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COURSE OVERVIEW
AUDIO DESCRIPTION: THE VISUAL MADE VERBAL
Arts Access For People Who Are Blind
Instructor: Joel...
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Course Description
Audio Description (AD) makes the visual images
of theater, media and visual art accessible f...
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In pauses between pieces of dialogue or critical
sound elements, describers insert narrative that
translates th...
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In training describers, focus is on four
fundamentals:
OBSERVATION We learn to see the world anew. In
his book,...
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2) EDITING
Audio describers must
then edit or cull from
what they see, selecting
what is most valid, what
is mo...
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3) LANGUAGE
We transfer it all to words—objective, vivid,
imaginatively drawn words, phrases, and metaphors.
Fo...
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4) VOCAL SKILLS
Finally, in addition to building a verbal capability, the
describer (or whoever will voice the de...
8
“Make mother mad!,” cried
mischievous Marvin,
munching a marble.
Maybe Marvin meant much
more as he moved
motionlessly.
01/29/15
9
666 seasick sailors
slinked over the steel
sides.
01/29/15
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A big black bug bit a
big black bear and the
big black bear bled
black blood.
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Rubber baby buggy bumpers.
12
National Shropshire Sheep
Association.
13
“Are you copper-bottoming
them, my man?”
“No, I’m aluminuming ‘em,
mum.”
14
Dr. Pepper’s pink pills for poor,
pitiful, pepless people.
15
Amidst the mists and coldest frosts,
With stoutest wrists and loudest boasts,
He thrusts his fists against the posts,
A...
16
If a Hottentot tot taught a Hottentot tot
To talk ere the tot could totter,
Ought the Hottentot tot be taught to say
ou...
17
If to hoot and toot a Hottentot tot
Be taught by a Hottentot tutor,
Should the tutor get hot if the Hottentot tot
Hoot ...
18
Katy Krocker cooked a cup of proper coffee
in a proper copper coffee cup.
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Caesar sighed and seized the scissors.
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Whether the weather be cold,
whether the weather be hot,
We’ll be together whatever the weather,
whether we like it or ...
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Course Goals: By the end of this course
students can expect to know/experience:
-- who are "the blind"?
-- the...
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Sessions 1 and 2–
Introduction;
Who are "the blind"?;
The history of Audio Description.
For private study and ...
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Sessions 3 and 4–
Active Seeing / Visual Literacy;
The art of "editing" what you see;
Using language to conjur...
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Sessions 5 and 6–
Audio description practica
For private study and discussion on Message Board
(click on / vis...
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Sessions 7 and 8 –
Audio description practica
For private study and discussion on Message Board
(click on / vi...
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Sessions 9 and 10 –
Audio description practica
For private study and discussion on Message
Board (click on / v...
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Sessions 11 and 12 –
Audio description practica;
Presentation of final exams.
For private study and discussion...
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Final Exam
The final exam will involve the development of and
the live or recorded delivery of an audio descri...
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* FRACTURED UNIVERSITY ** FRACTURED UNIVERSITY *
presentspresents
““AUDIO DESCRIPTION:AUDIO DESCRIPTION:
The V...
11/22/09
Session One
of
Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal
11/22/09
What better way to begin our work together than with
description of two visual images:
“The Fan” by John McPherso...
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“Red and Rover” by Brian Basset
Read the following or access my audio reading of this
description (next page) and...
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What is Audio Description?
Audio Description is a kind of
literary art form. It's a type of
poetry--a haiku. I...
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It’s useful for anyone who
wants to truly notice and
appreciate a more full
perspective on any visual
event bu...
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A Brief History of Audio Description
Audio Description or AD was first developed in the U.S. It was
the subjec...
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From there the
Washington Ear's AD
program was developed.
I was already a
volunteer reader at The
Ear, and a prof...
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Audio Description and
Literacy
Not too long ago I conducted a
workshop in New Haven with day
care workers and ...
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The teacher has introduced
new vocabulary, invited
comparisons, and used
metaphor or simile -- with
toddlers! ...
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Let me help you see what description is all about by
asking you, figuratively, to close your eyes !!
Excerpt f...
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“AD on TV”
In the United States, in areas where a television
station is equipped to participate, AD lets all
t...
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I’ve produced thousands of hours of hours of
description for broadcast television (including
“Sesame Street”. ...
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“I am a blind parent of a sighted child.
“We watch Sesame Street almost everyday … The
descriptive component g...
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AD on DVDs and in Movie Theaters
That’s the broadcast story -- there's still much to be done in other
formats: the perc...
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In the States, AD is also still available on videotape
by special order and, more recently, in movie theaters
...
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AD in the Performing Arts and
Museums
Back in the “live” arts area,
about thirty States in the U.S.
have AD in...
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48AD users—Seattle-based Denise and Berl Colley.
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“Blind” Karaoke—a new use for AD!
Denise Colley Superstar!!
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Often, before the show and/or at
intermission, a taped or "live" version
of the program notes plays through
th...
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PROGRAM NOTESPROGRAM NOTES
- music / volume adjustment- music / volume adjustment
- opening statement- opening...
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IntermissionIntermission
-- openingopening
-- description of description of 
sets/costumessets/costumes
-- fur...
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Museums can use Audio
Description techniques to
translate the visual to a
sense form that is
accessible.
Using...
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In this way, docent led tours are more appropriate for the‑
low vision visitor and docents find that their regula...
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Some museum administrators are interested in
having a recorded tour, specifically geared to
people with low vi...
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--FM / infra-red transmission devicesFM / infra-red transmission devices
-audio cassette-audio cassette
-CD-CD...
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A TRUE STORY
Speaking of museums -- I have a true story for you:
a blind fellow visiting a museum with some fr...
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That gentleman’s inability to see shouldn’t deny
him access to our culture. It the responsibility of
our arts ...
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But reasons remain -- and those who control cultural venues may not
loosen their grip on excuses for non-actio...
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Part of that has to do with, you should excuse the
expression, VISIBILITY. Visibility of folks who desire the
...
11/22/09
This ends Session One of
Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal
Please post any thoughts or questions on the
M...
11/22/09
Session Two
of
Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal
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Who are "the blind"?
They are not "the blind." They are individuals --
housewives, scientists, artists, busine...
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The following images illustrate how a person’s
vision is affected by several vision-related
conditions --
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MyopiaMyopia
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HyperopiaHyperopia
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Macular DegenerationMacular Degeneration
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GlaucomaGlaucoma
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StrabismusStrabismus
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AstigmatismAstigmatism
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CataractCataract
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Retinal DetachmentRetinal Detachment
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Folks who have low vision or no vision and who
generally use other senses/capabilities to perceive
the world. ...
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STEVIE AND TIGER
Stevie Wonder and Tiger Woods are in a bar. Woods turns to
Wonder and says: "How is the singi...
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The Blind Pilot
I was flying from San Francisco to Los Angeles. By the time we took off, there had been a 45
-...
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Now let’s allow a very young Russell
Crowe and Hugo Weaving provide a
chuckle or two courtesy of the savvy
bli...
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The person that confronted the gentleman in the
museum is the individual with the “disability.” I call it
“att...
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Can sight be a liability?
The fourth tale, "To See and
Not See," is about partially
restored sight and how it ...
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Still, many people have never met a person
who is blind. He/she is
A PERSON first—with low or no vision and a
...
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Finally, it’s so important to remember that there's only a thin line
between "ability" and "disability" – let’...
11/22/09
This ends Session Two of
Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal
Please go to the websites noted below
and post...
11/22/09
Session Three
of
Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal
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Speaking of “supermen” …
In providing AD, we establish a foundation of respect
for all individuals, and their ...
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Four Fundamentals of AudioFour Fundamentals of Audio
DescriptionDescription
OBSERVATION – “You can see a lot ...
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I recall being simply amazed when I first
encountered Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's brilliant
detective, Sherlock H...
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Helen KellerHelen Keller understood the power of observation:understood the power of observation:
““Those who ...
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Describers must see what others do
not—this is the skill that Sherlock
Holmes honed. Holmes, of course,
was th...
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As describers, we must:As describers, we must:
““Seize what we see.”Seize what we see.”
John RuskinJohn Ruskin...
11/22/09
Look at the next three images—
What do you see?
Please your answers on
the Message Board.
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Next -- EDITINGNext -- EDITING
Four Fundamentals of AudioFour Fundamentals of Audio
DescriptionDescription
O...
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2) EDITING Next, describers must edit or cull from
what they see, selecting what is most valid, what is
most ...
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This concept is captured in aThis concept is captured in a
quotation by a former Associatequotation by a form...
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We see far more than we could possibly describe in words,
particularly when we are limited by time constraint...
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In addition, editing choices are made
based on an understanding of
blindness and low vision:
‑ going from the...
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What is most
critical to an
Understanding
and an
Appreciation
of the image
on the right?
Post your thoughts
o...
This ends Session Three of
Audio Description: The Visual Made
Verbal
Please go to the websites noted below
and post any th...
11/22/09
Session Four
of
Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal
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Four Fundamentals of AudioFour Fundamentals of Audio
DescriptionDescription
OBSERVATION – “You can see a lot...
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3) LANGUAGE
We transfer it all to words--objective, vivid, specific,
imaginatively drawn words, phrases, and
...
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112
But good describers also strive for simplicity,
succinctness ‑ "less is more."
““I have only made this letter...
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It's critical to maintain a degree of objectivity—
describers sum it up with the acronym –
W. Y. S. I. W. Y. ...
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““WHAT YOU SEE ISWHAT YOU SEE IS
WHAT YOU SAY”WHAT YOU SAY”
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The best audio describers objectively recount the
visual aspects of an image.
Qualitative judgments get in th...
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So you don't say
"He is furious" or "She is upset.“
Rather,
"He's clenching his fist" or "She is crying.“
Let...
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Always remember—Always remember—
“We don’t see things as they“We don’t see things as they
are, we see them as...
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Or put another way—Or put another way—
“What we see depends on“What we see depends on
the history of our live...
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Because the image is created in the minds of our
constituents, avoid labeling with overly subjective
interpre...
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““Seeing is forgetting theSeeing is forgetting the
name of what one sees.”name of what one sees.”
Paul Valery...
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Is the Washington
Monument 555 feet tall or
is it as high as fifty
elephants stacked one on
top of the other?...
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We try to convey our descriptions with a kind of
“inner vision” that results in a linguistically vivid
evocat...
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““Vision is the art of seeingVision is the art of seeing
things invisible.”things invisible.”
Jonathan SwiftJ...
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““You cannot depend on yourYou cannot depend on your
eyeseyes
when your imaginationwhen your imagination
is o...
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Which suggests a question:
Does vision
depend on
sight?
11/22/09
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Post your
thoughts on
the Message
Board.
Audio Description — by the blind, for those who cannot see [Anonymou...
11/22/09
127Post your thoughts on the Message Board.
Check out the following article from BBC News,
March 19, 2001:
“Imagi...
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Four Fundamentals of AudioFour Fundamentals of Audio
DescriptionDescription
OBSERVATION – “You can see a lot...
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4) VOCAL SKILLS
Finally, in addition to building a verbal capability,
the describer develops the vocal instru...
11/22/09
130
Say the phrase on the next slide aloud …
If you agree with its sentiments, I suspect that
you few female frie...
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131
WOMAN WITHOUTWOMAN WITHOUT
HER MAN ISHER MAN IS
A SAVAGEA SAVAGE
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GOT IT?
The wonders of punctuation—it allows us
to make visible what I hope you were able
to accomplish with ...
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133
WOMAN:WOMAN:
WITHOUT HER,WITHOUT HER,
MAN IS AMAN IS A
SAVAGE.SAVAGE.
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Let’s try one more—
Now all I want you to do is speak aloud the
phrase on the following slide and have it …
M...
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THAT THAT ISTHAT THAT IS
IS THAT THAT ISIS THAT THAT IS
NOT IS NOTNOT IS NOT
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I’ll not have torture your tongues
(and your brains)
a moment longer:
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THAT THAT IS, IS;THAT THAT IS, IS;
THAT THAT IS NOT,THAT THAT IS NOT,
IS NOT.IS NOT.
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SUMMARY
Effective describers must learn to—
1) "re-see" the world around us to truly‑‑
notice what it is perc...
This ends Session Four of
Audio Description: The Visual Made
Verbal
Please go to the websites noted below
and post any tho...
11/22/09
Session Five
of
Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal
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141
Let’s try it—
Take five minutes to study each of the three following
Images (15 minutes total). Note—
- all t...
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SLIDE #1
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SLIDE #2
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SLIDE #3
The following slides reveal the descriptions
that I crafted of these photos by Billy Howard of Atlanta.
My work was for a ...
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146
SLIDE #1
Kate Gainer
Disability Affairs Coordinator, City of Atlanta
Photo of a black woman, mouth open in a ...
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147
Kate Gainer was one of 18 students to attend
Atlanta’s first special education class for black
children. It w...
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SLIDE #2
Al Mead
Paralympic Medalist, Track and Field
Photo of a black man, in profile, facing left, he
stret...
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149
As a youngster, Al Mead lost his left leg above the knee
due to circulatory problems. Meda has grown into the...
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SLIDE #3
Lauren McDevitt
Paralympic Medalist, Equestrian
Backlit, and in wispy silhouette, a photo of a white...
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Lauren McDevitt was ten when she experienced a
muscle cramp in her thigh. She went to the school
nurse to lay...
11/22/09
152
The following three images come from my home town
—Washington, DC.
In the last year of the Clinton administra...
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The East RoomThe East Room
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The Oval OfficeThe Oval Office
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Dolley MadisonDolley Madison
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The next four slides are visual “jokes”. But if you
can’t see, you won’t find them very funny.
Your job is to...
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““What’s up?”What’s up?”
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““Flash!”Flash!”
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““My!”My!”
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Not too long ago, I developed an audio described
tour for Washington, DC’s International Spy
Museum.
Let’s ob...
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How did you do?
The next few slides provide the transcript
for the actual descriptions provided at the
International Spy M...
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Bug Desk
Now, to the right, is a desk about three feet wide and
two feet deep. A text panel warns us to “Shh!...
11/22/09
166
Just above and behind the phone, within a bookshelf, is
a framed picture of former Secretary of State Madelin...
11/22/09
167
Mata Hari
At the end of the hallway is a life-size black-and-white
photo portrait of Mata Hari. Her dark-hair...
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Graphic Images—read this slide and the next!
But maybe we’ve tackled too much—these are complex images
Let’s ...
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169
But before we let the games begin, considerBut before we let the games begin, consider
(and take to heart!) W...
11/22/09
170
Come Blow Your Horn
As a screening mechanism designed to cull applicants
for positions as a full-time media d...
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“A robed figure on a beige building holds a
trumpet under a lightning streaked sky.”
“Looking upward, a sculp...
This ends Session Five of
Audio Description: The Visual Made
Verbal
Please go to the websites noted below
and post any tho...
11/22/09
Session Six
of
Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal
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175
Video Excerpts for Audio Description analysis / practica--
Please study the excerpt noted below from “The Emp...
This ends Session Six of
Audio Description: The Visual Made
Verbal
Please go to the websites noted below
and post any thou...
11/22/09
Session Seven
of
Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal
11/22/09
178
Video Excerpts for Audio Description analysis / practica--
Please study the excerpt noted below from “Mystery...
This ends Session Seven of
Audio Description: The Visual Made
Verbal
Please go to the websites noted below
and post any th...
11/22/09
Session Eight
of
Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal
11/22/09
181
Video Excerpts for Audio Description analysis / practica--
Please study the excerpt noted below from “Wings”....
This ends Session Eight of
Audio Description: The Visual Made
Verbal
Please go to the websites noted below
and post any th...
11/22/09
Session Nine
of
Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal
11/22/09
184
Video Excerpts for Audio Description analysis / practica--
Please study the excerpt noted below from “Ned's
D...
This ends Session Nine of
Audio Description: The Visual Made
Verbal
Please go to the websites noted below
and post any tho...
11/22/09
Session Ten
of
Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal
11/22/09
187
Video Excerpts for Audio Description analysis / practica--
Please study the excerpt noted below from “Pretty ...
This ends Session Ten of
Audio Description: The Visual Made
Verbal
Please go to the websites noted below
and post any thou...
11/22/09
Session Eleven
of
Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal
11/22/09
190
Video Excerpts for Audio Description analysis / practica--
Please study the excerpt noted below from “The Mir...
This ends Session Eleven of
Audio Description: The Visual Made
Verbal
Please go to the websites noted below
and post any t...
11/22/09
Session Twelve
of
Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal
11/25/09
193
Session Twelve / Final Exam
The final exam involves the development of and the written
and recorded delivery ...
11/25/09
194
Session Twelve / Final Exam
As always, time your AD lines so that, generally, when
spoken aloud the lines sta...
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Ad training fractured u.-newest-12-13

  1. 1. 11/22/09 1 COURSE OVERVIEW AUDIO DESCRIPTION: THE VISUAL MADE VERBAL Arts Access For People Who Are Blind Instructor: Joel Snyder, President, Audio Description Associates Director, Audio Description Project, American Council of the Blind Telephone: 301 920-0218 or cell-301 452-1898 E-mail: jsnyder@audiodescribe.com
  2. 2. 11/22/09 2 Course Description Audio Description (AD) makes the visual images of theater, media and visual art accessible for people who are blind or have low vision—the visual is made verbal. Using words that are succinct, vivid, and imaginative, describers convey the visual image that is not fully accessible to a segment of the population and not fully realized by the rest of us—people who see but who may not observe.
  3. 3. 11/22/09 3 In pauses between pieces of dialogue or critical sound elements, describers insert narrative that translates the visual image into a sense form that is accessible to millions of individuals who otherwise would lack full access to the arts.
  4. 4. 11/22/09 4 In training describers, focus is on four fundamentals: OBSERVATION We learn to see the world anew. In his book, "Seen/Unseen: A Guide to Active Seeing,“ the photographer, John Schaefer, coins the phrase "visual literacy." Schaefer refers to the need to “increase your level of awareness and become an active ‘see er’." The best describers will truly notice all the visual elements that make up an event. What do you see in this image?
  5. 5. 11/22/09 5 2) EDITING Audio describers must then edit or cull from what they see, selecting what is most valid, what is most important, what is most critical to an understanding and appreciation of an event. Often, only a few precious seconds are available to convey those images.
  6. 6. 11/22/09 6 3) LANGUAGE We transfer it all to words—objective, vivid, imaginatively drawn words, phrases, and metaphors. For instance, how many different words can you use to describe someone moving along a sidewalk? Why say "walk" why you can more vividly describe the action with “sashay,” “stroll,” “skip,” “stumble,” or “saunter”?
  7. 7. 11/22/09 4) VOCAL SKILLS Finally, in addition to building a verbal capability, the describer (or whoever will voice the descriptions) develops the vocal instrument through work with speech and oral interpretation fundamentals. Try the next thirteen tongue twisters just for fun. “Speak the speech trippingly” as Hamlet says— after you read each one aloud, click on the audio file attachment to hear me give it a try.
  8. 8. 8 “Make mother mad!,” cried mischievous Marvin, munching a marble. Maybe Marvin meant much more as he moved motionlessly.
  9. 9. 01/29/15 9 666 seasick sailors slinked over the steel sides.
  10. 10. 01/29/15 10 A big black bug bit a big black bear and the big black bear bled black blood.
  11. 11. 01/29/15 11 Rubber baby buggy bumpers.
  12. 12. 12 National Shropshire Sheep Association.
  13. 13. 13 “Are you copper-bottoming them, my man?” “No, I’m aluminuming ‘em, mum.”
  14. 14. 14 Dr. Pepper’s pink pills for poor, pitiful, pepless people.
  15. 15. 15 Amidst the mists and coldest frosts, With stoutest wrists and loudest boasts, He thrusts his fists against the posts, And still insists he sees the ghosts.
  16. 16. 16 If a Hottentot tot taught a Hottentot tot To talk ere the tot could totter, Ought the Hottentot tot be taught to say ought? Or, what ought to be taught her?
  17. 17. 17 If to hoot and toot a Hottentot tot Be taught by a Hottentot tutor, Should the tutor get hot if the Hottentot tot Hoot and toot at the Hottentot tutor?
  18. 18. 18 Katy Krocker cooked a cup of proper coffee in a proper copper coffee cup.
  19. 19. 19 Caesar sighed and seized the scissors.
  20. 20. 20 Whether the weather be cold, whether the weather be hot, We’ll be together whatever the weather, whether we like it or not.
  21. 21. 11/22/09 21 Course Goals: By the end of this course students can expect to know/experience: -- who are "the blind"? -- the history of Audio Description -- Active Seeing / Visual Literacy -- the art of "editing" what you see -- using language to conjure images -- using Audio Description in live theater productions, in video/film, with visual art exhibits, and on the web
  22. 22. 11/22/09 22 Sessions 1 and 2– Introduction; Who are "the blind"?; The history of Audio Description. For private study and discussion on Message Board (click on / visit the following sites):
  23. 23. 11/22/09 23 Sessions 3 and 4– Active Seeing / Visual Literacy; The art of "editing" what you see; Using language to conjure images; Vocal skillls; Using Audio Description in: -live theater productions; -in video/film; -with visual art exhibits. For private study and discussion on Message Board (click on / visit the following site):
  24. 24. 11/22/09 24 Sessions 5 and 6– Audio description practica For private study and discussion on Message Board (click on / visit the following site):
  25. 25. 11/22/09 25 Sessions 7 and 8 – Audio description practica For private study and discussion on Message Board (click on / visit the following site):
  26. 26. 11/22/09 26 Sessions 9 and 10 – Audio description practica For private study and discussion on Message Board (click on / visit the following site):
  27. 27. 11/22/09 27 Sessions 11 and 12 – Audio description practica; Presentation of final exams. For private study and discussion on Message Board (click on / visit the following site):
  28. 28. 11/22/09 28 Final Exam The final exam will involve the development of and the live or recorded delivery of an audio description script for a half-hour video of his/her choosing (subject to prior review and approval by the instructor).
  29. 29. 11/22/09 29 * FRACTURED UNIVERSITY ** FRACTURED UNIVERSITY * presentspresents ““AUDIO DESCRIPTION:AUDIO DESCRIPTION: The Visual Made Verbal—The Visual Made Verbal— Arts AccessArts Access for People who are Blind”for People who are Blind” with Joel Snyderwith Joel Snyder President, Audio Description AssociatesPresident, Audio Description Associates Director, Audio Description Project,Director, Audio Description Project, American Council of the BlindAmerican Council of the Blind
  30. 30. 11/22/09 Session One of Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal
  31. 31. 11/22/09 What better way to begin our work together than with description of two visual images: “The Fan” by John McPherson Read the following or access my audio reading of this description (next page) and then take a look at the image on the next slide. On a stage – at left, a woman in a flowing gown, her hands clasped in front of her, stands before a kneeling man in a doublet and feathered cap. He croons, “Why dost thy heart turn away from mine?” At right, a man at a microphone speaks: “Basically, the guy with the goofy hat is ticked because this babe has been runnin’ around with the dude in the black tights.” The caption reads: “Many opera companies now provide interpreters for the culturally impaired.”
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  33. 33. 11/22/09 “Red and Rover” by Brian Basset Read the following or access my audio reading of this description (next page) and then take a look at the image on the next slide. In the first panel, Red, a red-haired eight-year-old boy, is outdoors, lying on the ground against a tree, facing away from us and his right arm is around Rover, a white, short- haired dog, a lab-beagle mix. A leaf falls – Red announces, “Brown.” In the next panel, as Rover’s tail taps, Red notes, “Orange, Red, Yellow.” In the following panel: “Red, Orange, Yellow, Yellow.” Next, Red turns toward us, eyes wide, and tells us: “Dogs only see in black and white.” The final panel depicts a more full view of the tree, leaves scattered about the pair as Red continues: “Yellow, Orange, Brown, Red, Orange …”
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  35. 35. 11/22/09 35 What is Audio Description? Audio Description is a kind of literary art form. It's a type of poetry--a haiku. It provides a verbal version of the visual the‑‑ visual is made verbal, and aural (he points to his ear), and oral (he points to his mouth). Using words that are succinct, vivid, and imaginative, we convey the visual image that is not fully accessible to a segment of the population and not fully realized by the rest of us-- the rest of us, sighted folks who see but who may not observe.
  36. 36. 11/22/09 36 It’s useful for anyone who wants to truly notice and appreciate a more full perspective on any visual event but it is especially helpful as an access tool for people who are blind or have low vision. You’ll find AD these days at arts events but also at weddings, parades, rodeos, circuses, sports events, even funerals!
  37. 37. 11/22/09 37 A Brief History of Audio Description Audio Description or AD was first developed in the U.S. It was the subject of a Masters' Thesis in San Francisco, California in the 1970's by the late Gregory Frazier. Mr. Frazier was the first to work out the concepts behind the act and the art of AD. In 1980, a theater in Washington, DC, Arena Stage, assembled a group of people to provide advice on accessibility issues. Among the committee members was Dr. Margaret Pfanstiehl (then Dr. Margaret Rockwell). Dr. Pfanstiehl founded The Metropolitan Washington Ear, a closed-circuit radio reading service for people who are blind or for those who don’t otherwise have access to print.
  38. 38. 11/22/09 From there the Washington Ear's AD program was developed. I was already a volunteer reader at The Ear, and a professional voice talent/actor and English teacher and I became one of the first audio describers in The Ear’s program, the world’s first ongoing audio description service. Joel Snyder uses an FM steno mask microphone and transmitter to describe a glass-blowing show for Marlaina Lieberg who uses an earpiece and an FM receiver.
  39. 39. 11/22/09 39 Audio Description and Literacy Not too long ago I conducted a workshop in New Haven with day care workers and reading teachers on what I think represents a new application for audio description-- literacy. We experimented with developing more descriptive language to use when working with kids and picture books. These books rely on pictures to tell the story. But the teacher trained in audio description techniques would never simply hold up a picture of a red ball and read the text: "See the ball." He or she might add: "The ball is red--just like a fire engine. I think that ball is as large as one of you! It's as round as the sun--a bright red circle or sphere."
  40. 40. 11/22/09 40 The teacher has introduced new vocabulary, invited comparisons, and used metaphor or simile -- with toddlers! By using audio description, you make these books accessible to children who have low vision or are blind *and* help develop more sophisticated language skills for all kids. A picture is worth 1000 words? Maybe. But the audio describer might say that a few well-chosen words can conjure vivid and lasting images.
  41. 41. 11/22/09 41 Let me help you see what description is all about by asking you, figuratively, to close your eyes !! Excerpt from “The Color of Paradise,” played THREE TIMES - first, without description -- no video - second, with description -- no video - third, with description and video GO TO THE MESSAGE BOARD AFTER THIS EXERCISE TO REGISTER YOUR THOUGHTS AND OBSERVATIONS Refer to annotated script following third time
  42. 42. 11/22/09 42 “AD on TV” In the United States, in areas where a television station is equipped to participate, AD lets all television viewers hear what they cannot see. Up until June 12, 2009, it’s accessible via a special audio channel available on stereo televisions. Viewers select the SAP (secondary audio program) channel in order to hear the regular program audio accompanied by the descriptions, precisely timed to occur only during the lapses between dialogue and significant sound elements. Go to SHREK III:
  43. 43. 11/22/09 43 I’ve produced thousands of hours of hours of description for broadcast television (including “Sesame Street”. Sighted viewers appreciate the descriptions as well. It's television for blind, low vision and sighted people who want to be in the kitchen washing dishes while the show is on! But the Digital Age is fast upon us and other countries may have an edge on the U.S. in mandating the use of this new technology to provide greater accessibility to people who are blind. Once digital television is in place, it will be far easier to transmit a secondary signal like that that is employed for audio description.
  44. 44. 11/22/09 44 “I am a blind parent of a sighted child. “We watch Sesame Street almost everyday … The descriptive component gives me an opportunity to discuss with my child the silent action that is occurring on the screen. I always enjoyed Sesame Street as a child myself, but I really find the production even more fun now that I can participate fully in the programming given the audio description service. “My daughter and I can watch Sesame Street and I am never left wondering about the action of the characters. We can both laugh along together when Big Bird is searching for Ernie and Big Bird keeps bumping into a hay stack. With the description, I can view the show with the same information that the sighted world is receiving.” - Karla Hudson
  45. 45. 45 AD on DVDs and in Movie Theaters That’s the broadcast story -- there's still much to be done in other formats: the percentage of all video and film that incorporates description is still miniscule. DVDs are an ideal format for description because the audio track can be turned on or off as desired and an audio menu can be programmed. Given that fact, it’s unfortunate that there are still so few DVDs produced with description in the United States – we’re working on that.
  46. 46. 11/22/09 46 In the States, AD is also still available on videotape by special order and, more recently, in movie theaters for first-run movie screenings. For more information on description and movie theaters, visit:
  47. 47. 11/22/09 47 AD in the Performing Arts and Museums Back in the “live” arts area, about thirty States in the U.S. have AD in live theater and in museums via audio tours or trained docents. In a live theater setting, at designated performances (depending on the availability of the service and how it is administered), people desiring audio description are provided headsets/earplugs attached to small receivers, about the size of a small pocket calculator. That’s me—describing a live show!
  48. 48. 11/22/09 48AD users—Seattle-based Denise and Berl Colley.
  49. 49. 11/22/09 49 “Blind” Karaoke—a new use for AD! Denise Colley Superstar!!
  50. 50. 11/22/09 50 Often, before the show and/or at intermission, a taped or "live" version of the program notes plays through the headsets, after which a trained describer narrates the performance from another part of the theater via an FM radio or infrared transmitter. The narrator guides the audience through the production with concise, objective descriptions of new scenes, settings, costumes, and body language, all slipped in between portions of dialogue or songs.
  51. 51. 11/22/09 51 PROGRAM NOTESPROGRAM NOTES - music / volume adjustment- music / volume adjustment - opening statement- opening statement - basics: title, author(s),- basics: title, author(s), lead characters, producer,lead characters, producer, director/choreographer,director/choreographer, set/costume designersset/costume designers - background: play/playwright- background: play/playwright - list of scenes- list of scenes - cast- cast - credits- credits - description of sets/costumes- description of sets/costumes - concluding statement- concluding statement
  52. 52. 11/22/09 52 IntermissionIntermission -- openingopening -- description of description of  sets/costumessets/costumes -- further backgroundfurther background -- concluding statementconcluding statement         View “Theatre Without Limits” DVD
  53. 53. 11/22/09 53 Museums can use Audio Description techniques to translate the visual to a sense form that is accessible. Using these techniques for the description of static images and exhibitions, museum docents find that they develop better use of language and more expressive, vivid, and imaginative museum tours, greatly appreciated by all visitors. How would you describe this image? What are the gloves made of?
  54. 54. 11/22/09 In this way, docent led tours are more appropriate for the‑ low vision visitor and docents find that their regular tours are‑ enhanced. A lively and vivid descriptive process enables docents to make the museum experience more accessible and more meaningful for everyone. A young visitor/AD user at the National Aquarium in Baltimore listening to the AD tour I wrote and voiced for the Aquarium.
  55. 55. 11/22/09 55 Some museum administrators are interested in having a recorded tour, specifically geared to people with low vision. Combined with directional information, these recorded tours on audiocassettes enable visitors who are blind to use a simple hand-held audio player to tour at least a portion of the museum independently and with new access to the visual elements of exhibitions. Other curators are interested in having certain videos within an exhibit or a special film described.
  56. 56. 11/22/09 56 --FM / infra-red transmission devicesFM / infra-red transmission devices -audio cassette-audio cassette -CD-CD -digital wand-digital wand -area trigger—description begins as a-area trigger—description begins as a visitor enters a display areavisitor enters a display area AUDIO TOURAUDIO TOUR DELIVERY MECHANISMSDELIVERY MECHANISMS FOR MUSEUMSFOR MUSEUMS
  57. 57. 11/22/09 57 A TRUE STORY Speaking of museums -- I have a true story for you: a blind fellow visiting a museum with some friends was once asked, “Excuse me, but what you doing in a museum? You can’t see any of the exhibits.” ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! ! His response? “I’m here for the same reason anyone goes to a museum. I want to learn, I want to know and be a part of our culture.”
  58. 58. 11/22/09 58 That gentleman’s inability to see shouldn’t deny him access to our culture. It the responsibility of our arts institutions to be as inclusive as possible. It’s all about access to our culture and that is everyone’s right. There is no reason why a person with a particular disability must also be culturally disadvantaged.
  59. 59. 11/22/09 59 But reasons remain -- and those who control cultural venues may not loosen their grip on excuses for non-action until folks demand the access that is their right -- to paraphrase Star Trek, demand the opportunity to go where everyone else has already gone.
  60. 60. 11/22/09 60 Part of that has to do with, you should excuse the expression, VISIBILITY. Visibility of folks who desire the service making their wishes known, and visibility of the service itself — that’s why it may be that when description is more prevalent in the media, other art forms and venues will follow suit. Ultimately, in this tremendously prosperous nation, with all of its bountiful resources, there shouldn’t be a state in this nation or a television network or a cable channel or a movie theater that doesn’t offer full access. For additional information on AD and museums, VISIT:
  61. 61. 11/22/09 This ends Session One of Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal Please post any thoughts or questions on the Message Board and proceed to Lesson Two.
  62. 62. 11/22/09 Session Two of Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal
  63. 63. 11/22/09 63 Who are "the blind"? They are not "the blind." They are individuals -- housewives, scientists, artists, business people ... maybe you or me, sometime. That must be emphasized: our individuality, the individuality of folks dealing with some kind of sight loss. And most blind people are not blind -- most at one point had all or some of their sight and now they may have low vision, impaired vision, residual vision, partial vision . Some see shapes and only shapes -- shadows, blurs, blobs -- or have "tunnel vision."
  64. 64. 11/22/09 64 The following images illustrate how a person’s vision is affected by several vision-related conditions --
  65. 65. 11/22/09 65 MyopiaMyopia
  66. 66. 11/22/09 66 HyperopiaHyperopia
  67. 67. 11/22/09 67 Macular DegenerationMacular Degeneration
  68. 68. 11/22/09 68 GlaucomaGlaucoma
  69. 69. 11/22/09 69 StrabismusStrabismus
  70. 70. 11/22/09 70 AstigmatismAstigmatism
  71. 71. 11/22/09 71 CataractCataract
  72. 72. 11/22/09 72 Retinal DetachmentRetinal Detachment
  73. 73. 11/22/09 73 Folks who have low vision or no vision and who generally use other senses/capabilities to perceive the world. And they are people with a wide range of ABILITIES – blind skiers, blind photographers, blind visual artists, blind bowlers, blind restauranteurs, And blindness need not rob anyone of his or her sense of humor! Have you heard the one about Stevie Wonder challenging Tiger Woods to a golf game? Or the story of the blind airline pilot? Both told to me by blind friends …
  74. 74. 11/22/09 74 STEVIE AND TIGER Stevie Wonder and Tiger Woods are in a bar. Woods turns to Wonder and says: "How is the singing career going?" Stevie Wonder replies: "Not too bad! How's the golf?" Woods replies: "Not too bad, I've had some problems with my swing, but I think I've got that right now." Stevie Wonder says: "I always find that when my swing goes wrong, I need to stop playing for a while and not think about it. Then, the next time I play, it seems to be all right.” Tiger Woods says: "You play golf?" Stevie Wonder says: "Oh, yes, I've been playing for years." “I get my caddy to stand in the middle of the fairway and call to me. I listen for the sound of his voice and play the ball towards him. Then, when I get to where the ball lands, the caddy moves to the green or farther down the fairway and again I play the ball towards his voice.” Woods, incredulous, says to Stevie: "We've got to play a round sometime. When would you like to play?" Stevie says, “Pick a night.”
  75. 75. 11/22/09 75 The Blind Pilot I was flying from San Francisco to Los Angeles. By the time we took off, there had been a 45 -minute delay and everybody on board was ticked. Unexpectedly, we stopped in Sacramento on the way. The flight attendant explained that there would be another 45 -minute delay, and if we wanted to get off the aircraft, we would reboard in 30 minutes. Everybody got off the plane except one gentleman who was blind. I noticed him as I walked by and could tell he had flown before because his Seeing Eye dog lay quietly underneath the seats in front of him throughout the entire flight. I could also tell he had flown this very flight before because the pilot approached him and, calling him by name, said, "Keith, Keith replied, "No thanks, but maybe my dog would like to stretch his legs." Picture this: All the people in the gate area came to a complete standstill when they looked up and saw the pilot walk off the plane with the Seeing Eye dog! The pilot was even wearing sunglasses. we're in Sacramento for almost an hour. Would you like to get off and stretch your legs?”
  76. 76. 11/22/09 76 Now let’s allow a very young Russell Crowe and Hugo Weaving provide a chuckle or two courtesy of the savvy blind character in the Australian film PROOF. Following this excerpt, share your thoughts on the MESSAGE BOARD.
  77. 77. 11/22/09 77 The person that confronted the gentleman in the museum is the individual with the “disability.” I call it “attitude impairment,” or “hardening of the attitudes” (attitudinal sclerosis). We all need to acknowledge that our attitudes—built up over time like plaque in the veins and aortas of our psyche—can cloud our perceptions when we encounter someone who perceives the world differently. Generally, a person who is accustomed to living with no or low vision views his/her situation as less about the loss of sight and more about perceiving the world in new ways--ways which are not dependent on images and vision.
  78. 78. 11/22/09 78 Can sight be a liability? The fourth tale, "To See and Not See," is about partially restored sight and how it was not a blessing. This sad story illustrates how sight is learned from infancy and is largely a constructive and interpretive function of the brain. This tale also lets us see how the world of the sightless can be rich and fulfilling beyond our imagination.
  79. 79. 11/22/09 79 Still, many people have never met a person who is blind. He/she is A PERSON first—with low or no vision and a wide range of abilities. Strive to “See the person not the disability.” And keep in mind a few things that may help:
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  88. 88. 11/22/09 88 Finally, it’s so important to remember that there's only a thin line between "ability" and "disability" – let’s rid ourselves of any semblance of “able-ism”, any sense of separateness between those who can see and those who cannot. “To be able" is a relative condition the great majority of Americans are only “Temporarily‑‑ Able Bodied" (TABs) anyway!‑ One moment Christopher Reeve was “able-bodied”—the next minute, he wasn’t. But he was still Christopher Reeve.
  89. 89. 11/22/09 This ends Session Two of Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal Please go to the websites noted below and post any thoughts or questions on the Message Board:
  90. 90. 11/22/09 Session Three of Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal
  91. 91. 11/22/09 91 Speaking of “supermen” … In providing AD, we establish a foundation of respect for all individuals, and their individuality, and learn to appreciate their abilities. That starts with our own skills and abilities. When we come to terms with, even embrace our own situations, find and nurture our abilities, we can accomplish things that seem amazing ... we are/we can be as supermen just by developing our own capacities. For describers, we start with our sense of sight and the first of four fundamentals of audio description— OBSERVATION
  92. 92. 11/22/09 92 Four Fundamentals of AudioFour Fundamentals of Audio DescriptionDescription OBSERVATION – “You can see a lot  just by lookin’.”  Yogi Berra EDITING – What is most critical to an  understanding and an appreciation of the visual  image? LANGUAGE – “less is more”         clarity  –  imagination  –  objectivity VOCAL SKILLS – speech – oral interpretation
  93. 93. 11/22/09 93 I recall being simply amazed when I first encountered Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's brilliant detective, Sherlock Holmes. Brilliant ... and incredibly observant. In developing AD in any context, I emphasize four elements – the first of which is all about the skill that Sherlock Holmes honed: 1) OBSERVATION The great philosopher Yogi Berra said it best: "You can see a lot just by looking." An effective describer must increase his level of awareness and become an active "see-er," develop his "visual literacy," notice the visual world with a heightened sense of acuity, and share those images.
  94. 94. 11/22/09 94 Helen KellerHelen Keller understood the power of observation:understood the power of observation: ““Those who have never sufferedThose who have never suffered impairment of sight or hearingimpairment of sight or hearing seldom make the fullest use ofseldom make the fullest use of these blessed faculties … theirthese blessed faculties … their eyes and ears take in all sightseyes and ears take in all sights and sounds hazily, withoutand sounds hazily, without concentration and with littleconcentration and with little appreciation.”appreciation.”
  95. 95. 11/22/09 95 Describers must see what others do not—this is the skill that Sherlock Holmes honed. Holmes, of course, was the creation of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle—Dr. Doyle. Doyle patterned his famous detective on his mentor in medical school, a Dr. Bell. Dr. Bell knew that careful observation would greatly facilitate accurate diagnoses. Watch these two excerpts from “The Origins of Sherlock Holmes”:
  96. 96. 11/22/09 96 As describers, we must:As describers, we must: ““Seize what we see.”Seize what we see.” John RuskinJohn Ruskin We must:We must: ““See with exactitude.”See with exactitude.” Johann Wolfgang von GoetheJohann Wolfgang von Goethe
  97. 97. 11/22/09 Look at the next three images— What do you see? Please your answers on the Message Board.
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  101. 101. 11/22/09 101 Next -- EDITINGNext -- EDITING Four Fundamentals of AudioFour Fundamentals of Audio DescriptionDescription OBSERVATION – “You can see a lot just by lookin’.” Yogi Berra EDITING – What is most critical to an understanding and an appreciation of the visual image? LANGUAGE – “less is more” clarity – imagination – objectivity VOCAL SKILLS – speech – oral interpretation
  102. 102. 11/22/09 102 2) EDITING Next, describers must edit or cull from what they see, selecting what is most valid, what is most important. Ask yourself: “What is most critical to an understanding (he points to his head) and appreciation (his hand is on his heart) of that visual image?”
  103. 103. 11/22/09 103 This concept is captured in aThis concept is captured in a quotation by a former Associatequotation by a former Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court:Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court: ““The great struggle of art isThe great struggle of art is to leave out all but theto leave out all but the essential.”essential.” Oliver Wendell HolmesOliver Wendell Holmes
  104. 104. 11/22/09 104 We see far more than we could possibly describe in words, particularly when we are limited by time constraints. At times, those strictures amount to literally a split second. Thus, describing becomes, in part, about deciding what not to describe. In any event—less is more. By limiting our focus, we’re able to emphasize essence— strip away all that is unnecessary or distracting. That notion seems to be conveyed in the following ad:
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  106. 106. 11/22/09 106 In addition, editing choices are made based on an understanding of blindness and low vision: ‑ going from the general to the specific; - use of color—YES, even people who are congenitally blind appreciate references to color; - inclusion of directional information.
  107. 107. 11/22/09 107 What is most critical to an Understanding and an Appreciation of the image on the right? Post your thoughts on the Message Board.
  108. 108. This ends Session Three of Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal Please go to the websites noted below and post any thoughts or questions on the Message Board:
  109. 109. 11/22/09 Session Four of Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal
  110. 110. 11/22/09 110 Four Fundamentals of AudioFour Fundamentals of Audio DescriptionDescription OBSERVATION – “You can see a lot just by lookin’.” Yogi Berra EDITING – What is most critical to an understanding and an appreciation of the visual image? LANGUAGE – “less is more” clarity – imagination – objectivity VOCAL SKILLS – speech – oral interpretation
  111. 111. 11/22/09 111 3) LANGUAGE We transfer it all to words--objective, vivid, specific, imaginatively drawn words, phrases, and metaphors. How many different words can you use to describe someone moving along a sidewalk? Why say "walk" when you can more vividly describe the action with "sashay," "stroll," "skip," "stumble," or "saunter"? Become a walking thesaurus!
  112. 112. 11/22/09 112 But good describers also strive for simplicity, succinctness ‑ "less is more." ““I have only made this letterI have only made this letter longer because I have notlonger because I have not had the timehad the time to make it shorter.”to make it shorter.” Blaise PascalBlaise Pascal
  113. 113. 11/22/09 113 It's critical to maintain a degree of objectivity— describers sum it up with the acronym – W. Y. S. I. W. Y. S.W. Y. S. I. W. Y. S.
  114. 114. 11/22/09 114 ““WHAT YOU SEE ISWHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU SAY”WHAT YOU SAY”
  115. 115. 11/22/09 115 The best audio describers objectively recount the visual aspects of an image. Qualitative judgments get in the way they‑‑ constitute a subjective interpretation on the part of the describer and are unnecessary and unwanted. Let listeners conjure their own interpretations based on a commentary that is as objective as possible.
  116. 116. 11/22/09 116 So you don't say "He is furious" or "She is upset.“ Rather, "He's clenching his fist" or "She is crying.“ Let the audience make their own judgments! Perhaps their eyes don't work so well, but their brains and interpretative skills are intact.
  117. 117. 11/22/09 117 Always remember—Always remember— “We don’t see things as they“We don’t see things as they are, we see them as we are.”are, we see them as we are.” Anais NinAnais Nin
  118. 118. 11/22/09 118 Or put another way—Or put another way— “What we see depends on“What we see depends on the history of our lives andthe history of our lives and where we stand.”where we stand.” Walter LippmanWalter Lippman
  119. 119. 11/22/09 119 Because the image is created in the minds of our constituents, avoid labeling with overly subjective interpretations and let our visitors conjure their own images and interpretations, as free as possible from the influence of coloring. As Nin and Lippman observed, there is no specific, objective thing. Indeed, “labeling” – “naming” is not describing. Labels lead us to pigeon-hole and we tend to then dismiss the thing we see. We do well to follow Paul Valery’s advice:
  120. 120. 11/22/09 120 ““Seeing is forgetting theSeeing is forgetting the name of what one sees.”name of what one sees.” Paul ValeryPaul Valery
  121. 121. 11/22/09 121 Is the Washington Monument 555 feet tall or is it as high as fifty elephants stacked one on top of the other? Post your thoughts and questions on the Message Board.
  122. 122. 11/22/09 122 We try to convey our descriptions with a kind of “inner vision” that results in a linguistically vivid evocation of the scene being viewed. In other words, there aren’t any elephants there — but you may evoke them in order to convey a particular image — (the height of the Washington Monument!). BECAUSE …
  123. 123. 11/22/09 123 ““Vision is the art of seeingVision is the art of seeing things invisible.”things invisible.” Jonathan SwiftJonathan Swift and …and …
  124. 124. 11/22/09 124 ““You cannot depend on yourYou cannot depend on your eyeseyes when your imaginationwhen your imagination is out of focus.”is out of focus.” Mark TwainMark Twain
  125. 125. 11/22/09 125 Which suggests a question: Does vision depend on sight?
  126. 126. 11/22/09 126 Post your thoughts on the Message Board. Audio Description — by the blind, for those who cannot see [Anonymous] Two men, both seriously ill, occupied the same hospital room. One man was allowed to sit up in his bed for an hour each afternoon to help drain the fluid from his lungs. His bed was next to the room’s only window. The other man had to spend all his time flat on his back. The men talked for hours on end. They spoke of their wives and families, their homes, their jobs, their involvement in the military service, where they had been on vacation. And every afternoon when the man in the bed by the window could sit up, he would pass the time by describing to his roommate all the things he could see outside the window. The man in the other bed began to live for those one-hour periods where his world would be broadened and enlivened by all the activity and color of the world outside. The window overlooked a park with a lovely lake. Ducks and swans played on the water while children sailed their model boats. Young lovers walked arm in arm amidst flowers of every color of the rainbow. Grand old trees graced the landscape, and a fine view of the city skyline could be seen in the distance. As the man by the window described all this in exquisite detail, the man on the other side of the room would close his eyes and imagine the picturesque scene. One warm afternoon the man by the window described a parade passing by. Although the other man couldn’t hear the band, he could see it in his mind’s eye as the gentleman by the window portrayed it with descriptive words. Days and weeks passed. One morning, the day nurse arrived to bring water for their baths only to find the lifeless body of the man by the window, who had died peacefully in his sleep. She was saddened and called the hospital attendants to take the body away. As soon as it seemed appropriate, the other man asked if he could be moved next to the window. The nurse was happy to make the switch, and after making sure he was comfortable, she left him alone. lowly, painfully, he propped himself up on one elbow to take his first look at the world outside. Finally, he would have the joy of seeing it for himself. He strained to slowly turn to look out the window beside the bed. It faced a blank wall. The man asked the nurse what could have compelled his deceased roommate who had described such wonderful things outside this window. The nurse responded that the man was blind and could not even see the wall. She said, “Perhaps he just wanted to encourage you.” [J.S. — The man who was blind had tremendous vision. It allowed him to describe with a clarity and vividness that we as audio describers can only hope to achieve.]
  127. 127. 11/22/09 127Post your thoughts on the Message Board. Check out the following article from BBC News, March 19, 2001: “Imaginary Art Show Opens” “A new art show called The Exhibition To Be Constructed In Your Head is relying on the power of the imagination to create its artworks. “ Go to the following URL for the rest of the story:
  128. 128. 11/22/09 128 Four Fundamentals of AudioFour Fundamentals of Audio DescriptionDescription OBSERVATION – “You can see a lot just by lookin’.” Yogi Berra EDITING – What is most critical to an understanding and an appreciation of the visual image? LANGUAGE – “less is more” clarity – imagination – objectivity VOCAL SKILLS – speech – oral interpretation
  129. 129. 11/22/09 129 4) VOCAL SKILLS Finally, in addition to building a verbal capability, the describer develops the vocal instrument through work with speech and oral interpretation fundamentals. We make meaning with our voices!
  130. 130. 11/22/09 130 Say the phrase on the next slide aloud … If you agree with its sentiments, I suspect that you few female friends. If you don’t, say the same words aloud—don’t change their order—and with your voice alone, change the meaning so you convey a sense that is quite the opposite of the “original.”
  131. 131. 11/22/09 131 WOMAN WITHOUTWOMAN WITHOUT HER MAN ISHER MAN IS A SAVAGEA SAVAGE
  132. 132. 11/22/09 132 GOT IT? The wonders of punctuation—it allows us to make visible what I hope you were able to accomplish with your voice alone. Here goes …
  133. 133. 11/22/09 133 WOMAN:WOMAN: WITHOUT HER,WITHOUT HER, MAN IS AMAN IS A SAVAGE.SAVAGE.
  134. 134. 11/22/09 134 Let’s try one more— Now all I want you to do is speak aloud the phrase on the following slide and have it … MAKE SENSE!
  135. 135. 11/22/09 135 THAT THAT ISTHAT THAT IS IS THAT THAT ISIS THAT THAT IS NOT IS NOTNOT IS NOT
  136. 136. 11/22/09 136 I’ll not have torture your tongues (and your brains) a moment longer:
  137. 137. 11/22/09 137 THAT THAT IS, IS;THAT THAT IS, IS; THAT THAT IS NOT,THAT THAT IS NOT, IS NOT.IS NOT.
  138. 138. 11/22/09 138 SUMMARY Effective describers must learn to— 1) "re-see" the world around us to truly‑‑ notice what it is perceived with the eyes (OBSERVATION); and then 2) express the pertinent aspects of those images (EDITING); 3) with precise and imaginative language (LANGUAGE); and 4) vocal techniques – that render the visual verbal!
  139. 139. This ends Session Four of Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal Please go to the websites noted below and post any thoughts or questions on the Message Board:
  140. 140. 11/22/09 Session Five of Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal
  141. 141. 11/22/09 141 Let’s try it— Take five minutes to study each of the three following Images (15 minutes total). Note— - all that there is to see, - consider what’s most critical to convey, and then - focus on the words you’d use to convey those images most clearly, succinctly, and imaginatively. Afterwards, record your thoughts in each area on the MESSAGE BOARD.
  142. 142. 11/22/09 142 SLIDE #1
  143. 143. 11/22/09 143 SLIDE #2
  144. 144. 11/22/09 144 SLIDE #3
  145. 145. The following slides reveal the descriptions that I crafted of these photos by Billy Howard of Atlanta. My work was for a celebration of the 10th Anniversary of the Passage of the Americans for Disabilities Act. I also had available to me the “back story” for each of the three individuals pictured. In that context, read the descriptions and other information on the following slides. How do my descriptions relate to your notes regarding - what you see, - what's most critical to describe (now, given some important context), and - the language used. Post your thoughts on the Message Board.
  146. 146. 11/22/09 146 SLIDE #1 Kate Gainer Disability Affairs Coordinator, City of Atlanta Photo of a black woman, mouth open in a broad smile, nose crinkles, as if to flirt with the camera. Her cheeks shine echoing lights suspended behind her; she twists toward us, seated in a power chair facing right — on its side, a round decal reads “ADAPT — We Will Ride.”
  147. 147. 11/22/09 147 Kate Gainer was one of 18 students to attend Atlanta’s first special education class for black children. It was an empowering experience for a black child growing up in a Southern segregated city. She says the most frustrating thing she went through as a teenager with cerebral palsy was that she couldn’t “strut” like the other girls could. “If I ever write my autobiography, I’m going to title it: ‘I was born colored and crippled but now I’m black and disabled’.”
  148. 148. 11/22/09 148 SLIDE #2 Al Mead Paralympic Medalist, Track and Field Photo of a black man, in profile, facing left, he stretches his body into the shape of an upper-case T — his left arm, sinewy, sculpted, extends left — dark skin against a white tank top; his right leg and arm point right while he balances on his left leg, a prosthetic nestled within a running shoe.
  149. 149. 11/22/09 149 As a youngster, Al Mead lost his left leg above the knee due to circulatory problems. Meda has grown into the quintessential Paralympic athlete -- he holds a U.S. high jump record at 1.73 meters. He set the world record for the long jump with a gold medal performance in the 1988 Paralympic Games in Seoul, Korea. “I grew up in a Christian home so when I was told that my leg would be amputated, it didn’t really affect me like you think it would, because I thought God would grow it back.”
  150. 150. 11/22/09 150 SLIDE #3 Lauren McDevitt Paralympic Medalist, Equestrian Backlit, and in wispy silhouette, a photo of a white girl in her teens in profile, facing right — only inches away, a horse (his head, the size of her torso) nuzzles her open hand in her lap as she rests in a wheelchair.
  151. 151. 11/22/09 151 Lauren McDevitt was ten when she experienced a muscle cramp in her thigh. She went to the school nurse to lay down. Within an hour, she lost all feeling and movement from her waist down. It has stayed that way. Now in her mid-twenties, she is working on a master’s degree in therapeutic recreation. She captured a bronze medal at the 1996 Paralympic Games in dressage, a test of ability of ride and horse to communicate and work together through a series of complex moves. “Riding a horse is something that gives me an immense freedom. In a [wheel]chair, you have a lot of barriers on the ground. But you get on a horse and none of those barriers are there. The horses are your legs for you. And they know that.”
  152. 152. 11/22/09 152 The following three images come from my home town —Washington, DC. In the last year of the Clinton administration, I began developing an audio described tour of the White House. Those plans were disbanded after 9/11—there is no longer a self-guided tour of the White House. But the Obama administration may find a way to have me pick up where I left off—and you can help! Write 100-word (give or take) descriptions of each of the next three images. Remember—start with the general and move to the specific; don’t forget our AD Fundamentals. Post your descriptions on the Message Board for discussion and feedback.
  153. 153. 11/22/09 153 The East RoomThe East Room
  154. 154. 11/22/09 154 The Oval OfficeThe Oval Office
  155. 155. 11/22/09 155 Dolley MadisonDolley Madison
  156. 156. 11/22/09 156 The next four slides are visual “jokes”. But if you can’t see, you won’t find them very funny. Your job is to make them funny for an audience who is depending on your words—and your delivery— to create the comic effect. How will you structure your phrases to accomplish that? In voicing your descriptions, how will you use certain inflections, volume, pitch to convey your meaning?! Write 100-word (give or take) descriptions of each of the next four images. Post your descriptions on the Message Board for discussion and feedback.
  157. 157. 11/22/09 157 ““What’s up?”What’s up?”
  158. 158. 11/22/09 158 ““Flash!”Flash!”
  159. 159. 11/22/09 159 ““My!”My!”
  160. 160. 11/22/09 160
  161. 161. 11/22/09 161 Not too long ago, I developed an audio described tour for Washington, DC’s International Spy Museum. Let’s observe two stations on that tour and take time to develop descriptions for them in the same format we’ve been using. Post them on the Message Board and we’ll review them.
  162. 162. 11/22/09 162
  163. 163. 11/22/09 163
  164. 164. How did you do? The next few slides provide the transcript for the actual descriptions provided at the International Spy Museum.
  165. 165. 11/22/09 165 Bug Desk Now, to the right, is a desk about three feet wide and two feet deep. A text panel warns us to “Shh! Someone’s listening! Spy agencies have developed scores of ingenious devices to eavesdrop on enemy conversations.” On the desk is a display of eavesdropping devices—tiny microphone-transmitter combinations may be concealed almost anywhere—hidden in a cigarette lighter and telephone mouthpiece. Each item is cutaway so you can feel the bugs. They are at the top of the desk: the lighter is at 11:00 and the phone at 1:00. (Continued …)
  166. 166. 11/22/09 166 Just above and behind the phone, within a bookshelf, is a framed picture of former Secretary of State Madeline Albright. Reach forward and examine the frame—notice anything out of the ordinary? On the shelf above the one with the picture frame is a row of books—with unusual binding. And to the left of these shelves, jutting out from the wall, is power outlet adaptor. How does it differ from one you might find in your own home? A skilled agent selects the right device to suit a particular place or to pick up certain sounds. With digital technology, modern bugs are more compact than ever, often as thin as a human hair!
  167. 167. 11/22/09 167 Mata Hari At the end of the hallway is a life-size black-and-white photo portrait of Mata Hari. Her dark-haired is topped with a bejeweled tiara and she is costumed exotically: fabric drapes her left shoulder and her right arm is raised with her hand at her tiara; her top is bare save for jewel-encrusted arm and wrist bands and brassiere. Her midriff is exposed and the lower portion of her body is swathed in additional folds of fabric. A placard tells us that she was a “Legend in Her Own Mind--Mata Hari embodied all the romance of espionage. This exotic dancer turned World War I spy supposedly seduced diplomats and military officers into giving up their secrets. But history shows that most of her exploits took place only in her imagination.”
  168. 168. 11/22/09 168 Graphic Images—read this slide and the next! But maybe we’ve tackled too much—these are complex images Let’s take a breath and focus on simple geometric shapes— a breeze! Please contact me at: jsnyder@audiodescribe.com (click the link below). I will email you an image. Please post your consise description on the Message Board (remember—don't name or label the image). With pen and paper (or, perhaps, a drawing program), each of you should try to reproduce the image based on the descriptions others have posted. Scan your images onto the Message Board—it'll be fun!
  169. 169. 11/22/09 169 But before we let the games begin, considerBut before we let the games begin, consider (and take to heart!) Williams Ivins’ words:(and take to heart!) Williams Ivins’ words: ““The moment anyone tries to seriouslyThe moment anyone tries to seriously describe an object carefully and accurately indescribe an object carefully and accurately in words his attempt takes the form of anwords his attempt takes the form of an interminably long and prolix rigamaroleinterminably long and prolix rigamarole that fewthat few persons have the patience or the intelligence,persons have the patience or the intelligence, to understand. A serious attempt to describeto understand. A serious attempt to describe even the most simple piece of machinery … aeven the most simple piece of machinery … a kitchen can opener … results in akitchen can opener … results in a morass ofmorass of wordswords, and yet the shape of that can opener is, and yet the shape of that can opener is simplicity itself compared to the shape of asimplicity itself compared to the shape of a human hand or face.”human hand or face.” -- William M. Ivins, “Prints & Visual Communication”William M. Ivins, “Prints & Visual Communication”
  170. 170. 11/22/09 170 Come Blow Your Horn As a screening mechanism designed to cull applicants for positions as a full-time media describer, I would have applicants view the next image and describe it in 25 words or less. You try it—post your description on the Message Board. After you've done so, take a look at the following slide-- a variety of the descriptions submitted by prospective describers over the years.
  171. 171. 11/22/09 171
  172. 172. 11/22/09 172 “A robed figure on a beige building holds a trumpet under a lightning streaked sky.” “Looking upward, a sculpted figure playing a long trumpet emerges against a lightning filled sky.” “Looking skyward, lightening [sic] illuminates stone building’s massive sculpted façade of person, flowing robes, blowing horn.” “An angelic statue, complete with robes and wings, plays a trumpet against a stormy sky.” “Lightening [sic] bolts streak across the sky. A prominent building features a statue blowing a horn.” “Pale stone building façade in relief, angel blowing trumpet, viwed from ground toward a stormy sky.” “Looking skyward up the wall; lightening-pierced [sic] night illuminates bas relief angel playing ancient trumpet.” “We are at the base of a gargoyle-carved building under a stormy sky.”
  173. 173. This ends Session Five of Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal Please go to the websites noted below and post any thoughts or questions on the Message Board:
  174. 174. 11/22/09 Session Six of Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal
  175. 175. 11/22/09 175 Video Excerpts for Audio Description analysis / practica-- Please study the excerpt noted below from “The Empire Strikes Back”. Prepare an AD script for the excerpt preceding-- - the verbal or sound cues for your AD lines with elippses: … and - your AD lines with “double carrots”: >> Remember: Time your AD lines so that, generally, when spoken aloud the lines stay within the pauses between elements of the original soundtrack (dialogue or critical sounds). Post your script on the Message Board. After you've written your script, feel free to view the same excerpt with the description written by me for national broadcast.
  176. 176. This ends Session Six of Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal Please go to the websites noted below and post any thoughts or questions on the Message Board:
  177. 177. 11/22/09 Session Seven of Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal
  178. 178. 11/22/09 178 Video Excerpts for Audio Description analysis / practica-- Please study the excerpt noted below from “Mystery”. Prepare an AD script for the excerpt preceding-- - the verbal or sound cues for your AD lines with elipses: … and - your AD lines with “double carrots”: >> Remember: Time your AD lines so that, generally, when spoken aloud the lines stay within the pauses between elements of the original soundtrack (dialogue or critical sounds). Post your script on the Message Board. After you've written your script, feel free to view the same excerpt with the description written by WGBH for national broadcast.
  179. 179. This ends Session Seven of Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal Please go to the websites noted below and post any thoughts or questions on the Message Board:
  180. 180. 11/22/09 Session Eight of Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal
  181. 181. 11/22/09 181 Video Excerpts for Audio Description analysis / practica-- Please study the excerpt noted below from “Wings”. Prepare an AD script for the excerpt preceding -- - the verbal or sound cues for your AD lines with elipses: … and - your AD lines with “double carrots”: >> Remember: Time your AD lines so that, generally, when spoken aloud the lines stay within the pauses between elements of the original soundtrack (dialogue or critical sounds). Post your script on the Message Board. After you've written your script, enjoy the description written by for the IMAX film “Blue Planet,” as presented at the National Air & Space Museum.
  182. 182. This ends Session Eight of Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal Please go to the websites noted below and post any thoughts or questions on the Message Board:
  183. 183. 11/22/09 Session Nine of Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal
  184. 184. 11/22/09 184 Video Excerpts for Audio Description analysis / practica-- Please study the excerpt noted below from “Ned's Declassified”. Prepare an AD script for the excerpt preceding -- - the verbal or sound cues for your AD lines with elipses: … and - your AD lines with “double carrots”: >> Remember: Time your AD lines so that, generally, when spoken aloud the lines stay within the pauses between elements of the original soundtrack (dialogue or critical sounds). Post your script on the Message Board. After you've written your script, view the description written for “Ned's” by me for national broadcast.
  185. 185. This ends Session Nine of Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal Please go to the websites noted below and post any thoughts or questions on the Message Board:
  186. 186. 11/22/09 Session Ten of Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal
  187. 187. 11/22/09 187 Video Excerpts for Audio Description analysis / practica-- Please study the excerpt noted below from “Pretty Woman”. Prepare an AD script for the excerpt preceding -- - the verbal or sound cues for your AD lines with elipses: … and - your AD lines with “double carrots”: >> Remember: Time your AD lines so that, generally, when spoken aloud the lines stay within the pauses between elements of the original soundtrack (dialogue or critical sounds). Post your script on the Message Board. After you've written your script, view the description written for “Pretty Woman” by WGBH and a British version by the RNIB!
  188. 188. This ends Session Ten of Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal Please go to the websites noted below and post any thoughts or questions on the Message Board:
  189. 189. 11/22/09 Session Eleven of Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal
  190. 190. 11/22/09 190 Video Excerpts for Audio Description analysis / practica-- Please study the excerpt noted below from “The Miracle Worker”. Prepare an AD script for the excerpt preceding -- - the verbal or sound cues for your AD lines with elipses: … and - your AD lines with “double carrots”: >> Remember: Time your AD lines so that, generally, when spoken aloud the lines stay within the pauses between elements of the original soundtrack (dialogue or critical sounds). Post your script on the Message Board. After you've written your script, view the description written for “The Miracle Worker” by yours truly for the newly released DVD.
  191. 191. This ends Session Eleven of Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal Please go to the websites noted below and post any thoughts or questions on the Message Board:
  192. 192. 11/22/09 Session Twelve of Audio Description: The Visual Made Verbal
  193. 193. 11/25/09 193 Session Twelve / Final Exam The final exam involves the development of and the written and recorded delivery of an audio description script for a half-hour video of your choosing (subject to prior review and approval by the instructor—just send me a note at: jsnyder@audiodescribe.com). Prepare an AD script for your show preceding -- - the verbal or sound cues for your AD lines with elipses: … and - your AD lines with “double carrots”: >> THEN – record your AD with the original soundtrack in the background.
  194. 194. 11/25/09 194 Session Twelve / Final Exam As always, time your AD lines so that, generally, when spoken aloud the lines stay within the pauses between elements of the original soundtrack (dialogue or critical sounds). Post your script and your recorded audio and/or video (via a link to YouTube) on the Message Board. Good luck—and congratulations on making it this far!!! After you're finished, for your “bonus viewing enjoyment,” take a look at my described excerpts from the new DVD “Phoenix Dance” and an episode of “Sesame Street.”

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