A R&D project by Full Circle Arts using on demand remote BSL interpretation at Cornerhouse
S I G N V I D E O
E V A L U AT I O N
S I G N V I D E O R E P O R T Introduction This is an evaluation report on Full Circle Artsâ€™ SignVideo project at Cornerhouse, Manchester, which ran between November 2010â€“May 2011, part of the Cornerhouse/ NorthernNet commissioning programme. It summarises the creative technical requirements, solutions and outputs required to deliver the project and draws conclusions on how effective these aspects of the research and development were in practice.
Grateful Thanks to our Partners:Technical Partner Lewis Sykes Arts Council England North West Relationship Manager Lucy Dusgate NorthernNet Projects Director : Mercedes Clark-Smith Dan Cooper Cornerhouse Producer (Creative Industries): Isabelle Croissant Exhibitions Co-ordinator: Tomas Harold Box Office Manager: Simon Fisher Membership & Data Manager: Sarah Buckley Technical Manager: Bill Lam AV Technician: David Petty SignVideo Technical department Interpreting Staff Administration and sales department Kinura Sarah Platt Peter Linnemann Deaf Evaluators Cathy Stuart Todd Jennifer Little Suzie Jones David Jones BSL Interpreter Siobhan Rocks
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S I G N V I D E O R E P O R T The Commission Full Circle Arts applied for, and were successful in gaining, a ‘NorthernNet Creative Commission’ funded by Arts Council England, and using the high speed ‘Media Access Bureaux’ connection at Cornerhouse. The commissions were for projects that would test and demonstrate the technical, creative and economic possibilities of high speed connectivity for delivering new creative/art content while at the same time researching its potential as a driver of growth and innovation across the creative and wider economy. Although art was the focus for the programme projects had to have potential to work for the wider creative sector. Our Proposal Deaf Sign Language users are usually excluded from walking into a public service organisation or cultural organisation and using a service, unless an interpreter has been booked in advance. Getting an interpreter typically needs one month’s notice and can be expensive. In many cases, Deaf people just have to get by without any Sign Language access. SignVideo have developed a service whereby deaf people can have easier access to services using remote computer links and/or videophone with interpreters. Presently this service is only being used by a limited number of Local Authorities and health service providers. Full Circle Arts carried out Research and Development using this service at Cornerhouse from February to May 2011.
The R&D looked at 3 areas of use: 1) By use at the Cornerhouse box office for booking tickets to cinema or events, via video phone. 2) Integrating the SignVideo service into an artist’s talk , with the BSL interpretation shown screen–in–screen as part of the venue projection making it accessible to all d/Deaf audience members. The BSL would be embedded into the session recording ready for watching on–demand via internet download. 3) Within a gallery tour where a deaf audience member can use a HSDPA enabled (post 3G) mobile videophone to access the SignVideo service giving them a chance to participate in the conversation and be empowered by being actively involved in the process. What is Sign Video? Sign Video is a service giving on demand BSL (British Sign Language) interpretation for Deaf people. Instead of having to book an interpreter in advance a Deaf Person can walk into a venue that has a videophone and use the Sign Video service to interpret a conversation they wish to have with a hearing member of staff there.
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S I G N V I D E O R E P O R T Effectively itâ€™s a little like Skype, or just a video connection to a call centre with BSL interpreters who will interpret any conversation. The interpreter listens to the spoken word via the telephone line or Wifi connection and then interprets via British Sign Language, with the Deaf user watching the interpretation through a screen (fixed or handheld).
R&D EVENTS Box Office Testing walk up on demand interpretation for Deaf customers Installing the IC light* and subsequently the IC desktop device in the box office was straightforward and relatively problem free. The Cornerhouse technical team wired in the device without issue and box office staff adapted easily to its presence and seemed genuinely favourable and understanding of its use. Initially the experience of actually using it was quite frustrating but once weâ€™d overcome the problem of background noise by using a headset it worked well (most of the time) with both deaf testers and box office staff enjoying and valuing the experience. However, some intermittent problems were encountered with sound on 2 of the test sessions in that box office staff could not hear the SignVideo interpreter, essentially this
made interpretation one way only to the Deaf user. The SignVideo Interpreter said this problem was often encountered and advised us to call them on a separate telephone for sound. Although it was seen as a positive addition by the Deaf evaluation group they all reported that in practice they are more likely to book tickets for films online and that a cheaper solution and improvement may just be some Deaf awareness training for front of house staff for the limited amount of communication that is needed at Box Office. We advertised extensively through our networks, social media and newsletters that this on demand service was available to Deaf customers up until May 2011, but no Deaf people turned up to use the service apart from the Deaf Evaluators we had recruited. *IC light is a portable tablet screen supplied by SignVideo Gallery Tour Testing remote one to one BSL interpretation for Deaf audience members We chose the guided Tour of the Carey Young Momento Park exhibition.
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S I G N V I D E O R E P O R T The gallery tour proved the most successful of the R&D tests - once we’d adjusted levels from the wireless microphone. As might be expected the deaf testers were initially reticent about using the IC light device. Although relatively compact it’s still large and heavy enough to become uncomfortable when carried for an extended period. More importantly it actually prevents deaf users from communicating if they have to hold the device in their hands. Mounting it on a freewheeling stand would have been ideal. Having said that, in a relatively short amount of time the group became used to and increasingly comfortable with the device. They passed it between themselves freely and seemed to relish the opportunity to choose between the interpretation on the IC light device and the live interpreter in the gallery. By the end of the tour the technology of the device had become quite transparent and it was seemingly accepted and enjoyed as part of the gallery tour experience, which was a pleasure to see. The aim of the research had always been to ascertain whether remote interpretation as provided by the SignVideo service could enhance the experience and enjoyment of cultural and artistic activity for deaf users, and this seems to have been the case. Cornerhouse Exhibitions Co-ordinator Tomas Harold enjoyed the experience too, although it took a little while for him to get used to the requirements of an additional layer of communication demanded by remote interpretation, he was
very soon in tune with the requirements of the remote interpretation. It would have been better for Tomas if we had given more training before the test so he could redirect questions made by group members to the interpreter, since he was the only person we had wired up with a microphone. However, intuitively when describing a video Tomas stood at the side of the TV and the interpretation worked well. Jennifer Little one of the Deaf Evaluators held the IC light device against one of the TV screens and got live streamed interpretation from Sign Video of the audio. The Deaf evaluators all reported that they had enjoyed the experience and found it much better than they had expected, the few issues raised were: • Using a screen was more tiring on the eyes. • Would be improved if the SV interpreter filled more of the screen. • Clear instructions on how to use the device for first time users would be helpful. The SignVideo interpreters also seemed to enjoy the experience. We think it was certainly the most positive of the R&D from their perspective. We briefly tried the iPod Touch 4G using FaceTime just before the gallery tour, and though it worked well enough, without a Bluetooth headset it wasn’t possible to hear the audio from interpreter. The brief experience the deaf testers had with the device, even in its easier to hold OWLE Bubo mount, was that the screen size was just too small to make 5 / 18
S I G N V I D E O R E P O R T the interpretation useful - though it was a useful proof of concept. Had we been able to afford it within the budget an iPad 2G would probably have been ideal. Live Event Testing the Integration of the SignVideo service into an artist’s talk, with the BSL interpretation shown screen–in– screen The live event chosen for the R&D was a presentation on Spanish cinema as part of the Viva festival. The plan was to use the sign video S2V software installed on a laptop to send the audio from the session presenter to the interpreter in the SignVideo call centre. The video of this real-time but remote interpretation would then be mixed into the presentation projection in the venue as a picture–in–picture display, akin to the ’Sign Zone’ signed interpretation by the BBC. The technical production for the event was demanding certainly the most complex of the three R&D tests, but not unachievable, being very similar in principle to the production requirements for live web streaming. The trickiest part of the technical realisation was to effectively send the audio signal from the venue to the interpreter and then mix the live video feed from the interpreter into the fairly standard filming and projection setup within the venue.
Wanting to have external expertise to help deliver this we approached the experienced web streaming agency Kinura. Lewis Sykes our technical partner met with the technical team at Cornerhouse, checked out the venue and in-house equipment to be used for the event and discussed technical approaches. Key issues were how to effectively integrate the audio and video feeds from Kinura’s equipment into the in–house configuration. These details were communicated to Peter Linnemann at Kinura, Lewis Sykes discussed the setup in some detail and put Peter in touch with the SignVideo technical support. Kinura installed the SignVideo S2V software onto one of their laptops and ran several in–house tests connecting with the call centre prior to the live event. We also met with Cornerhouse Producer (Creative Industries): Isabelle Croissant for this live event and discussed the setup in some detail with her. On the day of the live event Peter from Kinura and the Cornerhouse technical team were left to set up the equipment assuming it would be configured as previously discussed. This wasn’t possible, and this in part, led to confused and ineffective communication and problem solving amongst the team later in the day when things didn’t go as planned.
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S I G N V I D E O R E P O R T Because of other demands on the space the tech team had to vacate the Annexe between 12 noon and 4pm which gave them no time to sort out the technical difficulties once they had experienced them. With hindsight we should never have agreed to attempt such a complex technical setup with this requirement on the space. Additionally the presenter turned up to the event with video clips on her laptop rather than on a DVD as was planned for. The in-house technical team’s solution to this was to rewire the projector with a higher quality VGA video feed directly from the laptop. While this displayed the best quality video for the event, it would have been problematic for the testing, though somewhat moot since we failed to resolve the problem of sending a clear audio signal to the SignVideo call centre - the upshot being we would no longer have been able to mix the live interpretation into the in-house projection. Lewis Sykes our technical partner since realised that he needed to communicate directly with all the parties involved in the event, including the presenter, and not assume that details were being passed on. He in retrospect would also have been more ‘hands on’ and been available for the whole set up. These issues coupled with the main problem of the audio as detailed below meant that this aspect of the R&D failed to be realised.
KEY ISSUES A consistent problem across all aspects of the R&D was the audio. From the first time we tested the IC light device in the Annexe at Cornerhouse through to installing the IC device in the box office, sending audio to the SignVideo call centre during the live event and setting up for the gallery tour we had issues with sending and receiving audio. There seemed to be two discreet issues here: • lack of any audio at all, usually only at one end; • the quality and level of the audio signal. Several times we’d connect via the videophone only to find that we couldn’t hear the interpreter or the interpreter couldn’t hear us. Confident that we’d configured the hardware correctly the only solution seemed to be to hang up the call and redial. This happened frequently enough to be a cause for concern, albeit that the solution was straightforward enough. It’s hard to determine where the fault might lay, the hardware, the software, the network. The second issue of quality and level of the audio signal proved the most problematic and difficult to resolve. At the box office the volume of input and output from the in– built microphone and speakers of the IC device made communication with the interpreter difficult during busy 7 / 18
S I G N V I D E O R E P O R T periods in the venue foyer when background noise levels were high. We finally overcame this issue by testing and then using a plug–in headset. At the live event our failure to send a clear enough audio signal to the SignVideo call centre actually caused the last minute cancellation of that aspect of the R&D. The technical setup for the live event was complicated and configured on the day in a way that made problem–solving difficult but it seems with hindsight that the issue wasn’t too little signal, but too much. We were sending 0Db line level audio from the venue, and then boosting this when the interpreters were reporting back that they couldn’t hear the audio clearly. The trouble it seems was that a 0Db line level was actually too loud for the interpreters and boosting it only made things worse. While this was a perfectly understandable technical assumption to make, we didn’t have the time once we’d discovered the problem to ‘unthink’ it. By the time we came to the gallery tour we were using a Cornerhouse radio mic plugged directly into the IC light device. Testing audio levels in the gallery before the tour we discovered that the level of output from the microphone needed to be reduced significantly to be heard clearly by the interpreter. This was somewhere in the region of –12DB– about 5% the volume of standard line level. Once we’d made this adjustment the IC light device performed well and the gallery tour test proved successful.
We can only assume that the configuration of audio in the SignVideo call centre is such that incoming audio levels are boosted significantly. This would explain why the audio signal we sent from the live event in the Annexe was inaudible to the interpreters, it was just too loud and therefore too distorted. If this is in fact the case then we were never informed as such, and made no provision in the briefing of the technical team. It is extremely difficult when you face technical issues of this kind, particularly at a distance, to resolve them easily. The technical team in the venue can’t hear what the interpreters experience through their headsets and the interpreters, unsettled by the out of the ordinary demands of the R&D testing, find it difficult to express their difficulties in terms that the technical team can respond to appropriately. In retrospect we should have started with basics and run a series of line level tests from Cornerhouse to the SignVideo call centre. This way we could have ascertained what an appropriate audio signal level would have been and could have adjusted our equipment accordingly. Having a member of the R&D technical team in the SignVideo call centre while these tests were being carried out could also have been helpful.
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S I G N V I D E O R E P O R T In contrast the video was never an issue... it always worked and was consistently of reasonable quality and smooth delivery. Although we had been promised a trial ‘extended hours’ service by SignVideo for the purpose of our R&D in practice they only extended the service from 9am–5pm to 8am– 6pm. Use outside these hours had to be pre-booked 72 hours ahead (thus making it not an on demand service) and the cost was prohibitively expensive at £2.50 per minute. Since Cornerhouse, as most cultural venues, are open in the evenings and at weekends and these are often their busiest times for all visitors including Deaf visitors, this business model would not be useful or financially viable for the cultural sector.
C O M M U N I C AT I O N Key communication channels included SignVideo administration, sales, technical staff and Interpreters, Cornerhouse technical team, producers and box office staff and Kinura. SignVideo The quality of communication with different members of the SignVideo team varied considerably. We generally found SignVideo marketing and administrative staff such as Simeon Klein and Hollie Leandro-Edwards to be helpful and
prompt in responding to questions. In contrast we found the SignVideo technical team to be vague and almost reticent in answering questions, though we later found out that SignVideo contract out their technical support so this isn’t wholly surprising. The interpreters in the call centre initially seemed unsettled about the R&D, particularly the live event, but they were generally helpful and supportive during the equipment setup and tests and by the gallery tour seemed quite engaged. It did seem that schedules and plans weren’t communicated clearly to the interpretation team in the call centre, but this may well have been expecting too much. Peter from Kinura made initial contact with Brigitte - the senior interpreter - and did alert us to her general nervousness and asked us to contact her directly to explain the schedule and plan for the live event. In hindsight we should have done this earlier and not assumed that discussions with SignVideo administrative staff would be passed on in detail. Overall communication with SignVideo was positive but a little guarded. SignVideo were intrigued by the R&D, but, and perhaps this should have been expected more, a little wary. It was very different to their day–to–day activity and as a result out of their comfort zone. Staff changed during the duration of the project and so although we were promised adaptations to SignVideo’s business model to make it 9 / 18
S I G N V I D E O R E P O R T suitable for the cultural industry for the duration of the R&D during our initial discussions this never materialised. In practice new staff did not have authority to put this in place. We tried from the very first contact in designing the project to communicate with the owner director of SignVideo but all communications went unanswered. Cornerhouse We had excellent communication and support throughout the project with Producer (Creative Industries): Isabelle Croissant. We found Bill Lam, Technical Manager at Cornerhouse to be extremely helpful, dependable and genuinely enthusiastic about the R&D, illustrated through his direct involvement in the technical delivery of the box office and gallery tour, which went without a hitch. He made an active contribution to the discussion about technical implementation and rollout and was certainly key to making the SignVideo R&D go as well as it did. Worth noting was that this was a particularly busy time for the in-house technical team with the Viva Spanish Cinema Festival demanding much of their time and attention. While we appreciate that the rescheduling of the SignVideo R&D made this somewhat inevitable it definitely had an impact on the technical delivery of the project with the technical team stretched further than we suspect they would have liked.
The project was well received by other Cornerhouse staff, discussions with Simon Fisher, Sarah Buckley re the box office; Tomas Harold the Gallery Tour and Afroditi Barmparousi the Live Event were positive, helpful and enthusiastic. Kinura Our initial contact at Kinura was Sarah Platt. The project was understood, delegated and professionally managed within the Kinura team. Subsequent communications with Peter Linnemann around planning for the event, including details of preâ€“event preparation, inâ€“house tests with SignVideo, communication with the Cornerhouse Technical Team, call sheets and scheduling for the event itself were thorough and efficient with Peter keeping us fully updated and informed with developments. Peter alerted us to the nervousness of the SignVideo interpreters which was a good indicator that he was not just engaged with and appreciative of the technical production requirements but also the interpersonal demands of the project.
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S I G N V I D E O R E P O R T CONCLUSIONS
unforeseen circumstances effectively enough to make this a working solution.
The purpose of the SignVideo R&D was to test whether an on-demand BSL interpretation service could be a useful addition to access and provision for Deaf and hearing impaired audiences within cultural and arts venues.
Having a couple of tablet PCs available for artist talks and presentations and providing alternative interpretation this way would be a more straightforward approach.
After some initial teething problems the use of the IC device at the Cornerhouse box office became fairly matter of course, itself a positive outcome. With further refinement of the technical setup, a different business model and pricing for cultural venues, more staff training and roll out of the web page embedded service this could definitely improve access to the booking system for Deaf audiences.
The gallery tour was a generally positive experience for all involved despite the initial hesitancy of the testers in using the IC light device. For it to be effective with a general Deaf audience a clear guide to using and operating the hand held screen would need to be produced. The filming of a live Interpreted tour could be very useful as a pre-recorded access aid that Deaf users could borrow to enhance their gallery visit.
But whether it could be used to help improve access to Cornerhouse’s programme once customers were in the venue is still uncertain. Of course all involved were disappointed that the testing for the ‘Sign Zone’ like projection for the live event failed - but while under different circumstances the problems might have been overcome - in general the experience confirmed that the requirements were just too demanding, both in terms of time and money, to make this work and be cost– effective in the longer term. Even if we’d been successful and were then able to significantly rationalise the required setup it would, in our opinion, still be unlikely that we could future proof against demands on time and resources and
The R&D did confirm the purpose, but only in specific circumstances i.e. the box office, and if the business and pricing model were changed to be suitable for cultural venues who use the service at evenings and weekends the live interpretation on demand for tours and events could be developed. For activities and events such as artist talks, presentations and gallery tours it’s at best a complement and not an alternative to a live interpreter. One of the biggest prohibitive factors would be that of cost, which was: 11 / 18
S I G N V I D E O R E P O R T Monthly subscription: Sign 100 - Up to 100 interpreting minutes usage per month £275 p.m. Optional extras: Videophone Rental £30 p.m. Technical Support Line £30 per 15 min. block At a minimum of £2.75 per minute the costs are prohibitive for many arts organisations particularly in the present economic climate.
Filming BSL interpreted events and using PIP (picture–in– picture) to provide accessible pre recorded guided tours for Deaf customers.
However, when discussed with our Deaf user group, the choice between turning up on the day and getting BSL interpretation via a system such as SignVideo or no interpretation, the users were unanimous that remote interpretation through something like an iPad tablet device would be a very valued service.
GOING FORWARDS We would suggest the following possibilities: Investigating the costs and feasibility of a regional service with BSL interpreters that was designed to meet the specific needs of cultural venues and using readily available video communication such as Skype or Facetime with WiFi and tablet devices such as the iPad. Investigating setting up a region wide consortium of cultural venues who could use such a service and use this to buy in a service which all could share the costs of. 12 / 18
S I G N V I D E O R E P O R T APPENDIX ONE Feedback report from Bill Lam Technical Manager Cornerhouse There were three events at Cornerhouse as part of the research project: • Box Office sign interpretation via IC-device • One Hour Intro via SignVideo software and vision mixing • Gallery Tour via wifi and IC–lite I guess first of all it was unfortunate the project coincided with a rather busy month at Cornerhouse. Because of this, I couldn’t have devoted more time to the planning and delivery of the events. Overall, I believe the project was worthwhile. I shall go into more detail for each event shortly. SignVideo From my experience, it was somewhat difficult to get decent technical feedback from them. The biggest issue we encountered was audio, both volume and clarity. Although the interpreters were very kind for not minding us making regular test calls, their feedback wasn’t as useful as we’d hoped, i.e. it was hard to guess just how poor the audio
was at their end (the IC devices and SignVideo software) and therefore difficult to put together a solution. Kinura Peter was a tremendous help on the day for the One Hour Intro. However, despite the paper specifications swapped between Cornerhouse and Kinura, there was always a chance of kit incompatibility, something we had all perhaps underestimated. I had no say in the scheduling of the events, but perhaps it was a little ambitious in giving ourselves only half a day to prepare. I understand Kinura had tested the SignVideo software successfully back at their office, but areas such as audio and stability of video feed are partly determined by Cornerhouse bandwidth and firewall settings. Again, on paper, we fulfil the requirements. Sadly, Cornerhouse did not possess the license / software and could not perform testing in advance. In hindsight, more time should have been spent on testing the SignVideo software element. Much of the morning was spent on preparing the equipment and testing. Software was looked at last where we discovered audio problems (sound from Cornerhouse was either too quiet or muffled / distorted to SignVideo). Carmen’s decision to deliver the event on a Mac only (powerpoint slides and video clips) severely hampered the technical preparations, mostly because the projected image from a laptop was far below professional standard (image had a blue tinge plus quality 13 / 18
S I G N V I D E O R E P O R T not suitable for showing video clips). Without delaying the event (a paid audience of 20+ waiting) further, we had to abandon the Picture–In–Picture signed interpretation on screen. Cornerhouse As mentioned earlier, it would have been preferred to have events held during a quieter period at Cornerhouse as March this year was very busy, although I appreciate the decisions made by Full Circle Arts and Isabelle were perhaps funding dependent. While One Hour Intro didn’t work out as planned, it was a worthy exercise. To put it bluntly though, it was a very expensive way to use unnecessarily complicated technology when for an audience of 20+ in a relatively small conference space simply requires an interpreter on site. Unless equipment is ‘freely’ available and tried and tested rigorously in advance, it ultimately didn’t make financial sense, nor did it make practical sense. Admitted, the last minute realisation of Carmen solely using her Mac for the event (rather than a mix of Mac and DVD clips) didn’t help. This is where communication could have been improved i.e. to have Afroditi be much clearer with myself, Peter, Lewis and Dave regarding the event plan.
Overall There is most definitely potential with having an IC-device at box office. There is scope for on-demand interpretation for gallery tours also. The IC-devices are simple to use. Staff had little difficulty in making video calls to SignVideo. Gallery tour required robust wifi connection but I’m afraid the IC–lite doesn’t pick up wifi well. The biggest stumbling block was finding the appropriate headset / sound equipment to be compatible with the IC-devices. However, with the gallery tour having gone smoothly, plus the successful testing Lewis and I had performed in early April at box office, I genuinely see a future for this project.
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S I G N V I D E O R E P O R T APPENDIX TWO Feedback report by Peter Linnemann, Kinura Ltd Summary Due to the untried nature of the work we were doing, this event needed a substantial amount of preparation and testing to try to minimise technical problems at the event. All preâ€“event testing was carried out successfully. With a limited amount of venue setup time on the day, several technical issues were encountered that unfortunately could not be overcome before the start of the event. Communication Prior to the event, communication was necessary between a number of people involved, including Chris Hammond at Full Circle Arts, Lewis Sykes, Brigitte, Hollie, Oleg and Andre at Sign Video, and Bill Lam at Cornerhouse. During testing of the Sign Video system, it became apparent that Brigitte had several concerns about the nature of what we were doing and did not seem to be fully informed of what was to happen. The AV tech onsite, Bill Lam was very busy in the run up to the event, but assured us that all was in order with regard to technical considerations.
Communication with Sign Video was a little tricky when their technicians were involved as they are contracted and not always on-site to deal with problems. They were not used to or prepared for the technical problems we encountered. It did appear that Sign Video were not entirely sure about what we were trying to achieve. Preparation Substantial preparation work was undertaken by Kinura to test equipment and Internet links prior to the event, and this was done in liaison with Sign Video and the AV team at Cornerhouse. We were all satisfied that preparation had been done accordingly. In the morning of the event, we had limited time to prepare due to another event being booked in the room that afternoon. After Kinura had setup their equipment, it was discovered that the Cornerhouse techs had not thought about using a radio mic for the speaker, and no microphones had been added to the sound feed to Kinuraâ€™s broadcast. They had decided not to use the audio desk, which may or may not have contributed to the sound feed problems experienced. There was a problem with the Sign Video interface in the morning that prevented us from connecting to do a line check. We had to postpone this until the av checks in the hour prior to the event. This is when the audio feed problem 15 / 18
S I G N V I D E O R E P O R T was discovered to the Sign Video system. From our end, the sound that we were monitoring to and from the laptop feeding this signal to Sign Video was coming through crystal clear, which was why we did not pick up on this problem earlier. We tried several methods of re-routing the sound from different microphone sources, and through different compressors and mixers to try and correct the problem, but with the event getting closer, and the audience entering the venue, this became impossible to complete. I think probably the solution would have been to send an xlr feed from the SignVideo feed camera microphone straight to the laptop, but because the two xlr inputs were being used for the stage mics (as the mixing desk wasn’t being used) we were unable to do this. A further problem arose when the speaker arrived and revealed she would not be playing clips from a DVD player, as the tech team had planned for, but from her own laptop. This meant that the Cornerhouse tech team had to do a last minute cable run to enable this to happen. This took the Kinura mixing desk out of the loop entirely so that they were unable to project the Sign Video interpreter to the screen as originally planned. I think that the tech team needed to have a proper meeting prior to this event to detail exactly what the setup would be
and how it would work. Too many things were being altered and patched at the last minute. Infrastructure and Technical Support As previously mentioned, I don’t think the Sign Video technicians were used to dealing with technical setups of this nature, and especially not under a tight broadcast deadline. I don’t think there was enough time or that they had the experience to deal with the problems encountered. The Venue staff were all friendly and helpful. Everyone tried their best to make this project work, but unfortunately, we didn’t manage to overcome all the problems we came up against.
Summary The problem solving could have been more effective if there had been time to sit down with all technical staff and go through the setup plan and allocate responsibilities of various tasks. If the venue was free for setup all day, I think there would have been time to correct the technical issues. The problems could have been avoided by preparing for this in a non–live, and non–time pressured environment. Once everything was setup, a proper protocol could have been prepared for a successful live event. 16 / 18
S I G N V I D E O R E P O R T In terms of financial viability, I don’t think that this method of engaging deaf users in such events would be feasible. The out-sourced production equipment used costs around £7000 and the cost if installing this permanently into a venue would be prohibitive. Also, bringing the equipment in on an event–by–event basis would be expensive. I understand that a BSL interpreter can cost up to £200 for an event like this. I don’t think that our setup could be done for anywhere near this figure. However, the idea of filming similar events with a live interpreter on stage, and creating videos that can be watched subsequently, I think would be feasible. This would open up the event to a wider audience, who could enjoy the proceedings in their own time.
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Report Produced by Full Circle Arts Full Circle Arts 7 Schoolhouse Second Avenue Trafford Park Village Manchester M17 1DZ www.fullcirclearts.co.uk
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