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Robert Pearson

Accessible Media

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What Your Child can Teach You About Embedded Described Video for TV

The practice of creating embedded described video on a live TV show is akin to interacting with your toddler using everyday narrative devices such as What, Who and Is, says Robert Pearson.

Most of us have experience interacting with toddlers. As a young member of your family grows up, there can be a tendency to ask them questions, at any given time, about their daily activities, about what they are seeing or feeling. The purpose is to challenge them to think of the what, why, when, how and where of their surroundings. It is also the first step towards picking language skills as they learn to listen to the grown-ups, understand the context in which the questions are asked, and answer appropriately.

A father reading to his son mother talking to her toddler

Images: (Left) Father reading to his young son; (Right) Mother interacting with her toddler daughter

I am not sure when I picked up this habit following the birth of our daughter, but I quickly got into the flow of things, asking her tens of questions every day. In the midst of this, I had an epiphany. It occurred to me that posing these questions to my girl was very similar to narrating a scene. Going about one's daily activities is akin to living in an embedded described video.

For example (when you interact with a child):

"Who is that?  (Insert any response)"

"What's that?  (Insert any response)"

"Where are we?  (Insert any response)"

"What are you doing?”

“Are you drinking juice?"

"Are you in your car seat?"

"Are we going for a walk?"

“Who am I?”

“Where is mama?”

"Are you going to have a bath?"

"Is it bed time?"

Questions that begin with "why" are yet to come at this stage of childhood, as life will inevitably move out of this narrative stage. For the time being though, I cannot help but see the similarities between this practice and the Original Programming content that AMI-tv produces with embedded described video.

When it comes to recorded shows and series, the editors begin working on video description typically at the post-production stage. At this point, the description is written, compiled and broadcast after the production of the show is complete. On the other hand, when it comes to live description, the describers audition and have the ability to describe an event as it occurs. Third, we have embedded video description, where description is woven into the script of the narrative to encompass everything being displayed on screen.

In this way, a talk show host may begin by introducing oneself, what they are wearing and what the set around them looks like. This will be followed by a brief introduction and description of guests appearing on the talk show. This would ensure that they describe the format of the show in a non-visual perspective, right from the backdrop and set, to the context and characters participating, as well as what audiences can expect in the next half or one hour. It requires the producer to approach the production from a new angle.

At Accessible Media Inc (AMI) we primarily focus on post-production description and to that end, we are working in conjunction with the Canadian broadcasting industry to develop description best practices. We have embarked upon several live description projects, such as the Royal Wedding (a reality show) and a variety of sporting events, including Major League Baseball.

For our Original Programming, which focuses on accessibility research, analysis, community and lifestyle programming designed specifically for our audience, we utilize techniques that we have pioneered for embedded described video. This practice, as with live description, continues to evolve as the scientific and artistic guidelines within each become further established within the industry.

The use of embedded described video has a definable benefit in assisting those with a print disability or who are learning English as a second language, or as it were, for the first time. Description of media or digital content can be of a benefit to more than those who may be blind or partially sighted.

Here are some examples of the types of Original Programming that AMI has that include Embedded Described Video.


Related Resources

News: Sprint's Dan Hesse, First Fortune 500 CEO to Address the Future of Mobile Technology at M-Enabling Summit | Read Article.

Blog: The Glass Promise: Google's Look into an Inclusive Future by David Fazio | Read Full Article.

Publication: UNESCO Report: Opening New Avenues for Empowerment - ICTs to Access Information and Knowledge for Persons with Disabiltiies | Download Free PDF.

Event: National ADA Symposium: 16th Annual Conference on the Americans with Disabilities Act | San Antonio, Texas on May 12-15, 2013 | View Event Details.


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Andreas Andre
The wise parents need to teach their children about TV shows
11:59 AM, 04/10/2016

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