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

Enhancing Audio Description II: implementing accessible, personalised and inclusive film and television experiences for visually impaired audiences, is a project that 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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MySight York's imformation booklet on a table.

Visually Impaired Awareness and Sighted Guiding Training

Last June, we did two workshops with MySight York, a local organisation in York supporting visually impaired people. The first one was a whole day training session delivered by Vicky and Jade from MySight York. Find out more.

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2022 Conference and Exhibition on Languages and the Media

On 7 Nov 2022, Mariana delivered a pre-conference workshop titled 'Enhanced Audio Description - Inclusive Cinematic Experiences Through Sound Design' at the 14th International Conference and Exhibition on Languages and the Media in Berlin, Germany. Find out more.

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Inclusive Impact Award Nomination

Our project has been nominated for an Inclusive Impact Award! Find out more.

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York Festival of Ideas — On Binaural Audio and Beyond

Michael got the chance to help Mariana and Gavin with their Festival of Ideas talk last June. This post is a reflection on his experience. Find out more.

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We are excited to announce that our project will be supporting a third internship during the first year of the 4 year project. In conjunction with and funded by Yorkshire Consortium for Equity in Doctoral Education (YCEDE), we have a further internship which is now open for undergraduate student applications from Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic backgrounds. Find out more.

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BBC World Service's Digital Planet Radio

We are delighted to tell you about a recent opportunity where Mariana and our project were featured in a series of accessibility segments on BBC World Service's Digital Planet, a weekly tech radio show. Find out more.

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We are delighted to announce that our project will be supporting a number of internships throughout the course of the 4 year project. The initial two internships are now being advertised to students across the University of York and are currently open for applications! Find out more.

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York Festival of Ideas 2022

On 15 June 2022, between 6pm to 7pm, Mariana and Gavin presented our work at the York Festival of Ideas at the University of York. Find out more.

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Leeds School of Arts

On 27 April 2022, Mariana gave a talk titled Enhanced Audio Description - Sound, Design, Creativity and Integrated Access at the Leeds School of Arts, now archived on YouTube. Find out more.