Seeing the Sound: bringing children’s stories to life with 3d audio

Picture of a drawing of bees and a fox by a tree

Meet Daniel Brewerton, the brains behind Seeing the Sound, a project Daniel Brewerton headshotcreating revolutionary 3d audio animated stories for vision impaired children. The project recently received arts Council England funding and Daniel and his team have already released three short audio stories that are enchanting vision impaired children up and down the country. We recently caught up with Daniel to find out more about Seeing the Sound.

‘I felt the narration could break the suspension of disbelief’

The idea for Seeing the Sound was born when Daniel watched an advert for Audio Description at the cinema. Audio description is a separate audio track that narrates the action happening on screen for vision impaired audiences. “I felt the narration could break the suspension of disbelief,” Daniel said. In response he began writing his own stories that made the audio and dialogue integral to describing the scenery and anything happening in the stories, without the need for extra narration.

3d audio story telling

Daniel also decided to use the immersive power of 3d audio to enhance his stories. The acting and sound effects were recorded using binaural recording techniques, which simulate the Seeing the sound logonatural hearing cues created by our head to create the impression of 3d sound when listening via headphones. The result is that Daniel’s stories immerse the listener and make them feel as though they are right in the middle of the action.

Adding animation

Additionally, these stories are animated; different characters in the story represented by bright colours on screen. “For example, when a character called Max talks, the screen goes bright blue and then when a different character appears the colour changes to match them.” Daniel explained.

The stories have had a positive reception from young audiences.

Daniel told me about a recent session he ran with blind and partially sighted children. Despite each story being 17 minutes long, all the children sat there with their headphones on, spellbound. “The stories are full of action and are very interactive.” Daniel said. “The characters often ask the listener to listen out for certain sounds and try and locate where certain objects are with their ears. I think this has been so important in holding the attention of the children.”

Realistic and relatable characters

Another appealing aspect of the stories is that they all have a positive message and Daniel has tried to make the characters as relatable and realistic as possible. “Every protagonist in our stories is not doing anything that is physically impossible to do in real life. Every character simply uses their skills and life experience to become the hero of the story. Jenny the fox for instance, is a character in one of our stories and she has no sense of smell, but eventually overcomes this to lead the pack to hunt for and gather food.” Three of the stories have been launched online and are available to download. The remaining three stories are expected to come out over the next few weeks. To find out more, visit seeingthesoundstudios.com

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