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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A photo of Bath Spa University from a birds eye view.

Seeing Sound Symposium, Bath Spa University

On 23 Mar 2018, Mariana presented her paper Seeing With Our Ears - Designing Soundtracks For Visually Impaired Audiences at the Seeing Sound. Seeing Sound was an informal practice-led symposium, at University of Bath Spa, exploring multimedia work which foregrounds the relationship between sound and image. It explores areas such as visual music, abstract cinema, experimental animation, audiovisual performance and installation practice through paper sessions, screenings, performances and installations. Find out more.

Photo of Mariana addressing an audience.

AES Annual Meeting and Lecture

On 7 Feb 2018, at King's College London, Mariana (then elected chair) gave a public lecture after the annual meeting. The meeting was followed by a social at the Shakespeare’s Head in Holbourn. Find out more.

A photo of Olivia and Agnieszka presenting at our conference.

Olivia Gerber-Morón and Agnieszka Szarkowska at our Conference

You can listen to the presentation Olivia and Agnieszka gave at our conference, in our 7th podcast, titled What Makes a Good Subtitle? - Understanding People’s Views on Subtitling Quality. Find out more.

A photo of Maria presenting at our conference.

Maria Oshodi at our Conference

You can listen to the presentation Maria gave at our conference, in our 6th podcast, titled A Brief History of Integrating Description in Theatre by Visually Impaired Artists. Find out more.

A photo of Kerr presenting at our conference.

Kerr Castle at our Conference

You can listen to Kerr's presentation at our conference, in our 5th podcast, titled An Audio Art Form - Accessing the Visual of TV with Audio Description. We uploaded the pod under his previously published interview. Find out more.

A photo of Lauren presenting at our conference.

Lauren Ward at our Conference

You can listen to the presentation Lauren gave at our conference in our 4th podcast titled Television Dialogue; Balancing Audibility, Attention and Accessibility. Find out more.

The logo of the Independent online newspaper.

Press Publication

On 29 November 2017, the Independent published Mariana's article titled How a New Technology Will Help Blind People 'See' at the Cinema. Find out more.

Logo of Semantic Audio with a buffalo on the left.

Sound Talking at Science Museum

On 3 Nov 2017, at the Sound Talking event held in the London Science Museum, Mariana gave a talk titled The language of Sound - Creating Accessible Film Experiences For Visually Impaired Audiences. Find out more.

The logo of The Conversation online newspaper.

Press Publication

On 22 November 2017, The Conversation published Mariana's article titled How Our New Technology Will Help Blind People ‘See’ at the Cinema. Find out more.