The Immersive Accessibility Project (ImAc) aims to make content produced in 360 degree easier to consume and enjoy for people with hearing and sight loss. The user centered design approach has ensured that user preferences are prioritised in the product design within ImAc. Regular feedback from potential end users is allowing the team to design experiences that can be customised to end user needs and preferences.
ImAc team members are preparing for the first round of pilots which are essential to test and analyse the results of the first iteration of the system. The aim will be to improve and extend the capabilities of the ImAc system in the second iteration.
The demonstration pilots of the first phase are divided into:
- German Pilot: RBB in cooperation with IRT will execute this pilot focused on subtitling presentation modes but also interface personalisation and interaction are expected to be tested in this phase if it is technically feasible.
- Spanish Pilot: CCMA in cooperation with i2Cat and UAB will execute this pilot, which is also focused on subtitling presentation modes but additionally interface personalisation and interaction are expected to be tested in this phase if it is technically feasible.
- Cross-national Pilot: RNIB in cooperation with USAL, UAB and CCMA will execute this pilot focused in audio description and audio-subtitling. This pilot will be conducted both in Spain and in the UK in a single phase after the national pilots first phase.
- UAB will test the ImAc subtitling web editor and the AD web editor with professional users. This will allow gathering feedback and improving the tools for the second phase pilot, where a new application will be developed including improvements and new tools to ease the creation of immersive accessible content.
CCMA, RBB and RNIB participated in defining the pilot scenarios and objectives, the needed evaluation methodology in conjunction with the UAB, and an integrated roadmap for setting up the pilot execution and evaluation infrastructure.
The evaluation plan includes the organisation of user validation tests which involve both the validation of end-user applications (performance, usability and usefulness) and the functional aspects of the ImAc services to be deployed.
Content for the pilots
An important point to consider is the immersive contents used in the pilots. Good quality immersive content is mandatory to engage the user and test the accessibility services successfully.
CCMA recorded “Romeo & Juliette” Opera at Liceu Theatre in Barcelona on 10th February 2018, jointly with the European Projects ImAc and ImmersiaTV (http://www.immersiatv.eu/) and with the collaboration of Liceu, UAB, I2Cat and AzilPix.
This recording is the base to prepare an interactive program content where the end user will be able to enjoy the opera performance from 8 different immersive cameras installed in different interesting points of the Liceu Theatre, including the best Ambisonics immersive audio and, synchronously, will also enjoy the opera from the classic TV performance on a main TV.
Fig 1. AzilPix Immersive camera capturing “Romeo & Juliette”opera.
During the first phase pilot, a closed group of end users will be selected to watch the interactive 360º content enriched with subtitles. The pilot will allow gathering feedback from end-users in terms of immersive subtitling presentation modes & user interface.
Fig 2. Subtitling immersive contents.
CCMA also foresees the possibility to test the consumption of subtitles in companion screens synchronously with an HbbTV 2.0.1 compatible SmartTV but the execution of this specific test will depend on the evolution and implementation of the needed standards and technologies available in HbbTV2.0.1. compatible SmartTVs that will appear in the market in the coming months.
By Francesc Mas