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WHAT IS AUDIO DESCRIPTION?
“Audio Description makes the visual images of theatre, media and visual art accessible for people who are blind or have low vision” –Joel Snyder, The Visual Made Verbal
WHAT IS LIVE DESCRIPTION?
VocalEye adopted the term “Live Description” after encountering some confusion with the term “Audio Description”. The two terms mean essentially the same thing: translating the visual elements of live theatre, arts and cultural events into verbal descriptions that are voiced and transmitted live, during the event, to people who have vision loss.
WHERE IS LIVE DESCRIPTION OFFERED?
VocalEye describes theatre and events in Vancouver, Surrey, Richmond, West Vancouver and Victoria. All our activities are listed on our Shows and Events page. Check our Resources page for audio description providers in the rest of Canada and internationally.
HOW DOES VOCALEYE’S LIVE DESCRIPTION WORK?
Only VocalEye users can hear the description through the equipment provided. Described performances begin with a brief introduction to the locations, characters and costumes ten minutes before the show begins. During the show or event, the important visual details and physical actions are described between the lines of dialogue.
HOW DO I USE THE EQUIPMENT?
VocalEye members can pick up their equipment at the VocalEye table in the performance venue up to one hour before the show starts. The handheld receiver is easy to use, battery operated and tuned to our in-house FM radio signal. Each unit includes a volume control dial and comes with a single earpiece that can be worn on either ear. Our receivers are compatible with most personal earbuds and headphones.
DO YOU DESCRIBE EVERY PERFORMANCE?
VocalEye typically describes only one or two performances in the show’s run. All described performance dates are listed under Shows and Events.
HOW DO I PURCHASE TICKETS TO A DESCRIBED PERFORMANCE?
You may purchase tickets by calling the theatre’s Box Office and mentioning VocalEye (unless otherwise instructed on the Event’s page). Ordering your tickets by phone ensures that your equipment will be reserved and that you receive the lowest VocalEye ticket rate. This ticket price applies to the VocalEye user and extends to one sighted guest (some exceptions may apply). Please indicate if you are bringing a guide dog or if you have partial vision or other seating preferences. Seating options may be limited.
HOW MUCH DOES IT COST?
VocalEye’s description services are included in the price of the event ticket. Additional services are available at no cost to VocalEye Members.
WHAT’S A TOUCH TOUR?
Touch Tours bring VocalEye users to the stage for a hands-on introduction to selected props, costumes and set pieces from the show, with assistance from the cast and crew. Touch Tours are offered only at selected performances.
WHAT’S A THEATRE BUDDY?
VocalEye Theatre Buddies are volunteers trained in basic sighted-guiding techniques. Buddies are available to guide adult members (age 18 and over) from a designated meet-up location to and from the theatre. While at the theatre, Buddies assist members with picking up tickets, equipment and seating. The designated meet-up location for each theatre is close to public transit.
HOW DO I RESERVE A THEATRE BUDDY?
VocalEye members can reserve a Theatre Buddy by email or by calling 604-364-5949. We require at least 48 hours notice for a reservation.
HOW CAN I BECOME A THEATRE BUDDY?
If you would like to become a Theatre Buddy volunteer, please contact us.
WHAT DO DESCRIBERS DO?
VocalEye Describers view a performance at least 3 times, making notes on the design elements (set, costumes, props), characters and physical action. These notes are then transformed into two scripts:
- Introductory Notes are read before the show to provide the listener an overview of the context, style and design of the production and an introduction to the main characters and locations
- Action Notes are a combination of prompts, reminders and fine-tuned phrases that concisely and vividly describe important physical action. All action description must be worded and timed to fit between lines of dialogue.
The Describer then voices their description through a masked microphone, live, to the personal headsets of VocalEye users at the designated described performance. Although Describers have notes and prompts to refer to, they must also watch the action closely and be prepared for any changes or surprises during the live performance.
HOW CAN I BECOME A DESCRIBER?
VocalEye Describer training is offered when demand and resources permit (usually every other year). Please check our website and our newsletter for announcements on upcoming training and workshops. Check our Resources page for Describer training in the United States and England.
HOW CAN I GET A SHOW OR EVENT DESCRIBED?
If you are a person with vision loss, please contact the theatre, producer or arts organization and ask them for described, accessible programming. They need to hear that there is a demand.
If you are a theatre company or an arts organization who wants to make your events and programming more accessible to people with vision loss, please contact us for a free consultation.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LIVE DESCRIPTION AND VERBAL DESCRIPTION?
“Verbal description” is a term often used to refer to accessible descriptions of visual art, artifacts and architecture.
WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LIVE DESCRIPTION AND DESCRIBED VIDEO?
Live description is delivered “live” and in “real-time”, as the action is happening. The describer writes their own notes and voices them in real time, between the lines of dialogue. For Described Video, the script is created by a writer and timed to fit the available space. Separate voice talent will then read the writer’s description, creating an audio track that will be synchronized with the film’s scenes.