Q Media: Audio Tour Experts

Delivering your goals, to your visitors, within your budget.

Archive for Audio Guides

Audio Tours for the Visually Impaired

Institutions are using audio guides to comply with government mandated ADA requirements to provide interpretation of their information for all visitors.  Recently Q Media has been producing audio tours to allow some US Fish and Wildlife and National Park Service facilities meet their ADA requirements by providing visually described audio tours of their facilities.

Visually described audio tours are just that – an audio tour where the script is written to describe what is there for the visitor to experience and to also provide directions and other information that the sighted world sees and they may not.  Visually impaired individuals better experience a facility with these types of productions and they also allow a facility meet ADA requirements by providing interpretive experiences that are produced to directly serve their needs.

Stasha Boyd – Q Media’s president, primary writer and producer – is certified to write visually described tours and she has been using her skills, in combination with Q Media’s  award-winning production capabilities, to create meaningful audio experiences for visually impaired visitors.  When we produce a visually described tour we usually produce two tours –  one for sighted visitors and a visually described tour.  This way both sighted and visually impaired visitors get to experience a facility with audio and both tours incorporate high production standards to create a rich sonic experience for the listener.  We go on site to gather research, interview subject matter experts and record natural sounds that are specific to the location.  We produce tours that accomplish what a facility wants to convey so all of its visitors, sighted and visually impaired, will have the opportunity to experience the interpretation that leadership desires.

One visually described audio tour that Q Media recently produced was for the visitor center at The Audubon National Wildlife Refuge in Coleharbor, ND.  According to Jackie Jacobson, Director of Audubon It has been a pleasure to work with you… seriously, it was so nice to work with professionals on this task, as I had never used or seen one of these devices before. Thank you for all your patience! In working with clients Q Media strives to make sure that all facets of a production are equally cared for and that includes extensive communication with decision makers.  Many times they’ve never been involved in producing an audio tour and we pride ourselves in effectively communicating what it is that we do so everyone is aware of our process and how we achieve their goals.

Look for many more productions this year from Q Media producing visually described audio tours.  If you are a facility that is required to meet these ADA requirements, or cares to serve this facet of your visitors, please contact us so we can produce and equip a visually described tour for your location.


Q Media to provide new audio tour equipment for Kennedy Space Center

NASA LogoJuly 16 2009 – Q Media is proud to announce that they have been contracted to update the audio tour equipment at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor’s Complex in Kennedy Space Center, FL. The KSC Visitor’s Center originally had an audio tour installed in 1998 utilizing JVC audio guides. However, time has taken its toll on these players which are no longer supported by JVC and the number of players available to the public has been in sharp decline over the last few years. Q Media is providing Orpheo Classic audio guides to KSC along with the current tour content so once again visitors can enjoy the information previously developed.

The tour will be available to the public in 7 languages–English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese and Spanish. Q Media is also incorporating Infrared triggering of the Orpheo audio guides for some of KSC’s interactive exhibits.

Orpheo system engineers Antoine Eisenstein and Sylvain Plaetevoet will also be on-hand during the installation to assist Q Media Technical Director Mike Lutz. The new tour hardware also includes Orpheo Desk Manager which allows KSC’s staff to expedite audio guide operations and visitor registraion without the need to hold personal identification.

The tour will once again be available to the public on August 1, 2009.  For more information about Q Media and their project for the Kennedy Space Center Vistor’s Complex please contact Mike Lutz at Q Media at mike@qmediaproductions.com.

Audio guides in an iPod world. Are they still relevant?

“Audio guides are dead. Passe. Old news. Too expensive. Too creatively restrictive. Too… too…  yesterday.”
Fantasy of Flight; a unique experience!

Fantasy of Flight; a unique experience!


Before I start a non-professional rant, let me make a couple of clear points:

First, audio guides and audio tours are not the same thing. An “audio guide” is a device, an “audio tour” is an experience. You can experience an outstanding audio tour on a number of different devices — e.g. audio guides, cell phones, iPods, pdas — which may or may not have been designed and developed as a way strictly to present an audio tour. An audio guide, on the other hand, is a type of hardware that was designed, developed, and deployed with one purpose in mind, to deliver audio tours to the general public. 

Second, there are two sides to an audio tour (you will see this point made over and over in this blog), “what you’re listening to” and “how you’re listening to it.” An audio guide is simply another “how”, another way to get the “what,” — that is, the message — to the ear of your visitor.

Keeping those two points in mind, the question then becomes, do audio guides still have a place in today’s artistic, historical, and cultural organizations? The answer is “yes” provided that for the individual organization the pluses outweigh the minuses. Read the rest of this entry »

Orange County Regional History Center

Orange County Regional History Center

Orange County Regional History Center

In 2008 we had the opportunity to do something we rarely get to do — work locally! I don’t know why it is but the old adage regarding the “pro from Dover” generally seems to hold. Never-the-less, we were selected to work with the Orange County Regional History Center in Orlando to provide audio guides and production support for the new audio tour of their permanent exhibits. This project has several lessons including some benefits and cautions to a la carte production as well as what to do when the financial rug gets pulled out from under you. Welcome to the wonderful and wacky world of public financing. Read the rest of this entry »

Are they listening?

Many orgnaizations use software to track how listeners respond to their audio tour. And often, when facilities find that tracks aren’t listened to in their entirety, they conclude that “the listener isn’t interested in audio tours,” RATHER than “their audio production isn’t interesting.” Visitor behavior, they call it. It reminds me of how film students will cry that the audience didn’t “get it” rather than acknowledge they were the ones with the responsibility to be understood.

I’m baffled. Visitors were interested enough to get in their cars and come to the site, interested enough to pay their admission, interested enough to take the audio tour, but then suddenly not interested in the information they were seeking? Not likely. More likely, they didn’t like what they heard. And the reason they didn’t like it was because it wasn’t presented effectively. Read the rest of this entry »

Updating MillerCoors Brewing Company

Recently, one of our previous and favorite clients, Coors Brewery, formed a joint venture with Miller Brewing Company; by all accounts the marriage is going well. However, since we produced their first audio tour in 2008 BEFORE the venture, updates were necessary. As you can guess, while this isn’t rocket science, a few things came up that are good lessons to learn from. Read the rest of this entry »