BTI Studios Provides AD and Subtitles for Loving Vincent

Innovative and award-winning animated film presents ‘painted’ life of Vincent van Gogh

Posted on Oct 11, 2017 by Corinna Booth  | Tags: press release, feature film, audio description, documentary

We are delighted to have provided audio description (AD) for the visually impaired and subtitles for the hard of hearing on behalf of Altitude Film Distribution for an extraordinary new film that uses Vincent van Gogh’s paintings as the inspiration for an animated drama documentary about the end of his life.

AD is a scripted narrative track that is woven into a television programme or feature film to describe on-screen action for blind and visually impaired people. Headphone-delivered narration tracks are increasingly available in cinemas, and a number of major studios have committed to the provision of AD.

BTI Studios is a known and trusted partner in AD and subtitle creation, with a track record of providing high-quality services to very tight schedules for many major releases, including the Oscar-winner Moonlight, Beauty and the Beast and Pirates of the Caribbean. It has been an acknowledged leader in the longer-established field of subtitling for the hard of hearing, which involves subtitling spoken dialogue and a description of sounds, for many years.

Still from Loving Vincent, released with audio description created by BTI Studios

Still from Loving Vincent, shared by kind permission of Altitude Film Distribution

BTI’s Head of AD, Veronika Hyks, has been working in this field for nearly 20 years. Veronika led the AD team in a process that didn’t just describe the on-screen action telling the story of the mysterious death of the world’s best-known artist, but also brought to life the Van Gogh-inspired illustrations for the visually impaired – and all without interrupting the dialogue or flow of the film.

This was no mean feat. The film was shot with actors, and then painted over frame by frame: 65,000 frames in all. The whole process took a total of six years and a team of 125 painters. However, the dream of directors Doriota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman has been realised in a visually striking feature that has won a number of audience awards at film festivals. The film that Variety calls “a truly awe-inspiring portrait of the great Dutch artist” is now attracting large audiences in major American cities and opens in the UK on 13 October.

The AD team at BTI Studios believe they have done justice to this extraordinary film with a specially written script that respects the ambition of the original while helping a visually impaired audience to capture the genius and pain that inspired Van Gogh’s paintings. Despite a tight schedule, a great deal of background research, and high levels of security required to avoid the film’s details being leaked, Veronika and her team were able to add Loving Vincent to the growing list of successful AD services BTI Studios has supplied.

Emily Compton, Head of Technical at Altitude Film Entertainment, says: “BTI Studios and their team have produced an intelligent, sympathetic and informative AD track and subtitling for a film that is not, by any standards, a conventional drama documentary. This is a wonderful job that will, I am certain, be enormously appreciated by many visually impaired and hearing-impaired filmgoers.”

AD demand is growing. It has support from the UK’s main distributors, many studios, the BFI and of course the visually impaired, for whom it is an integral part of access to entertainment. AD teams have even started to appear on the end credits of a number of films, as well, of course, as being credited on the soundtrack they supply.

BTI Studios, long a major name in dubbing and subtitling, is increasingly recognised among the very best suppliers of AD to the film and television industry. BTI Studios' Head of AD, Veronika Hyks, was instrumental in creating the guidelines for audio description over 20 years ago. She is a highly respected broadcaster, voiceover artist, producer, presenter and actress.

She says: “Loving Vincent is a gorgeous and completely original film that succeeds as both a story and a work of art. It’s visually striking in that the actors still look like themselves whilst also resembling Van Gogh’s artworks, with the characters being inserted into Van Gogh’s painted landscapes. We, like the filmmakers, feel it deserves to be experienced by as wide an audience as possible. We’re delighted that we could contribute to making that happen.”

Screenshot of Robert Gulaczyk as Vincent Van Gogh in the audio described feature film Loving Vincent

Robert Gulaczyk as Van Gogh, shared by kind permission of Altitude Film Distribution

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