BTI Studios, one of the world’s largest localisation and access service companies, has announced the completion of audio description (AD) for the visually impaired and subtitles for the hard of hearing on behalf of Altitude Film Distribution for an extraordinary new film that uses Vincent van Gogh’s paintings as the inspiration for an animated drama documentary about the end of his life.
The AD is a scripted narrative track that is woven into a television programme or feature film to describe on-screen action for blind and visually impaired people. Headphone-delivered narration tracks are increasingly available in cinemas, and a number of major studios have committed to the provision of AD.
BTI Studios is a known and trusted partner in AD and subtitle creation with a track record of providing high-quality services to very tight schedules for many major releases, including the Oscar-winner Moonlight, Beauty and the Beast and Pirates of the Caribbean. It has been an acknowledged leader in the longer-established field of subtitling for the hard of hearing, which involves subtitling spoken dialogue and a description of sounds, for many years.
BTI’s Head of AD, Veronika Hyks, has been working in this field for nearly 20 years. Veronika led the AD team in a process that didn’t just describe the on-screen action telling the story of the mysterious death of the world’s best-known artist, but also brought to life the Van Gogh-inspired illustrations for the visually impaired – and all without interrupting the dialogue or flow of the film.
This was no mean feat. The film was shot with actors, and then painted over frame by frame: 65,000 frames in all.
The whole process took a total of six years and a team of 125 painters. However, the dream of directors Doriota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman has been realised in a visually striking feature that has won a number of audience awards at film festivals.
The film that is called “a truly awe-inspiring portrait of the great Dutch artist” is now attracting large audiences in major American cities and opens in the UK on 13 October.
The AD team at BTI Studios believe that they have done justice to this extraordinary film with a specially written script that respects the ambition of the original while helping a visually impaired audience to capture the genius and pain that inspired Van Gogh’s paintings.
Once the script had been approved, it was recorded using in-house software. The recording was then edited, mixed and put through quality control checks.
Despite a tight schedule, a great deal of background research, and high levels of security required to avoid the film’s details being leaked, Veronika and her team were able to add Loving Vincent to the growing list of successful AD services BTI Studios has supplied.