About Me

Welcome! My name is Katerina and I'm an Acting student at Ryerson University. This summer, I will be working with the Centre for Learning Technologies at Ryerson on their LiveDescribe Program. This Blog will record and follow my process and experiences as an audio describer for the visually impaired. Using the LiveDescribe program, I will be creating audio descriptions for videos of TV episodes, films, etc. These audio descriptions are and will be available online as they are created at www.livedescribe.com. Keep checking back here for new video details, discoveries, and so forth!

Monday, May 11, 2009

LiveDescribe Week 1

Week 1: May 4th – 8th 2009.

This was my first week on the job! I’ve been learning about the LiveDescribe Program; how to use it, its purpose, different alternatives in the way to go about working on the program and doing audio description. It’s really interesting, and exciting to know that there are a lot of creative possibilities, if you allow yourself to go beyond the standard description ways. I’ve been reading papers and watching audio description examples. Also, before beginning work on my first description, of The Lucy Show, I made sure to do some research on the show itself so that I could familiarize myself with the show’s characters, the show’s influence, and just get a better understanding of it so that I could adjust my description to effectively reflect what the show is all about.

When beginning to work on the episode on LiveDescribe, I started off with going through the bars on the audio line that indicated where voice description was possible/needed. Going through it, however, I realized that there were a lot of adjustments to be made. Although it was done automatically, I needed to edit through a lot of it, if not most of it; either shortening some bars, extending some bars, deleting some bars, or adding extra bars.
Before recording, I went through all of the voice description bars, and wrote in the description in the text boxes to make recording easier by planning out my description. Regarding the text boxes, I learned it’s very important to save after any sort of change, because otherwise, not only will your change not be saved, but you will lose the entire text. This was a little bit annoying, because even if you were to just open the text box without making any changes, if you don’t save, you’ll still lose the entire text. So, the save reminder box that pops up after each text box use is very helpful. Something useful might be spell check for the text boxes. Although at the end of the day, the audio is really the final product - - for the neurotic, knowing that spelling is correct might be nice.

For the recording, having a bit of a difficult time working with the microphone, because each time I record, the volume of the recording changes depending on where exactly the microphone is. It’s still taking some getting to used to, but with more time I’m sure I’ll get the hang of it.

Throughout recording, and often during play-back a message box with some sort of warning kept coming up, but I ignored it, which was not the smart thing to do. It would offer a details, continue, and quit option. Often, even when pressing continue, the message box would immediately come back on, and would take several continue clicks for it to actually continue. Very annoying. Would come up at the most inappropriate moments. At one point, by accident, I pressed quit, and lost an hour’s worth of work. Very frustrating. However, lesson learned: don’t ignore message boxes, and always save. Also a “are you sure you want to quit” message box after clicking quit might be useful in case a person like myself clicks quit by accident.

Another thing I’m having an issue with is the scroll bar, and using it. It would be really helpful if I could just scroll down the audio line, instead of only being able to see certain chunks of audio at a time.

I ended up switching laptops so we had to transfer the LiveDescribe project from one to the other. We ran into an issue with the program. Project refused to open for a while, but then we fixed it. Then, the following day, the project refused to open once again. Turns out it has to do with the text boxes and using the “enter” button within one text box. This was messing around with the program, but once again Ryan fixed it, and then the project opened and is fine!

I discovered some things with the audio after switching computers. The volume of my previous recordings on the old laptop were triple the level of volume of the original video. We went into the wave-pad and halfed the volume of my recordings. Now, the size of the audio on the audio line is within the blue box, while before it was out of the box, meaning that it was too loud.

Afterwards, we played it again, and the volume of the recordings was still much louder. In LiveDescribe, there is a volume adjustment scroll. I would adjust it, and by doing that, I thought I was adjusting the total volume on the computer. Afterwards, I realized that it only adjusts the volume of the video’s audio, NOT the audio of the recordings. The computer’s volume control is what adjusted the total volume of all, and the individual microphone volume controls on the computer were what independently adjust the microphone volume.

The warning box from the previous day continued to appear on the screen during playback, and also during recording on LiveDescribe. I showed it to Ryan, and he understood the problem. Something about the size of the files. Solution is being worked on.
When downloading audio descriptions of the LiveDescribe website. You have to download the original video as well in order for the LiveDescribe player to open it. It won’t open otherwise. But there is nothing on the website that indicates this direction. They are listed as two separate options, which is fine, but a direction to say that you need the original for the description to work would be helpful.

Also, on the LiveDescribe Player, the volume control option that shows up in the player doesn’t work. To adjust the volume, you have to go to the computer’s volume control options. You can’t control it through the player at all.

Something to keep in mind when using the program itself, you have to be really careful with enunciation when recording, because sometimes the ends of words can get lost in the microphone. I have to make sure to carefully sound the “s”’ and “t”s otherwise, you won’t be able to hear them.

I completed my first episode this week! After creating an account on the LiveDescribe Website, I published the episode as well. See http://livedescribe.com/wiki/browse.php?type=&choice=Comedy#here

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the comments, we will try and implement some your suggestions.

    The audio scrolling thing is a problem that I've always wanted to change, its just that it would take a lot of recoding to get it work.

    Ryan and I will see what we can do!