Audio Description

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It is remarkable how technology can be so beneficial. People who are blind, such as myself, used to have no idea what was happening on a television or movie screen. With the development of audio description, barriers to accessing visual information have been lowered. In this blog post, I will explain what audio description is and provide examples.

Before demonstrating any concept, I consider it necessary to explain it. The American Council of the Blind provides a resource containing both an explanation of audio description (AD) and examples through

“The Audio Description Project “.

According to the AD Project’s

article explaining audio description,

AD helps someone who is blind or visually impaired understand important visual-only information on movies, television and other art forms. This can include but are not limited to on-screen text, facial expressions and action. AD is typically inserted between pauses in spoken words. I will now share some AD examples.

Examples of audio description are available online. The Audio Description Project referenced above provides some

audio description examples.

The examples I showcase here are only a few of the samples available from The Audio Description Project. First, I spotlight a

movie clip from “The Lion King” containing audio description.

In this excerpt, there are no spoken words at all by the actors. Because of audio description, I learn that the king of beasts was recognized by the other animals. Next, I point readers to a

audio-described Subaru commercial.

From audio description, it is clear what happens and where the couple goes in their car. Third,

an excerpt from “The Miracle Worker” with audio description.

I have known for years that “The Miracle Worker” is about Helen Keller and her teacher. Through audio description, the contest of wills between Helen and her teacher is evident. My final audio description spotlight is currently not on the ADP samples page. It is

“The Interviewer” with audio description.

I previously blogged about this production.

Unlike the AD samples referenced above, “The Interviewer” is a full-length production, not a commercial or movie excerpt. Through audio description, I learn about emotions experienced by the characters and what happens when the person with a disability displays his interviewing talents. I will now reflect on audio description.

This topic triggered a pleasant memory for me. Twenty years ago while visiting Washington, D.C. for a week during high school, I attended a performance. I was not told in advance that audio description would be provided to me, so it was a pleasant surprise! After turning on the audio description device, AD provided through headphones helped me understand what was happening. In summary, I was able to enjoy the performance just like everyone else who attended. The exhilaration of equal enjoyment remains vivid in my memory after two decades. Bottom line: audio description helps level the accessibility field for people who are blind or visually impaired.

Question for readers: What productions (movies, television shows etc) do you enjoy? I will return with another article.

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