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!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

LiveDescribe Week 6

Week 6 – June 8th – 12th, 2009.

Week 6! This week - - I did a lot of writing rather than recording. Several new recorded episodes will be posted early next week, because this week I did all the writing for them!

LiveDescribe Program: Still getting “Failed Description” Messages. Don’t know if this is just a bug, or if it is actually a mistake that I am making in my utilization of the program.
Thank You for the Comments! It’s really interesting to read about your thoughts. The points made on character use were interesting points. I completely understand how the creation of a new character describer may not be taken kindly by those who have original creative control over the show. However, when a show is telling a story that is comedic or heartbreaking: does a purely “state-the-facts” monotonous description do the show justice? Is that sort of description preferable to a voice/character that is supportive of the experience that the writer and director originally were trying to create for the audience? I’d love to hear more opinions on this! If you are interested in checking out some of my descriptions at livedescribe.com, I’d love to get some feedback.

Now, when tackling a character description, I’ve been asking myself certain questions. If I`m taking liberties as a character – could I permit myself to make conclusions such as (in Degrassi High): “he totally likes her”. Would that form of conclusion at all offend the listener or put them off in any way?

I ran into a concern today in terms of description for a blind person vs. a partially blind individual. I find myself having to describe something just a moment sooner than when the event occurs visually on the screen for the purpose of finding the time I need for the description in between natural dialogue , or to set up the scene before dialogue begins. For a blind person this would not in any way interrupt their experience, however, for a partially blind individual who is following the show visually, if I describe something before it occurs on screen, it may cause some confusion for the individual. I had not even considered this previously. It is something important to be aware of.

I will be participating in a workshop on the use of this program, and I have compiled a list of some things to consider when doing description and when approaching the LiveDescribe Program. Here are the lists:

Audio Description

Before Describing:
- What is the story about?
- What is the purpose of the story?
- What type of story-telling is this? For example: The Office vs. Law & Order

When Describing:
- Location – description of the place. What is the environment like? Paint a picture. Can you do this during the natural breaks in dialogue, or is extended description required?
- Physical Appearance of Characters? - - Does anyone look a particular way that is significant to the story?
- Who is speaking?
- Sound Effects – what background noises are significant and should not be overwritten with description?
- What details can be omitted? What details are indisputably vital to the story?
- Is Extended Description needed? Or is there enough time in between the natural dialogue to create the description.
- How can you describe in a way that supports the entertainment value of the show, and is still interesting.
- Liberties - - How can you take your own approach to it?
- Allow yourself to be expressive, and creative.

LiveDescribe: Reference Sheet

Using the Program:
- Import
- Select Capture Device
- Notice the automatically identified “description spaces”
- The Description and Spaces Box at the top right hand section of the screen identifies several lists. The 1st is a list of all of the spaces with their time frames. After you’ve written descriptions, there is also a 2nd list of all of your text descriptions. The 3rd list in the box is that of all of your extended descriptions used in the video.
- Check the description spaces: Do any adjustments need to be made? Are they where you want them to be?
- Description Spaces are easily adjustable with the mouse.
- To create a new description space, use the space mark in/out tool on the left end of the Timeline.
- Watch the clip: Familiarize yourself with the video
- Write the descriptions in the textboxes. Be sure to save after creating each text description!
- Is the Extended Description tool necessary?
o Extended Description pauses the original video and audio, inserting description. Original video continues after extended description concludes.
- Test the volume of the microphone before recording.
- Record the Description! Play it back!
- Save! Save! Save after every description (written and recorded)!

Like I said at the start of today’s blog - - There aren’t any new episodes posted, because I spent all week writing several episodes, so check back next week for the recordings on livedescribe.com! Thanks!

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