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Cinematic Bass

Discussion in 'Bass' started by Suntower, Jul 17, 2011.

  1. Suntower

    Suntower Active Member


    I'm becoming somewhat obsessed by the bass in movies... and how that sound design can be transferred to audio recording/mixing. I used to think it was only in flashy FX movies, but now I realise that it's just become S.O.P. for -all- movie recording. It is larger than life... especially... in Americana or acoustic settings.

    It used to be that they would have the typical 'telephone filter' on an acoustic track underneath dialog (perhaps with some filter modulated percussion to make it sound 'new') and then drop the filter at the scene transition, but now? They use the -normal- track under the dialog and then switch to the -hyper- version for the transition.

    IOW: It's making a -normal- track sound absolutely puny to me.

    I just started watching 'Schindler's List' on DVD. I left it @ 'menu' for a while... which plays a solo piano theme over and over. And I noticed... -THAT- has the hyper-bass. Like it's been run through a dbx octave processor. It's -everywhere-.

    Anyhoo, all ranting aside, my question is: how do they do it? IOW: is there a characteristic technique everyone uses to obtain that larger than life bass sound. My problem is that if I record 'normally' (ie. to make a bass or whatever sound like a bass or whatever) it just sounds like a bass or whatever---it won't have that cinematic depth.

    Again, I'm not talking about dance music or hip hop or using massive subwoofers. I'm talking about a regular upright or electric bass having that larger than life quality from a 2.1 system.

    Does this make sense?

  2. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    Sure, it makes sense. Does that make you feel better?

    Can you say "U 47"? You know? The one with the VF 14, right? It's probably the only microphone I don't own and so I can't get that sound either. Sub harmonic synthesizer? Na, I don't think so. TLM170? Maybe? I don't have that one either so no can do. It's all Hollywood so it's all fake. Did you also spend $1 million to get that sound like they did? No? I couldn't either. I spent well over $150,000 for my stuff and I still can't get that sound. The problem is we are not using liquid nitrogen with our equipment.

    Mx. Remy Ann David
  3. Suntower

    Suntower Active Member

    No need to be snippy. I'm just wondering how it's done. I don't think it's a $5,000 mic or whatever... I just think it's a technique I don't get. I had hoped there was some insight to be had... because it's not what I'm accustomed to trying to do--ie. just capture the 'real' sound.
  4. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    You'll get used to Remy, she is a wealth of info with a deeper than normal sense of humour , always giving you something that takes a bit of thinking to get.

    I'm with you all the way. I've been struggling with this for years now and I have to say, I think I'm getting closer. I'm a broken record saying this, and I am no million dollar producer with Grammy awards but I do think I could be there if I only didn't have to survive and take care of a family all these years. Does that sound familiar. I'll never give up trying.

    Look into anaolg summing my friend. Its magic compared to ITB.
  5. Suntower

    Suntower Active Member

    If you say so. :D


    I seriously thought there would be a lot of interest in this because it is so intrinsic to recording now... and though I read articles about everything from recording banjos to 'make your own reverb with a slinky' I've never seen anything on the topic.

    I waxed a bit rhapsodic because it's so ironic... it's anything but 'realistic' but if you -don't- use this sort of 'steroids' the movie would seem -unreal-, if that makes sense.

    I've been fascinated about this since I started dinking with goofy plug-ins like 'Ambisone'... audio illusions which make the sound field bigger than life.

    The only progress -I've- made on this front is simply using contrast... ie... having just a cello hold down the low end so that when a 'bass' comes in, it sounds bigger by comparison. But that's not the same thing. If anyone else runs across this topic and has some other references I'd be very grateful.


  6. Davedog

    Davedog Distinguished Member

    It probably is a 5K mic. And a 20K signal chain.

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