Particularly often, criticism of the acoustic intelligibility of TV films is directed at the ARD series “Tatort” – which may also have something to do with the fact that the Sunday crime thrillers from the first are particularly often subject to reviews, where angry viewers can post their comments.
Nevertheless, comments such as “The Genuschel That Nobody Understands Anymore” are by no means limited to the Franconian “crime scene”. This criticism was particularly often aimed at in episodes with Til Schweiger as Hamburg’s chief inspector, Nick Tschiller.
However, this also applies to ZDF films such as the Austrian episode “Landkrimi” “Vier”. Both ARD and ZDF responded on Wednesday to repeated disapproval of the difficult-to-understand dialogues.
First, we received a press release from ZDF. In it, ZDF announces an acoustically improved soundtrack called “Clear Language”. As the broadcaster informed, the new sound offer is available from June 1. It aims to emphasize the language more clearly and thus improve the intelligibility of speech. “The offer is now available for the main program of ZDF, the ZDFneo, 3sat and ZDFinfo programs will be implemented gradually,” ZDF continued.
According to the broadcaster, the new soundtrack will be integrated with the existing sound options (Stereo, Dolby Digital, Audio Description, Original Sound) as an add-on option. This is available via satellite, cable, DVB-T2 HD and in the live broadcast program in the ZDFmediathek app. The new service will also soon be offered on the live broadcast program on the ZDF website. The “Clear Language” soundtrack must be selected on your end device or video player.
Press releases that sound very similar
ARD released a very similar press release. “The ‘Klare Sprach’ offer will initially be introduced in the Das Erste program as well as in NDR, WDR and rbb. Additional third-party ARD programs will be added at a later date. The introduction of “Klare Sprach” to joint programs as well as to cooperating programs is planned for the autumn of 2022.
ARD broadcasts the soundtrack to “Klare Sprach” initially via HD satellite and DVB-T2 HD. Das Erste and WDR also offer an additional soundtrack in the live broadcast. Depending on the supplier’s decision, the offer may be made available at any time to anyone who watches cable TV or the Internet.
We use “clear language” to respond to various comments from our recipients who, above all, wanted better speech intelligibility. We are very pleased that we can now offer a solution to this problem by using artificial intelligence, “says Christoph Augenstein, Chairman of the Production and Technology Committee of ARD (PTKO) and Director of Operations and Production at Rundfunk Berlin-Brandenburg (rbb)
Viewers can select Clear Speech using the TV remote control. In the audio menu, you can choose between “Original Sound”, “Audio Description”, “Multichannel Sound” and the “Clear Speech” audio track. The language-optimized soundtrack can also be activated via the HbbTV asterisk bar, reports ARD on.
The terminal device must be selectable
ZDF, in turn, tried to explain why programs are sometimes perceived as difficult to understand. According to ZDF, this depends not only on the mixing ratio of the cartridge, but also on the reception conditions or individual hearing ability.
[Alle Folgen des True-Crime-Podcasts Tatort Berlin des Tagesspiegels finden Sie hier]
The broadcaster emphasizes that television and documentary films are often produced at high cost and that the mixture of speech and accompanying sounds (noise and music) is part of the drama of the message. This can be considered insufficiently understandable. “Additionally, the selectable soundtrack” Klare Sprach “uses artificial intelligence algorithms to generate a broadcast sound that makes the spoken word much more present.
Technical solutions to improve voice quality existed before. Some soundbars that are used to complement your television and provide a fuller sound offer options to enhance the enhancement of the frequency spectrum of the human voice. There is a section on this topic on the Soundbarfindr.com website that provides an overview of applicable devices.
It’s hard to understand: why couldn’t ARD and ZDF be able to announce this innovation, which is both welcome and long-awaited, in a joint press release?