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EAD - The Screening Poster

Enhancing Audio Description: The Screening

23rd September 2017, Central London

We’re pleased to announce that we will be hosting a digital exhibition to showcase the research of the Enhancing Audio Description Project into how sound design techniques can be used to rethink accessibility to film and television for visually impaired audiences.

More information and free registration here.

Past Events

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142nd International Audio Engineering Society Convention

TUTORIAL

20th-23rd May 2017, Berlin

Presenters:
Mariana Lopez and Gavin Kearney

Using Binaural Audio to increase accessibility to Film and Television

Audio Description (AD) is a pre-recorded verbal commentary that is added to a film or television programme to make visual elements clearer to visually impaired audiences.  One of the disadvantages of AD is that the addition of a layer of verbal commentary means that elements from the original soundtrack are masked and valuable information on the film as well as part of the intended engagement is lost.  The Enhancing Audio Description proposes to use binaural audio to reduce the number of verbal descriptions used for accessibility, by using accurately placed sound elements to give audiences information on the position of characters and objects in space as well as information on cinematic elements such as high and low camera angles and shots.

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The Space & BBC Academy Accessibility Workshop

‘How digital tools can help make arts more accessible’

20 April 2017, 10:00 – 16:00, Nottingham

Presenters:
Mariana Lopez

Mariana will be participating in a discussion on Digital Tools which focuses on how digital innovations are helping make the arts more accessible.

More information on Eventbrite.

University of Westminster

Enhancing Audio Description: Digital Audio and Accessibility to Film and Television

TALK

21st March 5pm, University of Westminster.

Mariana Lopez
Authors: Mariana Lopez, Gavin Kearney and Krisztián Hofstädter

Mariana will be discussing the concepts behind the project as well as initial findings.

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Enhancing Audio Description: Digital Audio and Accessibility to Film and Television

SEMINAR

13 March 2017, 7pm, Queen’s University Belfast

Mariana Lopez
Authors: Mariana Lopez, Gavin Kearney and Krisztián Hofstädter

Since its conception in the 1970s, Audio Description (AD) has been making visual content accessible to visually impaired people through sound. Although, throughout the years, digital technologies have been used to improve the mode of delivery of AD, the notions behind its design have been mostly unchanged despite significant advancements in the field of digital sound production and postproduction. Furthermore, AD is a process separate from the creative production and only considered as an accessibility strategy. AD guidelines have failed to acknowledge how advancements in digital audio could be game-changers in the process of conveying information as well as providing an entertaining experience to visually impaired audiences.

Dr Mariana Lopez, the principal investigator in the ‘Enhancing Audio Description’ project will discuss how digital audio technologies can transform the design and implementation of AD for film and television and, as a result, change the ways in which visually impaired audiences experience audio-visual presentations.

This presentation discusses how the number of descriptions used in AD could be reduced by using surround sound and how third person narration could be replaced by first person narration to provide a more organic experience for audiences.

Mariana will be discussing the concepts behind the project as well as initial findings.

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Seeing With Our Ears

YORK TALKS – RESEARCH IN THE SPOTLIGHT

11 January 2017, Spring Lane Building, University of York, Campus West, YO10 5DD

Mariana Lopez,
Authors: Mariana Lopez, Gavin Kearney and Krisztián Hofstädter

With the number of visually impaired people in the UK expected to rise to four million by 2020, Dr Mariana Lopez is bringing the creative and technological industries together to widen access to the many millions of them who watch film and television.

She argues that the film and TV industry has failed to catch up with new technologies in the field of sound design, which can be used to reduce the number of verbal descriptions and provide an immersive experience. Her goal is to exploit the potential of existing technologies – getting film directors, scriptwriters and actors to ‘see’ with their ears.

Book tickets here and more info here.

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Enhancing Audio Description: sound design, spatialisation and accessibility in film and television

REPRODUCED SOUND 2016 – SOUND WITH PICTURES

15-17 November 2016, Holiday Inn, Southampton

Presenter:
Mariana Lopez,
Authors: Mariana Lopez, Gavin Kearney and Krisztián Hofstädter

Audio Description (AD) for film and television consists of a pre-recorded audio commentary that makes visual content accessible to visually impaired audiences by providing information that clarifies the narrative.  Despite significant advancements in the field of digital sound production and postproduction, the notions behind the design of AD have been mostly unchanged since its origins.  This paper explores initial findings from the ‘Enhancing Audio Description’ project, which explores the use of sound design and spatialisation to enhance AD, providing an audio track that is closer to the filmmaker’s vision.  We report on our analysis on current AD user experience and on the exploration of the use of surround sound rendering to create a more spatially accurate soundtrack, which includes a rendition of the positions of characters and objects in space, types of shot, camera movements, camera angles and depth of frame; such methods will reduce the need for descriptions.

More info here.

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Towards a Framework for Enhanced Audio Description

Languages & The Media, 11th International Conference on Language Transfer in Audiovisual Media

Thursday 3rd November 2.30-4pm in Audio Description 2 Panel, Berlin, Germany

Presenter:
Mariana Lopez,
Authors: Mariana Lopez, Gavin Kearney and Krisztián Hofstädter

Since its conception in the 1970s, Audio Description (AD) has been making visual content accessible to visually impaired people through sound. In film and television a pre-recorded audio commentary provides information that clarifies the narrative, such as descriptions on actions, gestures and places. Although, throughout the years, digital technologies have been used to improve the mode of delivery of AD, the notions behind its design have been mostly unchanged despite significant advancements in the field of digital sound production and postproduction. Furthermore, AD is a process separate from the creative production and only considered as an accessibility strategy. AD guidelines have failed to acknowledge how advancements in digital audio could be game-changers in the process of conveying information as well as providing an entertaining experience to visually impaired audiences.

The ‘Enhancing Audio Description’ project led by Mariana Lopez (Anglia Ruskin University) and Gavin Kearney (University of York) is the first to research how digital audio technologies can transform the design and implementation of AD for film, television and interactive media and as a result, change the ways in which visually impaired audiences experience audio-visual presentations.

The proposed presentation discusses how the number of descriptions used in AD could be reduced by using surround sound rendering and interactive media systems to create a more spatially accurate soundtrack. The researchers will report on their exploration on the accurate rendition of character and object positions in space, types of shot, camera movements, camera angles and depth of frame.

At the heart of the ‘Enhancing Audio Description’ project is the belief that findings in the field of accessibility should not remain in the research lab but should instead reach the end user. With this in mind, the project counts with a Project Advisory Panel with representatives from the film, TV and accessibility sectors; the presentation will report on suggestions drawn from Panel discussions on how to ensure the film, TV and interactive media sectors are both agile and inclusive.

More info here.

Print

Using Sound Design to Foster Inclusivity

Saturday 29 October: 3:00pm – 4:00pm, Anglia Ruskin University, East Road, CB1 1PT

Presenter:
Mariana Lopez,
Authors: Mariana Lopez, Gavin Kearney and Krisztián Hofstädter

The ‘Enhancing Audio Description’ project investigates how digital audio technologies can transform the design and implementation of Audio Description for film, television and interactive media and as a result, change the ways in which visually impaired audiences experience audio-visual presentations. Mariana Lopez will discuss and demonstrate an array of novel sound design techniques being used to enhance Audio Description, providing an audio track that is closer to the filmmaker’s vision and that aims to bridge the gap between sighted and visually impaired audiences.

Presented by Anglia Ruskin University.

Festival of Ideas website here.

Mariana

Integrating Sound Design to Audio Description Processes

Audio Description: the Art of Access Conference

Friday 21 October, 10am-6pm, Young Vic Theatre, London

Panel 2: The Aesthetics of Access:
1.30pm-3.00pm – The Clare (downstairs theatre space)

Presenter:
Mariana Lopez,
Authors: Mariana Lopez, Gavin Kearney and Krisztián Hofstädter

Throughout the years digital technologies have been used to improve the mode of delivery of Audio Description for film, television and live events. However, the notions behind its design have been mostly unchanged despite significant advancements in digital sound. AD guidelines have failed to acknowledge how advancements in digital audio could be game-changers in the process of conveying information as well as providing an entertaining experience to visually impaired audiences.

The ‘Enhancing Audio Description’ project led by Mariana Lopez and Gavin Kearney is the first to research how digital audio technologies can transform the design and implementation of AD for film, television, interactive media and live events and as a result, change the ways in which visually impaired audiences experience audio-visual presentations.

The proposed presentation discusses how sound design can be integrated to AD processes through the use of additional audio recordings and surround sound rendering; all of which could reduce the number of descriptions needed. The use of surround sound is proposed to provide an accurate rendition of character and object positions in space, types of shot, camera movements, camera angles and depth of frame. The application of first person descriptions by the main characters will also be discussed.

More info here.

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Seeing with your Ears: Film and Television for Visually Impaired Audiences

June 13 2016, Department of Theatre, Film and Television, University of York

Presenter:
Mariana Lopez, Anglia Ruskin University, Cambridge
Gavin Kearney, University of York, York
Since the 1970s Audio Description (AD) has been making visual content accessible to visually impaired people through sound.  In film and television a pre-recorded audio commentary provides information that clarifies the narrative, such as descriptions on actions, gestures and places.  Although, throughout the years, digital technologies have been used to improve the mode of delivery of AD, the notions behind its design have been mostly unchanged despite significant advancements in the field of digital sound production and postproduction. This interactive talk introduces participants to the history of sound design and accessibility in film and TV and explores the speakers’ own research on the use of surround sound rendering, interactive media systems and first person narration to create more engaging and spatially accurate soundtracks.

Book tickets here.

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140th International Audio Engineering Society Convention

June 4-7 2016, Paris, France

T23 – Sound Design and Accessibility in Film and Television

Presenter:
Mariana Lopez, Anglia Ruskin University – Cambridge, UK
Since the 1970s Audio Description (AD) has been making visual content accessible to visually impaired people through sound. In film and television a pre-recorded audio commentary provides information that clarifies the narrative, such as descriptions on actions, gestures and places. Although, throughout the years, digital technologies have been used to improve the mode of delivery of AD, the notions behind its design have been mostly unchanged despite significant advancements in the field of digital sound production and post production. This tutorial introduces participants to the history of sound design and accessibility in film and TV and discusses new research on the use of surround sound rendering and interactive media systems to create more spatially accurate soundtracks, as well as the introduction of first person narration.

Full information here.