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!

Friday, May 22, 2009

LiveDescribe Week 3

Week 3: May 19th – 22nd 2009.

Third Week. Today we solved some more bugs!! There was one bug that kept coming up, that made my project crash... TWICE!! Which was very annoying, because the only way to get rid of it was to close the program, which means any unsaved info was lost... again, I’m reminded to SAVE, SAVE, SAVE!!!!

More Program News - - YEAYYYY!!! New discovery has been made - - extended description!! I did not know that this existed! If a description is long - - too long to fit in the dialogue pause, but is very important, and MUST be described, you have the option of using the extended description option. In the record box, you can check off the “extended” checkbox, and wherever your scroll bar is, you hit record, and you record your description from there. This pauses the original video, so your description can be as long you need it to be. However, be aware, that this PAUSES the original video, including background noise, and the only thing heard will be the description. This means that this cool tool must be used with care in a way that does not disrupt the experience of the show, but supports and contributes to it.

**Note: Shows without a background score are easier to use Extended Description on, because it doesn’t sound like it is pausing the original video or delaying it in anyway - - like in The Office - - except for, of course in the cases of background noises other than score, which still one should be wary of, in terms of deciding when it is appropriate or not to use this tool.

I’m finding that even after only doing descriptions for a little while, I’m already catching myself using the same vocabulary over and over again. I have to be really conscious of this. Because not only should I be careful to not be repetitive, but I also have to change up the way I write based on what kind of show I’m writing for.

It is a really big challenge to make the description a part of the entertainment. I am describing what is going on, and I manipulate my tone of voice to support what is going on. However, I am concerned that if my writing isn’t properly complimenting the style of the script-writer, that it may negatively affect the experience of the listener. I wonder if it takes them out of the story.

My next big challenge: Comedy - - how to interpret visual comedy with an audio experience that can have the same effect or similar effect as the visual humour. Does this mean I must resort to the appropriate words to use, or could it be possible use of sound effects?

I’m reaching a point where I’m going back on descriptions I’ve already written, and feeling the need to re-do them because I am unsatisfied with their comedic quality. With the descriptions I wrote for the Friends episode, I feel that even though I’m trying to adjust my tone to the comedy, it is still detached, so I need to seek out a different approach.

I have come across a new particular dilemma when it comes to describing certain shows, such as Canada’s Next Great Prime Minister, which has a studio audience. There are so many shots of audience members, and a lot of the time their reactions aren’t that meaningful, but occasionally there are some really interesting audience member reactions - - but often they happen so quickly, and we see several little quick, diverse reactions in the audience one after the other with no time to describe. This is either because the break in dialogue is too short, or because the reactions are occurring during dialogue. When coming across a situation such as this, I have to decide how important these reactions are. Do they support what is happening on the stage? Or, if I were to describe these reactions, would it simply disrupt the listener’s experience, and hinder their opportunity to have their own individual reaction?

When facing myself with a description project, I need to ask myself some important questions: What would the director want? If the writer were to hear my description would they feel that it was complimentary to their original script or would they feel that it completely ruins their vision for the show??

This week, Daybreak was posted on the LiveDescribe website. Check it out at http://livedescribe.com/wiki/displayFile.php?key=30&size=&sender=genre

Other new episodes will be up soon, so be sure to keep checking back! Thanks!


  1. You should consider doing a screencast of a recording session using LiveDescribe. I've talked to a few people that would like to try it out, but are intimidated by the interface, and don't really quite understand how it works. Just a suggestion... Neat idea for a blog, by the way.

  2. Hey Tom

    I'm one of the developers of LiveDescribe, email me at cbranje@gmail.com, and I can answer any questions you may have.