Drag
Sennheiser and Sunshine team up
to present a 3D audio thriller short film

Fear is our most basic and powerful emotion.

What we hear plays massively into how scared we get. Through 2018, Sunshine, Sennheiser and acclaimed horror film director, Roxanne Benjamin developed an entertainment property that was a first in the audio technology genre: a sound-led horror short film called Final Stop.

The rustle of a newspaper, the sound of the bus engine far away, the steps of a stalker in the pitch-black night; the hairs on the back of every neck will stand up thanks to the incredible 3D sound in the seven minute nerve jangler. Benjamin used the soundscape to create a thrilling atmosphere, with stunning audio recorded using Sennheiser’s AMBEO Smart Headset. The result is a gripping 3D audio thriller.

Final Stop was made to get under your skin.

Just a smartphone was used to capture the footage and the majority of the audio was recorded with Sennheiser’s AMBEO Smart Headset to create the chilling atmosphere of every scene as realistically as possible. The headset, which was developed with A/D conversion specialist Apogee, makes 3D audio recordings possible: microphones in each of the earpieces record true-to-nature ambient sounds which can be played back by any stereo headphones. As the sound around the film’s protagonist is recorded in 3D, the viewer is completely immersed in the movie’s soundscape; a passenger rustles his newspaper in the front of the bus the protagonist is on, a couple argues to her right while behind her, she senses someone watching her.

Even though the film was made without any significant dialogue - an astonishingly realistic and thrilling cinematic atmosphere with the use of the AMBEO Smart Headset - because of the three-dimensional sound, horror and shocking moments appear more intense than ever before.

“Since we structured the short around the use of 3D audio, I kept the camera largely behind Phoebe, so that audiences really felt that fear of being followed. This was the element that struck me the most about the AMBEO Smart Headset when I was first testing it out – just how effective it could be in enhancing a narrative horror setting. The 3D element really brings you a whole lot closer to the action and feeling like you’re right there with Phoebe as she’s experiencing this fear. It’d be fascinating to see it being used for a full thriller or horror feature.”

Roxanne Benjamin, director of Final Stop

“We wanted to let viewers experience the remarkable emotional quality 3D audio can lend to any film and with Final Stop, Roxanne tapped the full potential of the AMBEO Smart Headset in providing a frighteningly lifelike audio experience."

Uwe Cremering, Director AMBEO Immersive Audio at Sennheiser

The protagonist, played by Phoebe Tonkin, is on her way home from the city on a night bus. Soon she notices a man in the back of the bus whose face is covered by a hood. As more people get off the bus, she finds him getting closer to her. Fearfully, she gets off the bus in an abandoned part of the city where she hopes to shake off her pursuer. She then realises that she didn’t get off alone.

Final Stop director Roxanne Benjamin is rooted in the thriller and horror genre. As a producer, screenwriter and director, Benjamin has broken new ground and established her own understanding of horror with episodic films such as Southbound, XX and the V/H/S series. She is currently in post on the survival thriller Body at Brighton Rock, which she wrote and directed. Leading actress Phoebe Tonkin also has genre experience: In 2012 she appeared in the horror movie Bait 3D and joined the cast of The Vampire Diaries. The young Australian became known to a broad audience through her role in the series H2O: Just Add Water, in which she played one of the main characters, Cleo.

To support the film and to go into more detail on the AMBEO Smart Headset, additional content was produced by the Sunshine team for fans who wanted to delve into how the film was created. A captivating making-of film shows how to make your own 3D audio thriller, an interview with the sound team gives you the inside track on what it’s like to create the audio landscape of a film like this and an interview with Phoebe Tonkin and Roxanne Benjamin provides an entertaining insight to the production.

The film also had the honour of appearing at Fright Fest, the premier horror film festival. It was screened with a packed out cinema with each person getting their own pair of Momentum headphones through which to experience the thriller. Additional screenings for press took place in New York, Los Angeles and Sydney and everyone was suitably spooked!

Watch FINAL STOP here. www.sennheiser.com/finalstop

Final Stop creates the perfect setting to experience the 3D soundscape of a movie to full effect.