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, July 27, 2009

LiveDescribe Weeks 11&12

Week 11: July 13th - 17th, 2009. Week 12: July 20th - 24th, 2009.


Ryan has worked the program to be able to combine the original audio and descriptions together as one single combined audio file! This way, the video with the description can be played in other programs other than just the Livedescribe player, and it can be created into a DVD. Last week, I was asked to describe 10 slideshow videos for the Disabilities Centre at Ryerson. I worked through those videos, and then needed to put them on a CD for them so that they could play it at the event they needed them for. Now with the new abilities of the program, we were able to do that!

We ran into a couple of uploading the single audio file onto the website but now it works!! You can now upload just the audio files! This is really exciting because it makes the descriptions so much easier to access, and play-able on a variety of media players. There is an issue with the combining of the two audio tracks in that sometimes the description is much higher in volume than the original description and there’s no way to adjust it once the audio has been combined. However, the improved accessibility of the descriptions is a huge advancement!!

I am now starting work on The Office!!! I am very excited about working on this series because of its format. The format gives me some really cool creative options in terms of how to go about describing the TV show. Since the camera is actually set up to depict a documentary format, and the characters direct a lot of their attention and dialogue to the camera, it really creates a character on its own, so I’m excited to record as the “camera person”!

Goal is to complete the complete first season of the Office in the next couple of weeks! I’ve finished writing almost the entire first season, and I’m hoping on having the full season recorded and posted by the end of next week!!

Upon request, in this blog I am including some more of the information we handed out to the individuals that attended our LiveDescribe Workshop last month. I have already posted my handout on audio description in an earlier blog. The following is taken directly out of the rest of the handout created specifically for the workshop. There was also a handout on the steps to using LiveDescribe. I will use that to create an Instructables Tutorial, and I will post the link once that is completed.

Excerpts from Workshop Handout:

Notes on Audio Description:

Used in film, TV & live theatre

Insert descriptive words between dialogue

Do not describe over dialogue

Describe important and meaningful visual information & stimuli

E.g., facial expressions, actions, set, costumes, etc.

Not sound (e.g., sound effects)

Conventional AD

Use monotone, non-emotional voice in 3rd person

“describe information”

Our Approach:

Watching a show is about entertainment

not only information

AD is a creative process; it’s about being concise, precise and entertaining

AD should fit with the style and ambiance of the show

Use an approach that fits

1st person, new character, emotion

Amateur AD has been happening for much longer than professional AD

Our studies show amateur AD can work

Tiring and intense process

Software tools can help


***Newly Posted Episode:

- Degrassi High - Season 1 Episode 4 - Dream On by katerinag

Thursday, July 16, 2009

LiveDescribe Week 9&10

Week 9: June 29th - July 3rd, 2009. Week10: July 6th - 10th, 2009.

The last week I've run into several technical difficulties with my work laptop that has severely delayed my work, but I am catching up, so bear with me!

The Instructable Website suggestion sounds really exciting! It’s got me thinking and excited, and I will begun work on that shortly to begin creating that for the website. I didn’t even know that that existed! Thank you very much for your input! Also, as for a transcript of the workshop itself - - I don’t know if I can make a transcript available, however, I can post the collection of notes we handed out to all of the attendees of the workshop! I will work on getting that up here for my next blog post.

Description Roadblock:

I just ran into an example of having to describe something that is directly connected to the dialogue that is extremely difficult to describe. I still haven’t made up my mind about how exactly to go about it. In an episode of “Being Erica”, Erica’s boss makes “air quotes” with her fingers while saying certain words. It is significant and needs to be described in order for jokes later on in the episode to make sense. Furthermore it contributes to this character’s obnoxious personality, and it is commented on later by Erica. I still haven’t decided how to insert a description for it. Will let you know what I come up with when I do!

I’ve been thinking more and more about what I’m doing as a describer and how to approach the work. The following question needs to be asked: Are describers: informers? Guides? or storytellers? As informers, we are like journalists, news broadcasters. As guides, we help an individual experience the story. As storytellers, we take the audience member on a journey, on an experience. That’s so much more exciting than just being an informer, or a guide. This way we have an opportunity to affect the audience in the way that the TV show or film or whatever is being described was meant to affect.

Scene transitions are very important and sometimes the specifics of them can be overlooked. For example, sometimes a scene switches between 2 locations quickly back and forth, and often this switch can be identifiable by the character`s voices or other sounds, but sometimes they require more description than that.


What if: Extended Description: You can indicate the amount of space you want to fill in with continuous dialogue. That way there won’t be silent spaces in between extended description??? Since one way or another it describes on top of a certain amount of original sound. I discussed it with Ryan so we are going to see if we can figure something out!! I will keep you posted!

Newly Posted Descriptions at www.livedescribe.com :

Degrassi Junior High - Season 1 Episode 2 - The Big Dance by katerinag
Degrassi Junior High - Season 1 Episode 3 - The Experiment by katerinag