Over the last few weeks, we have answered many questions about Described Video. Here is a list of the four most recurring questions – we hope you learn something new.
1. What the heck is Described Video? Is it subtitling?
No Mom, it is not subtitling. Described Video (DV) is also called Video Description or Described Narrative in Canada, and Audio Description (AD) in the United States. DV is a narrated description of a program’s main visual elements, such as settings, costumes, or body language. The description is added during pauses in dialogue, and enables people to form a mental picture of the program. It works best for prerecorded programs, such as dramas and documentaries. Check out our YouTube Channel for a few examples.
2. What is the big deal? Why is it important?
For people with visual impairments, such as people who are blind or have low vision, described video and audio description makes media like TV programs and web videos more accessible. Video is a primary source of information and entertainment and reflects the wide range of ideas and perspectives that characterize Canadian society. It’s important for people with visual impairments to be able to receive TV broadcasts and web video in as complete a form as possible, so that we’re all included in this medium.
Vision loss doesn’t have to mean the loss of independence or quality of life. We are motivated to do our part by helping the many Canadians who are blind or partially sighted.
3. Is it the law to provide described video?
Bev Milligan, from the Alliance for Equality of Blind Canadians, provides the following answer that sums up well the somewhat legal requirement: “In the 2010 group licence renewals for the majority of Canada’s TV broadcasters, the Canada Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) chose not to require them to identify described video (DV) at the beginning of a program. In the same decision, however, the CRTC did require, as a condition of licence, all Canadian television broadcasters to increase their descriptions to four hours per week. Many, however, have failed to comply with this limited threshold. Moreover, as the decision did not include a compliance mechanism, it is impossible to enforce this requirement.”
Regardless of CRTC regulations, we recommend that anyone broadcasting or uploading video to the web, looking to include as many Canadians as possible as part of their audience, consider a DV version of their video.
4. How difficult is it to DV a video?
If you want to provide the best possible experience, we strongly suggest that you engage the services of a DV professional (like yours truly), that is familiar with, and has experience working with DV best practices, such as those outlined by AMI.