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Interview with Colum Henry, an ambassador of Audiodescription

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Hi Colum, could you introduce yourself?

Hello, I am a sales executive for difuze since few months. I have been part of the Media industry for 25 years within Post-production Services with a focus on Accessible services for the past 12 years.

difuze recently acquired SDV, tell us more about this recent integration at difuze…

Firstly, I am very excited and grateful to be part of such a leading media services company. difuze has a wonderful reputation within the industry. SpeakeasyDV, my former company and difuze have the same vision of Accessibility services.  We want not only to produce high quality work, but we also want to innovate and bring new technologies to media categories that have been stagnant for a long time. With difuzevox and SpeakeasyDV software, we can now go forward together within the marketplace presenting new technologies to the global media industry.

Could you describe in few words the current video description industry and market?

The Described Video market is a growth industry globally.  Our own CRTC has mandated all major networks’ primetime programing to carry Described Video.  In the USA, though the FCC’s approach (the US-equivalent of the CRTC) is not as prescriptive, it has fostered an increase in the number of hours being video described. The United Kingdom and Australia have also been leading in this field like Canada, since the early 2000s. The goal is to much like Closed Captioning where it now nearly ubiquitous on all programming.

How do you think difuze can take advantage of the market thanks to its products?

The advantages begin with the turnaround times for production, where the use of synthetic voice technology eliminates the need for recording and mixing time on video description projects.  Indeed, whether in SpeakEasyDV or difuzevox software, the recording and mixing is fully automated. The true art remains is in the creative description writing, which is still created by our wonderfully talented in-house writers. Reducing the time and costs associated with create video description meet the needs of broadcasters, streaming platforms, and production companies as they need to deal with large volume increases.

difuze leads the way for these new workflows thanks to its Product Development Team, led by Jean-Sébastien Rouette, combined with my experience and the Subtitling and Accessibility team’s knowledge too.  I’d be remiss not to stress how Michaël Lasry, as Head of the team, has been instrumental in the development of difuzevox, and now with the integration of SpeakEasyDV.

Last month, you participated at the Latest EGA’s teleconference on behalf of difuze. Can you share with us the topics and highlights that you brought up and why this kind of events are important for a company evolving in our industry?

The Entertainment Globalization Association was created as a meeting place for professionals to come together to explore new workflows and opportunities in localization services globally.

The EGA reached out to difuze to ask if we’d sit on a panel to discuss advances in synthetic voices technologies in the localization space.  I went as one of the three panelists invited to discuss how synthetic voices are being leveraged, particularly for video description.  It was a fun experience, there must have been hundreds of people in attendance from all over the world!  I of course emphasized how SpeakEasyDV and difuze had teamed up to become the leader in this field. I was very honored to be on the panel with such innovators of this technology. It truly was a great experience.


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