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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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Blog

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.


A photo of Queens University Belfast.

Queen’s University Belfast

On 13 March 2017 Mariana gave a seminar at Queen’s University Belfast titled EAD - Digital Audio and Accessibility to Film and Television, in which she discussed the concepts behind the project as well as initial findings. Find out more.


A photo of an microphone.

Conference News

We are thrilled to announce that we have confirmed Maria Oshodi, Director of Extant as a keynote speaker at our Conference on Accessibility in Film, Television and Interactive Media. Maria’s keynote will be followed by a demo of Flatland. Find out more.


Illustration with a bat using echolocation.

‘Perception’ Game in the Pipeline

Game developer, Deep-End Games is funding their new horror video game, Perception, through Kickstarter. How is this game related to our Audio Description research? Find out more.


A photo of a young girl cycling with a VR headset on her head.

Exciting Projects On Accessibility Part 2

We have encountered too many interesting projects to fit into our last blog post on exciting projects, so here is part two. Find out more.


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.