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. They are currently working on setting up the training system for me. In the meantime, I am offering workshops.
Introduction to Audio Description – Saturday, March 27, 2021 from 3pm – 6pm Pacific time