ITFC’s Stuart Campbell on the challenges of subtitling and audio description for 3d content. As published in the July 2011 issue of Televisual magazine.

Subtitling, audio description and signing will be one of the next big challenges for 3d content. That’s because the positioning of subtitles on screen in terms of the depth of field (the z-axis) will affect the viewing experience with a risk of eye strain.

Should subtitles be placed in the foreground or in the background? Should they be locked in one place or follow the focus of the action?

The process of subtitling for 3d is similar to 2d up to the point of positioning, so a logical step would be for subtitlers to use 3d monitors while preparing the subtitles. No doubt we’ll work with our R&D specialists to develop the best solutions.

Producing media access services for 3d, a field which includes audio description and signing, will bring a new dimension to our well-established workflows, but once the hurdles are overcome, it will be like the move to HD and regulations will adapt.

We’re all looking at ways to make 3d accessible, but there’s still a way to go before we see satisfactory working solutions.

Staff Reporter