media & news

  • Stéphane Brisebois

CRIM Audio Description Technology: Technoleads takes the reigns

In the usual order, CRIM's Francoys Labonté (Executive Director), Vishwa Gupta (Senior Researcher - Automatic Speech Processing), Claude Chapdelaine (Senior Advisor - Vision and Imaging) and David Byrns (Assistant Director - Technology) and Technoleads' Stéphane Éric Brisebois (President).

December 10th, 2019 – Montreal, Canada

Technoleads Services, Inc., an innovative media services provider, announces that they have completed the process to independently operate the audio description technology developed by CRIM. Following five years of research and development, this innovative platform is now used under license by Technoleads for AD production. The service, available in English and French since June 2018 under the elokutio™ brand. Until recently, elokutio™ audio descriptions were produced in collaboration with CRIM.

Technoleads began the transfer of technology from CRIM in February 2019, starting with a series of jointly-produced audio description projects. In the second phase of the transfer, CRIM gradually transferred their software solutions and technical know-how to the Technoleads team.

Our research centre’s mission is to support the private and public sector by providing them with expertise to solve complex technical issues,” says Françoys Labonté, executive Director of CRIM. “This transfer is the culmination of major initiatives by CRIM in the digital accessibility sector. We are proud to see Technoleads putting the fruit of our research on the market and contributing to even greater digital accessibility.

Also known as videodescription, audio description (AD) is a form of narration that describes key visual elements to aid the blind and visually impaired in enjoying multimedia content including film, documentaries and television series.

The AD platform used commercially by Technoleads was developed, tested and perfected by CRIM in the course of numerous R&D and innovation projects involving several key players from the Canadian media industry, universities, research centres, and interest groups, including the Nazareth and Louis-Braille Institute, which supports vision-impaired people in Quebec and across Canada. CRIM produced more than 200 audio description projects in collaboration with public institutions including Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (BAnQ) and the National Film Board (NFB).

We’re gaining not just advanced technology, but also proven working methods. This combination of skills and technology ensures our competitiveness in the sector,” says Stéphane É. Brisebois, President of Technoleads Services, Inc. “Furthermore, we have adapted the offer to perfectly meet the specific needs of production studios, distributors and major broadcasters,” he adds.

Thanks to this technology from CRIM, Technoleads stands out in the post-production audio market by offering a next-generation AD services that achieve quality, speed and savings like no one else.

To start with, elokutio’s AD scripts are written using the platform developed by CRIM, which uses sophisticated algorithms. Writers use an editing template and specialized editing tools that let them focus on the creative process. From these scripts, Technoleads produces audio tracks using either professional voice actors or digital voices.

By offering high-quality AD services that are both innovative and affordable, Technoleads provides their clients with a new option for meeting the growing demand for audio described content. In this sense, elokutio™ directly contributes to greater digital accessibility.

About Technoleads Services, Inc.

Technoleads is a Canadian company established in 2005. Today they offer services that facilitate the media production chain. They leverage leading technology to foster creativity and stand out in the market.

About the Computer Research Institute of Montreal (CRIM)

CRIM is an applied research and expertise centre in information technology, dedicated to making organizations more effective and competitive through the development of innovative technology and the transfer of leading-edge know-how, while contributing to scientific advancement. CRIM is a non-profit organization whose neutrality and strong network make it an indispensable resource. Its work is in line with the policies and strategies of its major financial partner, the ministère de l'Économie et de l'Innovation.