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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A photo of Kerr.

Interview with Kerr Castle

A photo of Harel.

Interview with Harel Chait

A photo of textiles and electronics.

How can we combine touch and sound...

– as well as visual qualities – in interaction? A guest post by Emilie Giles. Find out more.

A frame from the movie Pearl.

142nd International Audio Engineering Society Convention

On 20 May 2017 Mariana and Gavin gave a tutorial titled Using Binaural Audio to increase accessibility to Film and Television How Digital at the 142nd International AES Convention held in Berlin. Find out more.

A frame from the movie Pearl.

Stereo vs binaural

Would you like to hear the difference between an binaural and a regular stereo soundtrack? Listen to these two audio clips from Pearl’s opening sequence. Find out more.

A photo of surround loudspeaker array.

Binaural Listening Tests for Accessibility

Last month Lewis and Gavin tested binaural sound with 33 visually impaired participants. The two main objectives were to analyse participants’ difficulties in identifying the number of people in a scene and the perception of moving characters when listening over a pair of headphones and see whether alternative methods of audio mixing could reduce these difficulties. Find out more.

A photo of the front building of the University of Westminster.

University of Westminster

On 21 March 2017 Mariana gave a talk at University of Westminster titled EAD - Digital Audio and Accessibility to Film and Television in which she discussed the concepts behind the project as well as initial findings.

The logo of The Space & BBC Academy.

The Space & BBC Academy Accessibility Workshop

On 20 April 2017 Mariana run a workshop titled How Digital Tools Can Help Make Arts More Accessible in Nottingham and participated in a discussions on Digital Tools which focuses on how digital innovations are helping make the arts more accessible. Find out more.

A photo of the Citizens Theatre building.

The Start of the AD movement in Scotland

An interview with Susan Gibson, an early supporter of live AD in Scotland. Find out more.