My journey with Formosa Group has been nothing short of remarkable. I am thrilled and immensely grateful to have been part of this internship programme that is not only a gateway to learning but also an opportunity to contribute to accessible filmmaking. As someone with a deep-rooted passion for cinema and accessibility, this experience has been a dream come true.
Accessible filmmaking has always been of interest to me. Throughout my academic and professional journey, I’ve been fortunate to gain experience in localisation dubbing and subtitling, particularly for the deaf and hard of hearing. However, I’ve never had the chance to explore the intricate world of Audio Description until now. This internship has been a transformative experience, providing insights into a realm of filmmaking that often goes unnoticed but is indispensable for many.
The initial week of the internship was about orienting myself within Formosa Group’s workflow. I embraced the role of a studio runner, assisting the team with various tasks such as setting up mixing studios and receiving clients from production. As I made my way around the studio and observed the professionals at work, I could already sense the passion and dedication that drives them. This set the tone for the weeks ahead.
Week 2 was a revelation. I had the opportunity to sit in with sound mixers and delve into the intricacies of sound mixing for high-budget films and TV. It was nothing short of awe-inspiring to witness these experts sculpting soundscapes with precision.
I learned about the meticulous attention to detail that goes into every sound, from the rustling of leaves to the subtleties of a character’s whispered confession. It was a privilege to see how these audio specialists use their tools to evoke emotions, build tension, and create the immersive experiences we all love at the movies. This experience left me with an even deeper appreciation for the craft of sound mixing.
During my third week, I transitioned from an observer to a participant. I was entrusted with setting up a Pro Tools session and configuring the Atmos Renderer for the EAD project, all under the guidance of Formosa Group’s seasoned staff.
It was both exhilarating and nerve-wracking. I had the chance to put into practice what I had been observing for weeks. Learning the technical aspects of Pro Tools was a significant part of this experience. The collaboration and mentorship from the team were invaluable, and it made a complex task feel achievable.
As my internship reached its final week, I had the opportunity to experiment with binaural audio and reverberation presets. This experimentation aimed to differentiate diegetic dialogue from I-Voice narrations (first person descriptions), one of the elements that sets a distinction between Enhanced Audio Description (EAD) and traditional Audio Description. The application of binaural audio was a fascinating aspect to explore.
By manipulating the auditory space, I began to understand how EAD can transcend mere words and become an immersive experience in itself. The intricacies of differentiating narrations from dialogue, and how the positioning of sounds can significantly impact the viewer’s experience, were eye-opening.
Through these four weeks, I realised that EAD is not just about narrating visual elements; it’s about creating a rich and engaging auditory experience that complements the visuals. It’s a delicate art that enhances the storytelling for those who rely on it.
I find myself immensely grateful for the knowledge, guidance, and mentorship I’ve received. I’ve learned that EAD is a form of storytelling in itself, a vital thread in the rich tapestry of cinema. Film is a universal language, and everyone should have the opportunity to partake in its beauty.
My heartfelt thanks go out to the Formosa Group team for this incredible opportunity. I look forward to seeing where this newfound passion for Audio Description will lead and how it can make a difference in the world of film and TV.