Presentatie op het Media for All-congres


Op vrijdag 7 juli gaf Susanne een presentatie tijdens het Media for All-congres in Antwerpen. Ze vertelde hoe we de Heilig Bloedprocessie in Brugge steeds toegankelijker maken met de FARO Erfgoed-app.

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Media for All is een internationaal congres dat om de twee jaar in een andere stad wordt gehouden. De overkoepelende thema’s zijn audiovisuele vertaling en mediatoegankelijkheid. Dit jaar was het congres aan zijn tiende editie toe en die werd gehouden in Antwerpen.

Het was al de tweede keer dat Susanne een presentatie gaf op het congres. In 2011 hield ze in Londen een betoog over de rol en status van audiovisueel vertalers en dit jaar vertelde ze in Antwerpen over de Heilig Bloedprocessie en hoe die steeds toegankelijker wordt.

Om op zo’n congres iets te mogen komen vertellen, moet je eerst een abstract indienen. Daarin beschrijf je in maximaal 500 woorden welk onderwerp je wilt bespreken. Ook leg je uit waarom je presentatie goed in het thema van het congres zou passen.  

Enkele maanden later hoor je of je voorstel werd aanvaard. Als dat zo is, is het tijd om je abstract uit te werken in een presentatie. Ook daarvoor gelden weer richtlijnen. Zo mocht de presentatie niet meer dan 15 minuten duren en moest je bereid zijn daarna nog 5 minuten vragen te beantwoorden uit het publiek. Ook belangrijk was dat al je presentatiemateriaal toegankelijk moest zijn. Denk hierbij aan een voldoende groot lettertype op je slides, ondertiteling van video’s én een mondelinge beschrijving van afbeeldingen die je laat zien.

Aan zo’n presentatie gaan verschillende oefensessies vooraf, en hoewel het in het begin even wennen is, leer je ontzettend veel als je jezelf opneemt. In de video hieronder kun je zo’n opname bekijken met de slides van de presentatie. Lees je liever? Als je op het vinkje klikt, krijg je de uitgeschreven tekst van de video. De video en de tekst zijn in het Engels omdat dat de taal van het congres was.

(Susanne sits behind her desk while she practices her presentation for the Media for All 10 conference. During her talk, she shows several slides that support her story.)


Right. So let me start with a spoiler, because even though the 2022 edition of the Procession of the Holy Blood had Flemish sign language, subtitles and audio description, in the meantime we've added more languages. So the 2023 edition had French and English sign language, subtitles and audio description, and in the coming years, more languages will be added as well.

But first of all, the Procession of the Holy Blood in Bruges. What is it and what is it about? It's a procession that has a very long history. It dates back to 1304, so it has been around for more than 700 years.

The procession consists of four parts. It starts with stories from the Old Testament. For instance, the story of Adam and Eve. That's an Old Testament story. Then the second part is stories from the New Testament, so the life of Jesus. Then there is a historical part. And finally, there's the religious part, where the relic of the Holy Blood is carried around through the streets of the historic centre. Now, this very last part, that's the very old bit of the procession that's been around for over 700 years.

So it's quite special. And in 2009, UNESCO included it in its list of Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity. And it's also quite a large, big event. That is to say, there are over 1700 participants. If I'm not mistaken, there were even more than 1800 participants in this year's edition. It's not only theatre, there are also musicians. Some 250 musicians take part in the procession. The youngest participant is traditionally the role of baby Jesus, so that would be an around three months old baby. And the eldest participant is well in his 80s. It's not just people, by the way. There are also some 80 sheep. There are horses, dogs, birds of prey, camels, et cetera. So it really is a big event.

And a big event means a big turnout as well. So, in general, some 40,000 people come to Bruges to witness this procession. 40,000 spectators. To put it into perspective, there are only 20,000 inhabitants in the old, historic city centre of the town, so twice that amount come to the town to visit this procession every year.

As for the accessibility of the procession, there are a number of things. First of all, there are five assistance zones along the route. These assistance zones, that means that people can get basically any type of assistance or accessibility they want, so they can be picked up at the train station, there are accessible toilets, a whole range of things.

Second, the procession has been live broadcast on television since 2022, because even though there are accessibility features, not everyone is capable to come to Bruges on the day of the event, which is, by the way, always Ascension Day. And the live broadcast was a big success, especially in homes for the elderly. And in 2023, live Flemish sign language interpreting was added to the broadcast as well. Well, this sign language version is in fact the translation of the running commentary during the broadcast.

Apart from that, there has been live audio description for the event since 2013. I personally was the live audio describer, so I've described the procession since 2013, but subtitles and sign language were not included. They have only been part of the procession since the 2022 edition, where the media accessibility features were moved to an app.

So the FARO app, it's not new. It's been used for quite a long time. In the FARO app, you can have audio guides, you can have video guides, you can have augmented reality, and it's used a lot by museums, et cetera, cultural heritage sites throughout Flanders.

But for this particular procession, there has been made an audio guide with pre-recorded audio description that is hosted by the app and a video guide that has sign language and subtitled videos.

As I mentioned before, in 2023, English and French versions were added. So this year's procession, you could also choose to follow it with French audio description or French video files, which had sign language and subtitles. And the same goes for English.

I will show you a brief example of what it would be like to follow the procession with the app. Now, in this video, I combined the video guide with the audio guide. In reality, it's either the video or the audio. So you have to choose which one you want to follow. Do you want to have sign language and subtitles or do you want to have audio descriptions? But I've added them in the video and what I tried to mimic was what it's like to be seated along the route. The procession opens and what will happen next? Well, traditionally, the procession is opened by the police. So the video starts with a police car and then it switches to the video and audio files.


Welcome to the procession of the Holy Blood, which was just opened by a police car driving by very slowly. For the next hour and a half, some 50 groups will pass by, bringing the story of the procession to life. In this audio guide, we will tell you all about it and will share fun facts. In order to follow the procession, it is important to have your Bluetooth function activated at various moments. You will automatically get extra information as the groups pass by.


Okay, so that was a very brief and short example, and the video ended with the police car driving off. So audio description, sign language and subtitles added in an app, the FARO app. You can find more information on

The FARO app uses beacon technology. Beacons are not new. They've been around for, I think, at least 15 years, and they are used quite a lot in museums, but also for outdoor applications. So I'm just going to show you. This is what a beacon looks like. It's a small box, a small white box. It's about the size of a matchbox. This is an older model, but the principle behind it stays the same.

So you have these small boxes and they are put on certain artefacts during the procession. In fact, the procession itself has 50 groups and we've added 20 beacons, so 20 stops, if you like. Now, the difficulty, or rather the difference with having beacons in a museum setting is that in a museum or in an outdoor event, you would have the beacons… They are placed on fixed items and your visitors will be moving around. And when they get within reach of the beacon, they will get a signal to warn them: Hey, here is more information. If you want, you can listen to it or you can have a look.

What we did in this procession was reverse that order. So the people, the spectators, they remain seated, typically, but it is the procession itself that's moving around, and also the beacons, because they are attached to certain parts of the procession. That was new.

And the big question was, will it work? Well, it has some challenges.

I'm going to show you a picture of a scene in a procession. And the picture is of a man on a white horse. He is dressed, the man, in white trousers, an orange red tunic and a golden cape. And on his head he's wearing a crown with a cross on it. And this man represents the voice of God in the story of Abraham, an Old Testament story.

Ever since I've done the first live audio descriptions, it has been the same. It has been the same man, the same horse, everything was the same. So we recorded the description as I just read it to you, and then this happened.

So the next picture is of the same gentleman, except he's riding a dark brown horse. So he's still dressed in his white trousers, an orange red tunic and a golden cape. And on his head he's still wearing a crown with a cross on it. He's still representing the voice of God, but his horse has changed.

Now, if this happens during a live audio description, it's not a big deal, really. Because even though you've prepared your script that says it's a white horse, you can easily spot it's not. So you either change the colour of the horse on the spot, so on dark brown horse, blah, blah, blah, or you just leave out the colour altogether. The problem with having pre-recorded audio description is obviously, the moment something changes, it stays wrong forever, unless you do a re-recording.

Other challenges that we faced… So groups, costumes, et cetera, they can change. Other challenges. And obviously, we checked with every costume horse, et cetera, with the organisation, but things happen.

Technical issues. The beacons that I mentioned before, they are set to a specific range and you can change that range. So it might be tempting to put the range as large as possible, because the moment you're within beacon range, you can hear or watch the corresponding file. The problem is, by setting the range too large, you will get information of a group that hasn't even come near you yet, or you might get overlapping audio and video files which you absolutely do not want to have.

Interference means if you put a lot of people in a limited area, limited surface, it might affect the beacon range. And this did happen.

So placing the beacons on artefacts is a challenge as well, because it’s not just police cars, there are also very old statues that are carried around during the procession. So do you want to place a beacon on that? Is there an alternative? And if so, what alternatives can we use, et cetera. So you have to be really careful where to put your beacons.

And the last one, obviously, publicity. It's all nice to have accessibility features, but if people don't know that they are there, they cannot use them. What they did in order to solve this, for instance, was put posters along the way with the QR code. So people could scan the QR code and access the FARO app directly without having to download it upfront.

Finally, some numbers. So, the 2022 edition, almost 450 people, 450 people followed the procession with the app. And of those 450 people, a bit more than 200 visitors used the video guide with Flemish sign language and subtitles. And almost 250 people used the audio guide.

Now, I mentioned before that I did the live audio description of the procession and traditionally we would have 10 to 20 users. So our user base really exploded by having an app. So we reached far more people.

Then, the 2023 edition. Remember the French and English versions were added in the app and in conclusion we had over 600 people following the procession with the app.

The graph is a bit messy, but the majority of these people either chose the Flemish video guide, some 250 users. Or the Flemish audio guide, around 200 people. And the third most popular version was a video with British Sign Language and subtitles. So, on a total of 40,000 spectators, 1.5% used the accessibility features in the app.

Now, finally, my last slide has the partners. I will briefly introduce them. So AnyMedia is an expertise centre for accessible media. Licht en Liefde is the recording studio. Visual Box made the videos with sign language and subtitles. Nevero, that would be my company. We took care of the texts, translations and audio descriptions. The FARO app. And finally, the organisation of the Procession of the Holy Blood.

De Heilig Bloedprocessie met audiodescriptie, gebarentaal én ondertiteling

Tijdens haar presentatie vertelde Susanne hoe we de Heilig Bloedprocessie in Brugge steeds toegankelijker maken met de FARO Erfgoed-app. Daarin kon je vorig jaar al een audiogids vinden met vooraf opgenomen audiodescriptie én een videogids met filmpjes in Vlaamse gebarentaal mét ondertiteling. Dit jaar kwamen daar de Engelse en Franse versies bij. Hieronder vind je een samenvatting van haar presentatie. 👇

Elk jaar op Hemelvaartsdag trekt in Brugge de Heilig Bloedprocessie door de straten. Gemiddeld komen er zo’n 40.000 bezoekers op het evenement af. Meer dan 1.700 deelnemers acteren, zingen, dansen en musiceren terwijl ze door het historische centrum trekken. De processie is ruim 700 jaar geleden ontstaan en is opgenomen op de lijst van immaterieel cultureel erfgoed van Unesco.

In 2013 werd er voor de eerste keer live-audiodescriptie aangeboden tijdens de processie. Mensen die niet (goed) zien konden een koptelefoontje krijgen waarmee ze de beschrijvingen van de taferelen konden beluisteren. Susanne was de audiobeschrijver van dienst.


Niet meer live, maar met een app

In 2022 was er een grote vernieuwing: in plaats van live-audiodescriptie waren er vooraf opgenomen beschrijvingen gemaakt. Bezoekers konden de audiogids beluisteren via de FARO Erfgoed-app. Er was ook een videogids met ondertiteling en Vlaamse gebarentaal.

De voorbereidingen voor de audio- en videogids begonnen al in 2021. De organisatie van de processie had een klankbordgroep met blinde/slechtziende en dove/slechthorende mensen gevraagd waar zij precies behoefte aan hadden. Daarna vroegen ze advies aan toegankelijkheidsspecialisten (zoals wij) om het project verder uit te werken.

Het gevolg was dat de audiodescriptie niet langer live wordt verzorgd, maar vooraf werd opgenomen. Doordat de audiogids in een app staat, kan iedereen ernaar luisteren en niet alleen wie een koptelefoontje heeft en binnen het bereik van de AD-zender staat. Dove en slechthorende bezoekers waren vroeger op het programmaboekje aangewezen als ze meer info wilden. Nu konden ze de informatie bekijken in de videogids.

Toch bleek het nog een hele uitdaging te zijn om de audio- en videofragmenten op het juiste moment bij de gebruikers te krijgen. De oplossing bestond uit beacons die via bluetooth een signaal uitzenden dat vervolgens wordt opgepikt door de smartphone van de kijker/luisteraar.

Beacons zijn niet nieuw en beacontechnologie wordt al jaren gebruikt in museums en voor rondleidingen in de openlucht. Maar die beacons worden op een vast voorwerp aangebracht en bezoekers pikken het signaal op terwijl ze rondlopen. Voor de Heilig Bloedprocessie is die volgorde omgedraaid: de bezoekers staan of zitten op een vaste plek en de stoet trekt rond. De beacons moesten dus worden aangebracht op voorwerpen die tijdens de processie worden rondgedragen.

Tijdens de presentatie vertelde Susanne wat de mogelijke valkuilen zijn van een vooraf opgenomen audio- en videogids. Zo bleek een wit paard ineens vervangen te zijn door een donkerbruin exemplaar!

Maar belangrijker nog waren de cijfers. De live-audiodescriptie bereikte traditioneel 10 à 20 deelnemers, maar met de app waren dat er meer dan 200! Ook de videogids viel in de smaak met ruim 200 gebruikers. De versies in andere talen wisten ook hun publiek te bereiken. De exacte cijfers vind je in de PowerPoint op SlideShare.

Heb je ook een project waarbij vooraf opgenomen audiodescriptie een meerwaarde kan zijn? Neem dan zeker contact op! We bekijken graag de mogelijkheden.

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