Toronto, Ontario, Canada (August 24, 2010)–In Austria, Datamatix Datensysteme is producing audio descriptions of soccer matches for the visually impaired using Lawo consoles.
Commentaries produced by Datamatix Datensysteme are passed to ORF (Austrian national public broadcaster) and, in addition, an “audio description” is provided in the stadium on a VHF radio frequency and via a live internet stream. The idea was first conceived during preparations for the 2008 European Championship. Following the tournament, soccer governing body FIFA left the radio transmitters in place for use by the Austrian Bundesliga, the top Austrian football league. International matches in the stadiums at Vienna, Innsbruck, and Graz followed.
“Feedback from the non-visually impaired indicates that the added information is welcome, and that the more transparent explanations of the rules are much appreciated, and make the game significantly more interesting. It is, however, important that our service is particularly designed for visually impaired people; it cannot be compared with a standard commentary. As soon as our commentator stops, a blind person can’t ‘watch’ the match any longer,” says Michael Kastelic, CEO of Datamatix Datensysteme GmbH.
Both the largest and smallest of Lawo’s consoles are used for the audio description. “Our Lawo products, an mc290 at the ORF center, an mc256 in our OB vans, as well as crystal consoles in the stadiums, all provide state-of-the-art technology and cutting-edge sound,” comments Kastelic.
Additionally, the crystal consoles handle the exceptionally high commentator audio levels that occur when a team scores, without distortion. Kastelic continues, “The outstandingly fast and professional support from Lawo was another plus.” The crystal console is used in stadiums mainly due to its compact size and modular fader unit: “Following extensive market analysis, the Lawo console proved to be the most flexible and powerful solution, in addition to a price-performance ratio untouched by any other competitor.”