Autumn 2015

New technology partners for Rear View

IOU working with the UK Digital Creativity Hub on positional sound technology

  • Soundlab
  • Soundlab
  • Hull Map

IOU are very pleased to have been chosen to partner in the UK Digital Creativity Hub.

As partners, IOU’s technology team and the DC Hub’s researchers at the University of York will work together to explore positional sound with headphone technology for IOU’s ambitious new site-specific show Rear View.  

The partnership outcome will involve the creation of novel headphone technology to enable the delivery of independent, head-tracked spatial audio soundtracks for each member of the audience. IOU’s long term vision is to use this technology to genuinely enhance the audience experience for site-specific theatre performance. Current performances using normal stereo headphones do not use positional sound. The location of the sound stays static and does not map to the position of the actor relative to the audience member. This renders the experience non-dynamic and contrary to the desired immersive dramatic experience. IOU aims to share the learning from this project with the sector, their peers and audiences.  

The Digital Creativity Hub (DC Hub) has £18 million in funding and the vision and people to become a world centre of excellence for impact-driven research in digital creativity, focusing on digital games, interactive media and the rich space where they converge. It brings together investigators from the University of York’s departments of Computer Science, Theatre Film and Television, Archaeology, Sociology, Electronics, Education, and Psychology, including over 80 external partners and 3 partner universities. 

We jointly expect that there will be wider benefits to this impact driven research, particularly and potentially for sight impaired communities where this sound technology will improve accessibility to theatre productions, and enhance audio description, as well as leading to new ways of telling and delivering live, immersive, narrative content. The technological advancements around positional sound we believe will become a useful tool for other theatre and arts companies and the wider sector. 

Rear View will provide the ideal opportunity to test both existing and newly developed audio rendering technology across a range of audiences in a challenging, interactive, real time performance environment. IOU plan to tour Rear View from Spring 2016.

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