Archive for the ‘technology’ Category

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IBC 2015: TV Sound for Hearing Impaired People

September 23, 2015

IBC 2015 Demonstration of Object Based Clean Audio

hearing-30097_640The problems of hearing impaired people watching TV have been well documented of late. Loud music, background noise and other factors can ruin the enjoyment of TV for many people with hearing loss – around 10 million people in the UK according to Action on Hearing Loss.

In previous research funded by the ITC and Ofcom I looked at solutions that took advantage of the (then) recent introduction of 5.1 surround sound broadcast. Some of this ended up in broadcast standards and is being used by broadcasters. Now emerging new audio standards are opening the door to improving TV sound much more for hearing impaired people, and also for many others.

I’ve written about some of this work before, a recent blog post described our journal article in the Journal of the Audio Engineering Society where my colleague Rob Oldfield and I picked up where my PhD left off and looked at how we could improve TV sound for hearing impaired people by using features of emerging object-based audio formats. In object-based audio all component parts of a sound scene are broadcast separate and are combined at the set top box based on metadata contained in the broadcast transmission. This means that speech, and other elements important to understanding narrative, can be treated differently compared to background sound (such as music, noise etc).

I’ve just returned from IBC in Amsterdam where we’ve been demonstrating some University of Salford research outputs on object-based clean audio with DTS, a key player in object-based audio developments.

IBC-9

IBC 2015: The largest global electronic media and entertainment show in Amsterdam last week.

Object-based Clean Audio at IBC 2015

Last week we spent a week showing the results of our recent collaboration with DTS – presenting personalised TV audio and Read the rest of this entry ?

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Picture Post: Abbey Road Studios Visit

February 15, 2014

Arrival at Abbey Road Studios

A real treat for me this month as I visited Abbey Road Studios for the first time and was treated to a tour around what is pretty much hallowed ground for audio geeks and music fans, both of which descriptions apply to me. Arrival over the iconic zebra crossing and I was met by Jon Eades from Abbey Road who was kind enough to show us around. First up was Studio 3 for a run down on the history of the studios and of the changes in audio tech that have taken place during its illustrious career. The building was first converted into a recording studio in 1931 by The Gramophone Company, later becoming EMI Studios and finally becoming known as Abbey Road Studios in 1970. We’ve had a couple of students on work placement here from our audio courses at University of Salford over the years and one is still working there today.

EMI TG21345 console

EMI TG21345 console. A piece of music history still in use today at Abbey Road (the TG name is from ‘The Gramophone Company’, EMI’s predecessor)

Studio 3 was our starting point and is one of the smaller studios here, mostly used for pop and rock music recording – Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here was recorded here.

There’s a lovely analogue SSL desk and Pro Tools setup but the most unexpected feature for me was that at one end of the studio sits a 1970s TG12345, perfect and ready to go. The distinctive audio quality of its circuitry is still so in demand that it is still in regular use at Abbey Road.

In fact the mix of classic old and new is a theme throughout the building. The sound of the mixing consoles developed by EMI in the 60s is still considered so good that sessions at Abbey Road often use these TG desks as part of the signal path. The signal is routed through the TG12345 as part of a Pro Tools recording workflow.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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Trust me, I’M A DOCTOR!

February 4, 2014

Well I finally did it. PhD viva is now over. Passed. Subject to some minor corrections I’m a doctor!

After a lot of years of work, and three years of interruption in the middle to work on our MediaCityUK campus development, I finally submitted my thesis on ‘Improving Television Sound for People with Hearing Impairments’ just before Christmas and defended it successfully in a viva last Wednesday. Hence the lack of posts here, if I was going to write it had to be proper work! It’s more than a nice feeling, very very good indeed. Definitely a relief. I’ve spent all weekend celebrating and enjoying the congratulations and good wishes of family, friends and colleagues.

Screen shot 2014-02-04 at 13.57.02To cap the weekend off a parcel arrived in the post today from Wiley. Complementary copies of Media Production, Delivery and Interaction for Platform Independent Systems: Format-Agnostic Media, the book I co-edited and co-authored with colleagues on the FascinatE project last year. Ha! 2014 is shaping up very nicely.

So what comes next? I’m fortunate enough to Read the rest of this entry ?

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‘The future of television?’ FascinatE: The Final Demonstration

June 1, 2013

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This week has seen the final demonstration of research developed over three and a half years of  the FascinatE EU FP7 research project. The project has developed a complete end-to-end future broadcast system which combines ultra high definition panoramic video, 3D ambisonic and object based audio, new methods for delivery of interactive AV content and new interfaces and methods to interact with the AV media at the user end. It’s been my pleasure to lead University of Salford’s part of the project and this week, to host the final demonstration of the project.

We hosted the final demonstration event at our MediaCityUK building – it’s one of the few places that could actually support what we were trying to do, the infrastructure of the building was actually designed for this kind of thing but we pushed it pretty hard this week. FascinatE partners worked through Read the rest of this entry ?

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Dolby Atmos – a visit to Dolby’s new screening room in Soho

January 30, 2013
Dolby's creening room in Soho Square, London

Dolby’s screening room in Soho Square, London

Last week I had an opportunity to visit Dolby Labs new London home in Soho Square, the trip was mainly to visit one of our students from one of our audio engineering programmes at Salford University who is on placement there for 12 months. The screening room here is impressive in itself – a small cinema with near-perfect acoustics and a 4K projector, pretty much an ideal listening environment and as part of the visit I got to experience Dolby’s Atmos demos. I’ve been looking forward to this for quite a while…

Atmos is an exciting prospect for many of us involved in audio research as it is the first commercial object based audio system that has potential to go mainstream. Read the rest of this entry ?

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FascinatE project 2nd review

May 26, 2012

I’ve just returned from an intense week at the FascinatE EU FP7 project review  at Fraunhofer HHI, Berlin, you can find some detail of the project here. This is our second annual review by the European Commission review team, I blogged about the first one at the time. As part of the review we’ve demonstrated a bunch of components from the project, many of which are now integrated after a great deal of development work over the last year and some very long working days and nights over the last couple of months.

This time we’ve been pretty ambitious and ran the review in parallel with a first public demonstration of the system combined with a test shoot at the Arena concert hall in Berlin. The test shoot is Read the rest of this entry ?

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Facebook: your pact with the devil

March 18, 2012
Facebook bed

In bed with Facebook, image from Mashable http://on.mash.to/FPT7XZ

I’m as frustrated as everyone else at constantly shifting Facebook privacy settings, and have struggled to keep my posts, and my kids posts private like many others. It’s a difficult place to be at times when you’d like to keep a personal life separate from a professional identity. It’s particularly worrying when dealing with kids’ Facebook accounts, even though these are the ‘digital natives’ we hear so much about there’s very little awareness of future consequences of everything being available for all to see. I even keep an extra account open so I can check on the privacy setting of their accounts – how much do I really want a stranger to see about my kids? How much is

safe? The apparent default setting of “open to all” every time the feature set changes does not help matters and means that a war of attrition is constantly in progress against creeping privacy invasion. So much for ‘friendly Facebook’ eh?

It gets worse though. It seems that some organisations, including colleges and government agencies in the USA are demanding usernames and passwords for prospective student and employees facebook accounts Read the rest of this entry ?

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