Hello!

The Enhancing Audio Description II project seeks to explore the potential of sound design practices and spatial audio to provide accessible film and television experiences for visually impaired audiences. It fuses audio technology and creativity to widen the notion of media accessibility and increase the quality and quantity of provision, providing cutting edge techniques to the UK cultural sector.

Binaural listening test room

The project proposes a new paradigm in accessible experiences, in which there is not an overreliance on a narrator's spoken word, as in traditional Audio Description practices. Instead it utilises new accessibility features that include: the addition of sound effects, the spatialisation of dialogue and sounding objects, and first-person narration, to provide accessible experiences that are seamlessly integrated to the soundtrack of a film or television programme. These techniques are integrated into film and television workflows from the development phase up to final delivery.

The project builds up from previous research which demonstrated the success of these methods, and explores them even further, by concentrating on the conveyance of cinematographic elements through sound, the exploration of the intricacies of using first-person narration across different genres and different cast sizes, as well as exploring how spatialisation techniques can be adapted for multi-listener scenarios for a variety of loudspeaker formats. The exploration of these methods will be conducted with an end-user centred approach, in which visually impaired audiences are consulted from the design process up to delivery. Furthermore, the project explores the creation of guidelines that will allow the incorporation of these methods to professional broadcasting pipelines and film workflows, by collaborating with a Project Advisory Panel representative of the different roles in film and television as well as end users.

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Blog

Girl looking through a foggy window.

Pearl

Pearl is a short film (Palumbo, 2014) whose soundtrack was redesigned as part of our project in 2016. The soundtrack uses the EAD principles to provide an accessible experience for visually impaired audiences, that is based on creative sound design practices, including binaural audio and first person narration. Find out more.


Logo of Machtman-AD.

Press Publication

On 20 December 2021, the new blog titled AUDIO DESCRIPTION, Research and Practice by Michael Achtman launched with an article featuring our project. Find out more.


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Press Publication

On 18 November 2021, RNIB Connect Radio interviewed Mariana in their 1023th episode titled The Future of Audio Description? Find out more.


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Press Publication

On 1 November 2021, Tech Explore published an article featuring our project titled Researchers Develop New Methods to Enhance Film Experience for Visually Impaired. audiences. Find out more.


The logo of Tech Explore.

Press Publication

On 1 November 2021, Tech Explore published an article featuring our project titled Researchers Develop New Methods to Enhance Film Experience for Visually Impaired. audiences. Find out more.


The logo of News Update.

Press Publication

On 1 November 2021, News Update published an article featuring our project titled Researchers Develop New Methods to Enhance Film Experience for Visually Impaired. audiences. Find out more.


The logo of BBC Sounds.

BBC Sounds Amazing

On 25 Oct 2020, Mariana gave a presentation at BBC Sounds Amazing - Celebrating Innovation in Audio.


The logo of the Digital Television Group.

DTG Summit

On 7 Oct 2020, Mariana was invited to give an online presentation on the project at the Digital Television Group (DTG) Summit, in the Next-Generation Audio and Accessibility session.


The logo of the Digital Television Group.

Evolving Access Services

On 28 May 2020, Mariana gave a presentation titled EAD; Integrated Access, Sound Design and Binaural Audio at the Evolving Access Services - Content for All, Television for All online event organised by the DTG Accessibility Group. Find out more.