new workflows and design, and look at up-and-coming techniques. I think that’s kind of a unique selling point for us. We are way more flexible than a typical post production house would be, and that includes our work for cinema sound production.
What are some tools you guys use in your work?
Deboy: Avid Pro Tools Ultimate, Reaper, Exponential Audio, iZotope RX 6 and Metric Halo 2882 3D. We also have had a license for Nugen Halo Upmix for a while, and we’ve been using it quite a bit for 5.1 production. We rely on it significantly for the Experimenta Science Dome projects because we also work with a lot of external source material from composers who deliver it in stereo format. Also, the Dome is not a 5.1/7.1 theater; it’s 29 channels. So, Upmix really helped us go from a stereo format to something that we could distribute in the room. I was able to adjust all my sources through the plugin and, ultimately, create a 3D mix. Using Nugen, you can really have fun with your audio.
Monte: I use Nugen. Halo Upmix for sound design, especially to create atmosphere sounds, like a forest. I plug in my source and Upmix just works. It’s really great; I don’t have to spend hours tweaking the sound just to have it only serve as a bed to add extra elements on top. For example, maybe I want an extra bird chirping over there and then, okay, we’re in the forest now. It works really well for tasks like that.