All About Audio Description


I have always enjoyed movies and have spent many a night binge-watching my favorite shows on Netflix. For most of my life, it’s been difficult to go to the movie theater—I had to get there extra early to find the perfect seat so I could see the movie. Or any time I watched Netflix, I had to get close to the screen so I could see what was happening. But there is one simple trick that can help every person with low vision enjoy their favorite shows. It’s called narrative television.

Narrative television (or audio description) describes what is happening on the screen so that the blind can enjoy the movie as well. For example, if characters Brandy and Mark are talking on my favorite show, and then Brandy rolls her eyes and walks out of the room, the audio describer says, “Brandy rolled her eyes and exited the room.” The audio describer usually has it timed out perfectly, so that you don’t miss any important dialogue.

I used to not enjoy watching movies that had audio description, but now I realize how helpful it is. I can watch a show with my friends and family on the standard settings, and when I get home I can re-watch the same show with audio description. I’ve watched most recently released movies and the majority of Netflix original shows, all with audio description. I even watched an action movie recently with subtitles, and the audio descriptions were very helpful.

If you’re visually impaired like me, you can take part in this amazing feature by selecting “audio description” on Netflix or under the language tab on other streaming services. If you want to enjoy a movie at the theaters, just ask the customer service desk if your movie has accommodations for the blind, and they can typically provide headphones for you to wear.

Thanks to Netflix and movie theaters adding this feature to their programs, everyone can enjoy their favorite shows without having to wait for new releases to come out on DVD with audio description (if they had description at all).

Now grab that popcorn, put on your headphones, and enjoy the latest film!

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This month’s theme: ‘Increasing Access and Opportunity’

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