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
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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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    A photo of a theatre mask.

    Staging Accessibility at the Theatre

    Accessibility should take centre stage as a creative consideration at the theatre. Find out more.

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    Press Publication

    On 23 February 2017, Disability Sports Network interviewed Mariana in their Speed of Sound programme.

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    Exciting Projects on Accessibility

    Whilst working on the EAD project we’ve been impressed by lots of exciting research studies, which share our aim of promoting accessibility and social inclusion. Here are just a few of them. Find out more.

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    You may remember that back in August we conducted online/telephone surveys on current accessibility measures and hopes for the future of Audio Description. We received 127 responses which have been invaluable to our research – but what encouraged participants to respond? Find out more.

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    Want your voice to be heard? Surveys and the end user.

    You may remember that back in August we conducted online/telephone surveys on current accessibility measures and hopes for the future of Audio Description. We received 127 responses which have been invaluable to our research – but what encouraged participants to respond? Find out more.

    A photo of a building at the University of York next to a large pond.

    York Talks - Seeing With Our Ears

    On 11 January 2017, at the York Talks – Research in the Spotlight event organised by the University of York, Mariana gave a presentation outlining our research progress. Find out more.

    Marianna and Gavin presenting in front of an audience.

    Disseminating the Project

    I haven’t written a diary entry for a while and that’s mostly because I’ve been busy disseminating the Enhancing Audio Description project through talks in a series of events. Find out more.

    Logo of Institute of Acoustics.

    Reproduced Sound 2016

    On 15 November 2016, Mariana gave a presentation title Sound Design, Spatialisation and Accessibility in Film and Television at the Reproduced Sound 2016 – Sound with Pictures - Time is of Essence Conference. The event was held in Holiday Inn, Southampton. Find out more.

    An old, black and white photo of an elderly lady reading on a sofa while being recorded with a camera crew.

    Language Transfer in Audiovisual Media Conference, Berlin

    On 3 November 2016, Mariana gave a presentation at the 11th International Conference on Language Transfer in Audiovisual Media, Berlin. The title of the presentation was Towards a Framework for Enhanced Audio Description Find out more.

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    Jerry and Warren from CamSight

    Some thoughts on our project from our advisory panel members, Jerry and Warren from Cam Sight, Cambridge. Find out more.

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    Cambridge Festival of Ideas

    On 29 October 2016, at the Anglia Ruskin University, Mariana presented the project at the Cambridge Festival of Ideas. The presentation was titled Using Sound Design to Foster Inclusivity. Find out more.

    A photo of Mariana standing.

    AD, the Art of Access, London

    On 21 October, the Marian gave a presentation at the Audio Description - the Art of Access Conference, in the Young Vic Theatre, London in Panel 2, The Aesthetics of Access. The presentation's title was Integrating Sound Design to Audio Description. Find out more.

    A photo of Krisztian playing audio games on a mobile device with the game logos behind him.

    More on Audio Games

    Further to our previous blog post on Audio Games and Accessibility published last month, we have worked on preparing a video that describes in detail the different sound design methods used in the audio games Papa Sangre, The Nightjar and A Blind Legend. Find out more.

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    Celebrating 6 months of EAD

    Since we launched our project in April 2016 we have had over 13,000 visits to this website from 31 countries, most from the UK and the US. 65% of our visitors found this website through referrals on social media, Twitter and Facebook, 23% by direct linking and 21% with organic searches for instance by using search engines like google.com with keywords ‘enhancing audio description’ or ‘audio description project’. We are thrilled that the interest in our project is growing and we hope to continue raising awareness on Audio Description and inclusivity in the coming months. Thanks!

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    Notes on Blindness

    Back in June I had the pleasure of being invited to the screening of Notes on Blindness at Sheffield Doc Fest. I had watched the short documentary online a while back and was fascinated by the audio-visual aesthetics and the intriguing accounts in John Hull’s diaries, so…I didn’t hesitate to accept the invitation. Find out more.

    A photo collage with Krisztian playing audio games.

    On Audio Games and Accessibility

    As part of our research on the use of sound design to make films and TV programmes inclusive, we have been looking into the field of Audio Games, that is, games in which audio is the main way of communication and entertainment and which can be played regardless of one’s sight condition. Find out more.

    A photo of Mariana presenting.

    York Festival of Ideas

    We have uploaded our first podcast which contains audio extracts from Mariana’s talk at York Festival of Ideas on June 13 2016. Find out more.

    A photo of Marina addressing a focus group in a screening room.

    Survey and Focus Groups

    As part of the first phase of Enhancing Audio Description we conducted an online/telephone survey as well as focus groups on current accessibility measures and the future of Audio Description. Find out more.

    A photo of the Theatre, Film and Television Department at the University of York.

    University of York's TFTV

    On June 13 2016, Mariana and Gavin presented the project at the University of York's Department of Theatre, Film and Television. The presentation was titled Seeing with your Ears - Film and Television for Visually Impaired Audiences. Find out more.

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    Dialogue Beyond Sight Exhibition

    On the 13 July we traveled to London’s OXO Gallery to attend the first day of the Dialogue Beyond Sight (DBS) event. DBS is a multi-sensory exhibition featuring works by visually impaired artists and performers. Find out more.

    The logo of AES.

    2018 AES Milan 2018

    At the 144th Audio Engineering Conference held between 23rd-26th May 2018, Mariana and Gavin presented a tutorial titled From Seeing to Hearing - Sound Design and Spatialization for Visually Impaired Film Audiences. Find out more.


    Our team carries out focus groups, interviews and other sessions on a regular basis. If you are visually impaired and are interested in participating you can sign up to our participants' mailing list below to find out about the opportunities available.