Descriptive Video Take Three

Check out the first part of this story about Descriptive Video here or the second part here if you missed it.

We snaked through the line for the ticket counter. Before we reached the front, the manager saw us, greeting us with a big wave. He remembered I needed the Descriptive Video device and retrieved it while we picked up our tickets.

The manager handed me the device. “It’s on the V setting,” he said, smiling and directing us to our theater for the film. My husband and I settled in for the previews. I gripped the transmitter and adjusted my headset to fit comfortably over my ears.

I held my breath as the logo for the movie studio appeared on the screen. I heard a voice in my headset say something like, “Focus Features. The O in Focus is blurred.” I smiled to myself, knowing that this was Descriptive Video.

As I watched The World’s End, the male narrator told me about facial expressions and movements of characters. He mentioned certain prop locations or important details that could be missed if you are only going on the film’s dialogue and sound effects.

At times, I found the description to be unintentionally funny. “Gary walks through a contraction site without a helmet. He causes an accident. Then, he cheerfully waves.”

By the end of the film, I felt confident that I wasn’t mixing up characters or missing out on plot twists due to my vision. The track conveyed a version of what I imagined to be stage directions for the screenplay seamlessly in my ears. The pieces described on the track engaged me.

I recommend Descriptive Video for anyone with visual impairments who likes watching movies. It adds another layer of information at times when you would be missing out due to nonverbal communications or elements in movies. This accessibility option helped me to enjoy the movies like I used to before gaining low vision.

For more information about Descriptive Video Service, see their FAQ page.

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9 Comments Add yours

  1. Chelle says:

    I had no idea there were such devices. Before the CaptiView (for the deaf and hard of hearing) devices came out widespread last year, I didn’t go to movies. I got tired of missing so much that I flat refused to go for years. Accessibility is wonderful isn’t it? I got my movies back finally and so do you.

    1. Chelle: we benefit from the digital age, don’t we? I’m glad you will be catching movies at the theater again. Check out http://ncam.wgbh.org/mopix/ for films and theaters with devices.

  2. Chelle says:

    I shared your descriptive video posts with my hearing loss email list.

    1. Thanks, Chelle! It sounds like more people will be enjoying movies.

  3. Oh how funny indeed. Some descriptions are really open to the personality of the speaker I suppose. Which could make for very funny moments!

    1. Lucent: I am looking forward to seeing how other narrators handle different genres. It must take a bit of effort to write the scripts for DV and match the film’s tone.

  4. I remember listening to an audio described commentary accompanying a James Bond film on my television. While the description was helpful the fact that the film was an action movie meant that it was difficult for the person doing the describing to keep up with what was happening. The description became so fast that I was not able to fully comprehend what was happening. I would, however rather have had the audio description than not had it.

    1. Drewdog: The fast talking can be tough. But like you, I would rather have fast talking a few times then no extra description. Which James Bond? I’m partial to Daniel Craig as Bond.

      1. Unfortunately I can not remember which Bond movie it was. However I do remember that it was not based on Ian Fleming’s books, it was one of the plots written after his death. Cheers, Kevin

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