New York, NY (May 18, 2011)—-Meyer Sound recently teamed with the TV show MythBusters to see whether gunshots and explosions heard in films sound like the real thing.
The episode, entitled “Blow Your Own Sail,” aired May 11, 2011 on Discovery Channel. For the recent episode, hosts Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman reunited with “Honorary MythBuster” and Meyer Sound staff scientist Roger Schwenke, with the goal to compare highly accurate, on-the-scene audio recordings to their Hollywood counterparts.
“Real gunshots and explosions are too loud to reproduce exactly in a theater and would damage people’s hearing,” says Schwenke. “So the question is: are movie sound effects simply the real sound played back at a safe level, or have they been changed in ways other than just level?”
To put explosive sounds under a sonic microscope, the team used gunshots both naked and as shrouded by silencers, a gasoline bomb, and a C4 explosive charge, with the assistance of audio equipment supplied by Meyer Sound. The recordings of actual gunshots and explosions were compared to movie soundtracks using Meyer Sound’s high-resolution Wild Tracks audio playback (32-bit floating point at 48 kHz), HD-1 studio monitors, and instrumentation microphones from Brüel & Kjær.
“We were dealing with extremely fast and loud transients, while real gunshots have extreme peaks of up to 165 dB,” adds Schwenke. “They were quite a challenge to record, but we were able to get all the data we needed to discern different sonic characteristics.”
The MythBusters episode: