Early in my audio career I was helping a company set up a large assistive listening system for Audio Description for the movie Forrest Gump. Several hundred receivers were needed so the audience could experience what it was like to only hear and not see a movie – the way visually impaired people experience a movie. Vince Scully did the voice narration that played along with the regular audio sound track to listen to a movie with descriptive narration was an amazing experience and reminds me of the importance of audio in our lives. In fact, I learned more about this movie with the narrative and it enhanced the experience greatly. I had already seen the movie but the enhancement I received through the narration left a much stronger impression on me.
At Listen Technologies many customers contact us about assistive listening products and a growing number are now also calling about products for audio description. Audio Description (AD) is a term for descriptive narration which is often used to describe the visual elements of a performance or presentation. Audio description is intended for persons who have a visual impairment and is intended to complement the performance around the dialog and music This addition of audio description conveys the settings, costumes and body language in a visual performance or presentation. We “see” many performing art centers adding audio description to enhance their live performances.
Its easy to add audio description to a sound system. The descriptive track of the movie is delivered to an assistive listening transmitter. This transmitter transmits to receivers that the audience uses. You can use the same receivers used for assistive listening for the people who need audio description by simply choosing a different channel on the receiver before handing out the receiver. This allows the venue to deliver audio description at a very low cost.