I knew that the remarkable indie singer-songwriter Kevin Reeves followed me on Twitter (and I follow him), which was cool enough, but that coolness went up quite a bit when he sent me a DM asking if I could work on audio description for a documentary he was doing. It took a little while, but we eventually got things together and it's now available on his website. The irreverent documentary follows Kevin (who is blind) through several years of triumphs and tribulations making his album Remember To Forget, the follow-up to his podsafe favourite It's About Time. True to his innovative form, he's made the video of the doc available with and without description as a download and a streaming rental, as well as selling the audio description on its own as an mp3.
Rob (Dick Van Dyke) has a crisis of conscience when he lets another dentist work on his teeth while his dentist friend Jerry is out of town. 1962. First posted July 14, 2008.
And here's the described video version below.
I'm not really a science-y person, so this fun series from the National Science Foundation bodes well for kids who are like me. Hosted by former CNN science reporter Miles O'Brien, Science Nation travels the world for fascinating and inspiring science stories told in bites of several minutes. Below is a sample from one episode I wrote description for, about improving the sense of touch in robots and prostheses.
In this episode of the classic tv series, Rob and Laura Petrie (Dick Van Dyke and Mary Tyler Moore) need one of their walls painted, but the Italian painter they hire has a way of working that makes them wonder if he’ll ever leave. 1963. First posted July 7, 2008.
I've used the first scene in this episode a couple of times in demonstrations of the process of writing audio description. Here's the full described video via YouTube:
Anyone remember the '60's film Fantastic Voyage? This educational series I've been working on gets even more fantastic, as a super-tiny computer-animated crew of scientists and adventurers encounters a huge world of one-celled organisms, challenging currents and creepy crawlies - using actual microscopic footage. In this clip, the good ship Cyclops begins its journey.
If you've watched any of my work with the DCMP on the Video Samples page, you'll have noticed their videos are accessible for students who are blind and students who are deaf. When I received a series of videos of children's books presented with American Sign Language (ASL) and already captioned, it came with a challenge for me as a describer: what do I do about the sign language? While there are different answers to this depending on the project, for this one, we decided to establish what was being done in terms of text and sign, along with taking advantage of the space given for the wonderfully expressive ASL interpreters to perform by describing some of what they were doing. This helps a vision-impaired audience to associate some of the signs with the words of the story, learning along with their hearing-impaired friends, as well as those with sight and hearing. Inclusiveness in action!
Here's a sample of the series, for which I wrote but did not voice the description: the start of a book called "Big Al":
Betty Hutton stars as a hat check girl at the famous nightclub, who saves an old man (Barry Fitzgerald) from drowning. But she doesn’t know he’s a millionaire, who secretly repays her with riches beyond her wildest dreams. 1945. Part 1 of 3. First posted May 12, 2008.
Check out the full-length described video on YouTube!
I've described another episode of "Dan's Space Van" with the free service YouDescribe. In this one, the van has to be taken to a garage, Danny talks to the guy who painted the freaky artwork and he also has to wake up his musical guest to perform. (Note: Due to the software, the description placement can slip forward from time-to-time.) For all the episodes I've done so far, go to the MFTB YouDescribe page - and remember you can describe any YouTube video yourself for free!
Vincent Price stars as the only survivor of a worldwide plague, spending his days trying to protect himself against victims who have risen from the grave. 1964. Part 1 of 2. First posted April 28, 2008. Contains violence.
This has been the most popular film in the series. It's also available as a described video on YouTube:
The pieces start to come together for Sherlock Holmes (Arthur Wontner) to solve at least one murder and save Silver Blaze for the race. But Moriarty will not give up his task, putting Holmes, Watson and the horse at risk. Part 2 of 2. First posted April 21, 2008.