Thread Subject: Re: Proposal fora newUserPreferenceSettings(Non-Visual)
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From: Barrett, Don
Date: Thu, Aug 02 2007 3:00 PM
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Well, these are interesting examples, Terry because they are as you say
information and not instructional in nature. The audio description
obviously would contribute qualitatively to the sensory experience, but
at least for me, this is a far cry from "necessary for the
comprehension," which is required to meet the standard. Of course,
anything which adds to the quality of any experience is nice to have,
and I am in no way minimizing the relevance of increasing the
qualitative nature of someone's experience in viewing or listening to a
multimedia presentation. I do believe however, that whatever is
mandated should meet a higher standard. We run into this all of the
time with alt attributes related to page content which creates a mood
but is not truly informational in nature; do you describe them or quote
them out. For me, I don't want to know that there is a photo of two
children on a web site which serves children and their needs. Seeing
the photo is different than hearing that there is a photo. The problem
is that for every blind person who feels like I do, there are an equal
number that love the ambient sensual schmoozy type stuff, so there is no
clear answer. I think the ones that like it are pretentious, and they
think I'm a stuffed shirt; who knows, we're all probably right :-)
For the two films you discuss, I wouldn't have bothered describing
either one, because, at the risk of being repetitious, neither would
rise to the "necessary for the comprehension" standard.
Just my two cents from a stuffed shirt.
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Subject: Re: [teitac-websoftware] Proposal fora
We get a number of questions from agencies (including my own) about
audio description. Generally, the videos being created are
informational, not instructional. We've taken the position that if the
agency feels the need to make the film, they must feel the message is
mission-based and therefore, should be accessible to all.
I would be interested in hearing Don's and Allen's opinions about a
couple of examples. The first one involved a video my office had made
to play at booth we were staffing at a government conference. We used a
video produced by filming the previous year's conference which included
a short film clip from a commercial-hit cartoon movie about prehistoric
animals, including fish. We made it conform to 508 by close captioning
and audio describing the video. It was a two-step process - we first
sent it to a company that created the closed-captions and then to
another that added the audio description.
The audio description added a lot - it described the people who came and
went from the podium and stage, what they carried and what they did.
The people in filmed from the previous year's conference were all
relatively well-known IT executives from Federal as well as industry.
It also described in detail the fish that went whizzing by the screen in
the cartoon clip - far more data than the average viewer would ever
gather and even fewer could identify by genus. It also raised some
interesting societal issues - the description labeled one government
exec as silver-haired, another as short and portly and another as thin,
tall black man. The folks captured in the video seem a bit
uncomfortable about the descriptions - our video gave voice to unspoken
"opinions" that created discomfort for others.
My second example involves an architectural tour of some historic
Federal office spaces. It was developed in house for Federal employees
and was closed captioned but not audio described. An executive narrated
the film by, for the most part, sitting in her office on a couch with
flowers on a nearby table and a flag in the background - a pretty
typical executive pose. She provided the voice-over of the tour and
described the features of the offices the video depicted as well as the
history behind them. Occasionally, additional images were shown, of
Indian chiefs in an antique photo, several somber men in late-eighteenth
century dress. From her script, you made a hazy deduction that they
attended important events in these offices but from the description, you
wouldn't have known anything about the participants. The film producers
thought that they didn't need to audio describe the film because the
script read by the exec described the rooms well.
We generally advise Federal video-producers that it isn't necessary to
audio-describe "talking-heads" - people standing in one place, maybe
behind a podium, just speaking to the camera. Is that good? Should we
be providing a physical description of the speaker? Can we cross a
proprietary line where we offend by describing physical attributes that
might not be flattering to the speaker and cause other problems? Is
there anything we can add to the proposed language to address such
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