Bad Boy Bubby: Binaural Sound Effects

Bad Boy Bubby: Binaural Sound Effects
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Bubby (Nicholas Hope) has left the room carrying a suitcase that contains the now-dead cat. He follows the sound of singing until he finds a group from the Salvation Army. They take him to eat pizza. He is overwhelmed by the taste, because he has never had much other than bread with sugar and warm milk.

Bad Boy Bubby (Rolf de Heer, 1993) was recorded with ‘binaural sound’, an attempt to get true stereo effects by placing two radio microphones just above the ears of the actor (which is partly why his hair is so wild, to obscure them). These give a much more subjective feel to the sound, so that we hear the world as Bubby hears it.

The pizza parlour scene, says de Heer, would normally be built up with a large number of recorded sound tracks to achieve the denseness and spatial richness of real sound. Instead, in this scene we hear only the two tracks recorded from behind Bubby’s ears.

If you listen to the sound with good headphones, you may be able to hear how subjective the sound is. As Bubby passes through the streamers at the door, you can hear the sound of those streamers brushing past his head, where the microphones are concealed.

The woman who gets up and leaves is Angel (Carmel Johnson). She appears in a couple of scenes before Bubby actually meets her. Note how the Salvation Army man takes the money for the pizzas from his collection tins.

Notes by Paul Byrnes