What is Audio Description and Why Is it Important?
Let me start with the why it is important. I became an Audio Description narrator two years ago. This service is a necessity for those who are blind or of low vision. It is how the blind and low vision community have access to main stream programming. I was interviewed by Roy Samuelson last year for the Know Your Narrator series he has been conducting for the Audio Description Narrators of America of which I am part of as well. In this interview, I describe why this work is meaningful to me and I share:
- My journey into becoming an Audio Description narrator
- The importance of this work in the blind and low vision community
- The work that still needs to be done on the production side
- My vision for Audio Description
At the time of the recording of my interview, the documentary, The Last Dance was only available on ESPN and was not released with Audio Description or subtitles. However, it is now available on Netflix with both AD and subtitles. Please also excuse the poor audio quality on my end, I had just finished an 86 episode series and I didn’t want to be in my studio for any non-VO recordings at the time of this recording.
Original published here: https://theadna.libsyn.com/the-adna-presents-know-your-narrator-series-sophia-cruz
Audio Description Defined
The American Council for the Blind describes it as “the accessibility of the visual images of theater, television, movies, and other art forms for people who are blind, have low vision, or who are otherwise visually impaired. It is a narration service (provided at no additional charge to the patron) that attempts to describe what the sighted person takes for granted — those images that a person who is blind or visually impaired formerly could only experience through the whispered asides from a sighted companion.
In theaters, in museums, and accompanying television, film, and video presentations, Audio Description is commentary and narration which guides the listener through the presentation with concise, objective descriptions of new scenes, settings, costumes, body language, and “sight gags,” all slipped in between portions of dialogue or songs.
The Federal Government defines Audio Description as follows in its Notice of Proposed Rulemaking for updating the US Access Board’s Section 508 Standards, Section E103.4, published February 22, 2015:
Audio Description. Narration added to the soundtrack to describe important visual details that cannot be understood from the main soundtrack alone. Audio description is a means to inform individuals who are blind or who have low vision about visual content essential for comprehension. Audio description of video provides information about actions, characters, scene changes, on-screen text, and other visual content. Audio description supplements the regular audio track of a program. Audio description is usually added during existing pauses in dialogue. Audio description is also called “video description” and “descriptive narration”.
Audio Description Coaching
I have started coaching other voice over talents in understanding what is necessary in pursuing this type of work due to getting so many requests. For some reason, which I will explain in the workshop, I have been able to master this genre rather quickly from the onset. Probably because I’ve had 15 years of training as a voice over actor. Here is an incredible unsolicited testimony from one of my clients that I work with all the time, Raúl Aldana from Zoo Digital. He shared this while being interviewed on Ask Dave Fennoy Anything on Facebook on October 14, 2020. I have since been given permission by Raùl to teach others on Zoo Digital’s platform. Raúl will be contributing a webinar to all registered participants for the Introduction to Audio Description Workshop.
Upcoming Workshops and Workouts:
Introduction to Audio Description:
Thursday, July 29, 2021 from 2pm – 5pm Pacific time
Saturday, July 31, 2021 from 11am – 2pm Pacific time
Monday, August 1, 2021 from 2pm – 5pm Pacific time
Audio Description Workouts Level 1:
Sunday, August 1, 2021 from 11am – 1:30pm Pacific time
Tuesday, August 3, 2021 from 2pm – 4:30pm Pacific time
Wednesday, August 4, 2021 from 4pm – 6:30pm Pacific time
Audio Description Workouts Level 2:
Thursday, July 29, 2021 from 5:30pm – 7pm Pacific time
Saturday, August 7, 2021 from 11am – 12:30pm Pacific time
Audio Description One-on-One Coaching
Sophia Cruz is one of the most authentic, caring and generous talents in the voiceover business. From the moment I heard about the Audio Description genre of voiceover work, and that Sophia was offering workshops, I wanted to learn from her. Always aware of the business side of voiceover and cognizant of trends, Sophia’s workshops are packed with insight only working pros can offer. Sophia offers the opportunity to learn by doing, gives succinct direction and also includes invaluable feedback from blind advisors. Book a workshop with Sophia Cruz. It’s a smart investment with one of VO’s triple threats: talent, business woman & now coach.
– Kristi Burns, Professional VoiceOver Talent