How AUDIO2 is using SRT and Haivision Remote Production to Make Accessibility Reliable and Adaptable
AUDIO2’s mission is to make film and television more accessible for audiences. They do this by providing audio description and subtitling, which makes the content more accessible for those with visual or audio impairments.
Founded in 2002, AUDIO2 was the first private company in Germany and Austria to provide such a service starting in 2008. Today, it works with a plethora of broadcasters across Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, including ZDF, ORF, SWR, SRF info, among others.
This work is not without its challenges, but the right tools have enabled AUDIO2 to flourish and make excellent content accessible. In this post, we’re going to explore how AUDIO2 has used Haivision video solutions to overcome the challenges of its work and provide a seamless experience for audiences.
Challenge: Making Accessibility Efficient
One of the early challenges that AUDIO2 encountered was getting the source video so that its team could transcribe subtitles. Sending staff to television studios for audio description required a lot of travel, which became both costly and time-consuming.
Streaming the video from the studios and shooting locations to AUDIO2’s office seemed like a smart solution. However, early work using RTMP resulted in frequent drops, as well as the audio and video losing synchronization – and with the possibility of expansion, these problems only looked to become worse.
Streaming seemed like an otherwise ideal solution, but AUDIO2 needed a way to ensure it could depend on the video, even with unpredictable networks.
“Because our teams work remotely, we can be flexible. If a customer calls with an urgent news broadcast, we can say yes, simply switch on the system and it is working. I tell my customers that ordering live audio description is as easy as ordering a pizza.” – Michael Kastelic, CEO, AUDIO2
Solution: Secure, Reliable Transport for Streams
AUDIO2 was introduced to Haivision, who worked with Audio2 to develop a streaming solution that could meet its needs.
Using a combination of Haivision Makito X video encoders and decoders and an SRT Gateway, AUDIO2 sends video streams with the open source SRT video streaming protocol from broadcast studios to AUDIO2’s office, where its team works to transcribe subtitles.
SRT protects against jitter, packet loss, and bandwidth fluctuation. And its low latency means that AUDIO2 can do its work remotely for live television. By using SRT, AUDIO2 can easily cover the latest news and live events – making these broadcasts accessible for audiences across Germany and Central Europe.
Challenge: A Global Pandemic Demands More Flexible Working Conditions
By March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic had spread across Europe, and the German and Austrian governments were taking serious action to limit the spread of the virus. Major events were cancelled, employers were told to encourage their employees to work from home, and as of late March, the region was in lockdown, with all but the most essential services closed.
Solution: Easy Remote Monitoring for Low-Latency at Home
Now, more than ever, AUDIO2 needed to ensure that their audience would be able to get their news in a timely fashion. The fact that AUDIO2 could already subtitle remotely, from their offices, already helped to protect their staff, minimizing travel. The company also implemented serious social distancing protocols within its offices. However, Audio2 has further extended its services by employing flexible at-home workflows.
By using the Haivision Play app, AUDIO2’s staff can receive live video feeds at home on a tablet. And using these live feeds, they can then send live audio description back to the studio to the mixing console.
This flexible workflow has made it easier for AUDIO2 to ensure that newscasts, as well as other broadcast shows, including lifestyle and cooking shows are accessible to audiences across the country – which is especially helpful for individuals in isolation.
This flexible workflow has benefitted television shows, like ARD public telelvision’s “Immer wieder Sonntags,” for which AUDIO2 remotely produced simultaneous live subtitles and live audio descriptions from Vienna, Berlin, and Hamburg – and can continue to do so wherever their employees are located.
Using the Right Tools to Build a Better Future
By using a combination of Haivision streaming solutions, including video encoders, video decoders, gateways, and Haivision Play, AUDIO2 has created a flexible way to ensure accessibility in broadcast. As the first private company to do so in Germany and Austria, the company looks to continue to expand its reach and bring more accessibility options to broadcasters.
Learn more about AUDIO2 here.