Last September, Michael got the chance to present some of our research from the EAD project at the Immersive and 3D Audio conference, at Bologna Italy.
I had the privilege of presenting our paper titled Towards a Data-Driven Rendering Algorithm for Visually Impaired Film and Television Audiences. That is a mouthful of a title, so I will break it down a bit.
In stereo sound systems, the way we perceive sound is influenced by factors like where we’re sitting and the distance between speakers. This understanding is crucial for creating personalised audio experiences, especially for visually impaired audiences in film and television. To achieve this, we developed an algorithm based on the results of a listening test, where participants assessed sound localisation at different positions and speaker distances. Our algorithm, derived from these findings, aims to improve the panning and volume of sounds in stereo systems.
Before involving visually impaired participants in our tests, we established a solid methodology, so we can use these results as a control group. Soon, we hope to invite visually impaired participants to take part in some of the same experiments and see how their results differ. The conference was a great opportunity for us to get feedback on our research. We received some useful comments, and people highlighted how they were happy to see more papers on accessibility showing up at the conference.
There were several great talks, but a particular highlight was discovering the work of researcher Caitlin Kelly, who presented a paper titled Study on Sound and Sound Design for Accessibility in Cultural Heritage Contexts in Ireland. It was heartening to see a parallel commitment to accessibility, highlighting the growing importance of inclusive practices in the field of audio. It’s also of personal interest given that two members of the EAD project are from Ireland, Gavin and myself.
I also have to say that this conference had the most impressive lunch spread I have ever seen. Ravioli cooked in a creamy sauce with several side salads is a welcome improvement from the Tesco meal deal I’m used to scoffing down between sessions. I also can’t say I’ve ever enjoyed a Theremin concert with dinner before.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the conference committee, especially our former University of York colleague, Dr Cobi Van Tonder. This was my first conference since lockdown, and it is always nice to see a familiar face after traveling so far. Looking forward to the next conference!