Sighted People Watch Movies Blind | Audio Descriptions #GAAD

Sighted People Watch Movies Blind | Audio Descriptions #GAAD

– Hey everyone, James Rath here. Thursday May 19th is Global
Accessibility Awareness Day. To help spread awareness and
to kinda show my support, I’m making this whole video
about audio descriptions and why they’re so important. Did you know that it’s estimated
that 285 million people are visually-impaired or legally blind? That’s a lot of people. We’re a big population. As someone who was born
legally blind, I do believe that vision is a privilege
and you never know when you’re gonna lose your sight, because
a lot of people lose their sight over time, with age,
or a disease, or a freak accident, like, you never know
when you’re gonna lose it and be a part of this population
of visually-impaired people. Losing your vision or not
having vision is very scary in a lot of situations, and it
also sucks when things aren’t accessible to you and then you
don’t feel included with the rest of the sighted world. That’s what Global Accessibility
Awareness Day is all about. It’s about allowing people
who have companies, products, services, and just people
in general to be aware that accessibility is so
necessary in today’s society because we need to not
be afraid of inclusion and we need to accept people. The entertainment industry is
something that I’m passionate about making more accessible. As someone who’s a filmmaker,
who is legally blind, I want my content to be more
accessible with the platforms that I use to share my content. The entertainment industry is
currently not very accessible to people who have visual impairment. There are things like closed
captions available to the deaf and to the hard-of-hearing,
but there’s only so many audio descriptions available for the
blind and visually-impaired. The content that’s currently
audio-described, and available to the visually-impaired and the blind, is so limited right now. We live in a new age where
anyone can have a voice, and can create content and
share it with the world, thanks to YouTube and
other video platforms. Currently, YouTube offers the
ability for content creators to upload or transcribe their
videos with closed captions, which I think is very awesome
and it’s a great system the way it currently works right now. Viewers can also contribute
closed captions to creators if they allow it. If you wanna learn more
about closed captions and all of that, check out my friend
Rikki Poynter’s videos on how to go about closed
captioning your videos, as it’s currently a
service that is available. At this point in time, YouTube
currently does not have any plans announced to
have audio descriptions or support the
visually-impaired or the blind. Now, very few creators do
upload content that is already audio-described, but
that’s only content created for the visually-impaired or the blind. The majority of content
creators do not cater only to a small minority, like
visually-impaired or the blind. So much like closed captions,
YouTube needs to create a system that allows people
to record audio descriptions right on the website, or
be able to upload these audio descriptions to a video
as an extra layer of audio. That way, built into the
player they can just enable an AD button much like
closed captions right now. Believe it or not, some movie
theaters actually do offer audio descriptions for
visually-impaired or blind viewers. However, it doesn’t always work. I’m a guy who doesn’t often go
to the movies because where I lived back on the East coast,
I didn’t have a movie theater that was accessibly available to me. Now that I live in Los
Angeles, there are more movie theaters out here, but
the closest one to me that has audio descriptions available
is a good eight miles. For someone who doesn’t
drive, that’s kinda far. Now, this past weekend I
attempted to go to the movies with three of my sighted friends,
and see a movie, blindfolded, with audio descriptions. I do have a little bit of sight,
but I wanted to experience the audio descriptions without
any of my sight available. So, the plan was to see
the movie with blindfolds, along with my friends, and
attempt to see this movie with audio descriptions. They had four little
devices for us, and we each had headphones. These headphones were supposed
to have an extra audio track play as we also watched the film. Only about half of the
blockbusters that are currently out offer audio descriptions. So, we saw the movie Zootopia. So, what basically happened was
they had an issue with their audio description system in
that specific theater that we watched that movie in. I’m not sure if it was a lack
of training, or if they just weren’t prepared, but
it’s so important to have accessibility available when it’s needed. So, unfortunately, they
just didn’t have the system working for us, so we watched
the movie without blindfolds and without audio descriptions. This was no issue for my
three sighted friends, they could watch the movie. I, on the other hand, could
still enjoy the movie, you know, I was able to make out some
of it, the fine details were a little harder, I mean the
screen was big and large, but it just wasn’t all that accessible. Movie theaters, however, are
not your only option if you are looking for audio descriptions. A lot of DVDs and Blu-Rays
come with audio descriptions, much like closed captions, built-in. But again, that’s only for the
movies and TV shows that are currently available
with audio descriptions. Apples iTunes has updated this
week with an entire selection of all their movies and TV
shows that currently support audio descriptions. All you have to do is go to If it’s installed currently
on your computer, it’ll automatically open up the
application and show you the entire catalog of
audio description movies. There’s quite a few on there, as well. Another service that does
offer audio descriptions is Netflix, and Netflix has
taken a huge stride to include audio descriptions with
the majority, if not all, of their original content. So, this means shows like
Fuller House, Daredevil, and the fourth season
of Arrested Development should all have audio
descriptions available. Netflix as a platform also
has quite a few movies and TV shows that do
have audio descriptions from other studios. Because my friends and I
couldn’t enjoy Zootopia at the theaters with audio descriptions
due to some glitches, we decided to come back home
last night and rent a movie on iTunes that did have audio descriptions. After trying to figure out a
good movie that we all haven’t seen yet, we decided to watch Everest. And we decided to watch this
movie in three different ways. For the first one-third of
the film, we decided to have blindfolds on and turn
off the lights, turn down the brightness of the
computer screen, and just watch the movie with audio
descriptions available. – [Voice On Film] Rob crosses
the ladder bridge to Beck, who struggles to hold on. – The second third of the
film, we decided to turn on the lights, bring up the
brightness, and actually take off the blindfolds to watch
the film, but with audio descriptions turned on to
see how that would work. – [Boy On Left] I heard you snoring, yes. – [Girl] I did? No way. – [Boy On Left] You fell
asleep, too, didn’t you? – [Boy On Right] No, I didn’t,
no I did not fall asleep. – [Voice On Film] Scott
and Rob leave the tent. Rob faces him with a serious expression. – And for the last third
of the film, we decided to turn off the audio descriptions
and just watch the movie normally, how every other
viewer would, with sight. For my friends who do have
perfect vision available, and for myself who is
legally blind, it was quite a different experience for all of us. This is all of our takes
on what it was like. So what was your experience
basically watching a movie blindfolded with audio descriptions? – I found it very difficult, actually. – Difficult? – Yeah, but um, I found that
you had to put 100% effort into actually hearing it
and concentrating on it and making sure that you don’t
miss out on any little detail. – You mean before or after I fell asleep? (both laugh) – I was actually really
interested to try and do it. I had some difficulty because
you really had to sit down and just really pay attention and
it helps with the blindfold, because it literally just
helps you focus on what you’re hearing instead of what
you’re hearing and seeing. – Are those real glasses? – No. (both laugh) – [Voice In Background] Just be honest. – I am being honest. I know. – Were you able to experience any of it? Or was it, within like, when it was still saying, “Universal” you fell asleep? – (laughs) It really was.
It really was right there! – The opening when it
said “Universal Studios”. (both laugh) At what point during the film
could you enjoy it the most? With audio descriptions,
with audio descriptions and visuals, or solely with visuals? – I guess with audio
descriptions and visuals, but then again, sometimes
the audio descriptions would get in the way sometimes. It was definitely more difficult,
With being blindfolded, just the audio descriptions. – With visuals and the
description, I suppose, because I just don’t pay attention. – Were you half asleep during that? – A little bit, and when
I wasn’t paying attention, the audio description
like, was right there. – I think with audio
descriptions and visuals, I had pretty much the
best time watching it, because it kinda, if you
didn’t understand it, it would describe it and
you’d be like, “Okay, well, that’s happening,” and then
you get to watch it, too, so, I liked that the most. – So, do you see now why
it’s important, though, to have audio descriptions for
blind or visually-impaired audience as a content creator? – I mean, yeah! (laughs) I’m sorry. I just– – Do you, like, make boring
content you want them to fall asleep during it, or? – Oh yeah, definitely, ’cause
without that it would just, you wouldn’t know what sort
of movie you’re watching, or where you’re at, so I definitely think it’s very important. – Okay. – I have nothing to say now. – Yes, 100% because I feel
like if you’re blind, you still have the opportunity to
enjoy it if you have those, and I feel like that’s
important for everybody to get as much enjoyment as you can. – Yes, it’s very important. Yeah. – That didn’t seem very genuine. As a content creator on the
Internet, it’s so important to make the Internet more
accessible, and be inclusive with your content, whether that
means adding closed captions to your videos and making
a transcript available of your video, or that means for
developers and programmers to develop these accessibility
features for their users. For example, YouTube with
creating a feature to allow us to add audio descriptions to our videos. Please. It’s so important to
create accessible content, whether it’s an application,
a video, an image, if you do photography, in
which descriptions are a thing, I have a video on that, Apple
has an entire section of their App Store that just shows you
all the most accessible Apps for the visually-impaired,
for the hearing-impaired, people with cognitive disabilities,
physical disabilities, motor skills, and so on. If you haven’t done research
yet on accessibility, I really encourage you to do
so, and how you can be more accessible or, if you are a
person with accessibility needs, figure out what your needs
are and ask people who create services that you use or
applications you want to use, ask for accessibility. In the description on this
video, I’ll have resources to all the movies that are
audio described, and iTunes where you can find all the
audio-described movies, and Netflix for a free trial
if you currently aren’t using Netflix, and if you’re
currently a content creator, all the best practices for
creating closed captions and if you want to get into
audio descriptions or if you want to help campaign
to get YouTube to add audio descriptions, or even
Facebook, or some online video service, I encourage you to
check out links down below. If you want more information on Global Accessibility Awareness Day, all of that will be down below. Please share this video, and
if you’re a sighted individual, I do encourage you to
try audio descriptions, see like, how would they benefit
you as a sighted individual if they do at all, or how would
you see yourself using these if you do lose your vision at some point? Or even, like, watching a
movie with the closed captions turned on, and you know,
see if you can, like, follow the film and also read at the same time. Before I keep rambling on,
leave a comment down below on your thoughts on accessibility
and if you think it’s important, if you don’t think
it’s important, tell me why, let’s have a civil conversation
down there, it’s an open forum, I will see you
guys next time in this video. Like, by the way, and
subscribe if you’d like to see more content, see ya!

Only registered users can comment.

  1. I think it's great that audio descriptions exist. As a sighted individual, I had never thought about this prior to meeting you at Playlist Live but I am glad I learned about this. I believe we all can do more so that everyone has the opportunity to enjoy any content that is created.

    I have a question. I make mostly "How to" videos on Youtube. I was wondering if those type of videos would even benefit from Audio descriptions if a platform like Youtube adopts the technology?

  2. I've noticed that the major cinemas in Vancouver where I live offer Audio Descriptions (on films that they're available ofc) and I always wondered what this entailed and how useful they are. This video answered a lot of my questions! I think when YouTube adopt Audio Descriptions (they absolutely SHOULD) then it would be great for them to also provide examples because as people who have never had to access that kind of service before it's hard to know exactly how detailed or intrusive it should be (I felt the same with image descriptions before I saw your video on it). Basically this is such a super important conversation and I hope YouTube is listening.

    As for asking for accessibility – a whole other topic but it generally amounts to a good deal of advocacy and comes with its own 'dangers' as it seems business owners and service providers (especially small business) get either quite defensive or ignore us completely. But we have to do it because no one else can truly 'get it'.

  3. I loved this! I actually found a great cinema in my area that has the comfiest seats & was the most accessible/disability friendly theatre I've been to, with AD, CC & a very wheelchair friendly layout. It's interesting though, despite all this access, the sessions/movies with AD/CC available were, as you said, less than half of the movies/sessions that were there. Society still has a long way to go. -Victoria x

  4. Very cool demonstration. I liked the clip with the audio description. It was very in sync with the action. ๐Ÿ™‚ I think I would use audio descriptions so I could still enjoy a movie, but be doing something else while watching.

  5. Hi I'm blind person that lives in the UK. I have an Apple phone and I've been into my local Apple shop they are very helpful but they don't know much about what is best for me from their phones. When I asked him how come they don't know all the information the gentleman said to me that when they started working for Apple that they don't get trained up for the job are to help physically impaired eyesight people. Thank you for your video it really helped me with information. I will go to the Apple shop and show them your video and see what they say .from Sharron f UKXhugs

  6. Hey James. Tried to word this comment 5 times and to me it kept coming out wrong. First, I am sighted and have full hearing. I actually prefer watching things with captions. I just got used to it, and it is now weird when I don't have them. (Weird, right?) (this is the part where I keep writing a long description about migraines that I suffer from and blah blah. I just didn't want to compare it, because it's not the same, so I just left that long thing out…) getting to the point, I watched a movie with a blind fold and the audio descriptions and I actually preferred that. (Again not going into too much detail.)

    Just wanted to tell my opinion on the subject. (If you wanted to hear my "rant" I would explain)

    Keep up the great job.

  7. Hello James. Thank you so much for hopefully helping sighted people to understand why such accessability is needed, and wanted. I am totally blind, and have been since birth. Growing up, it seemed as some tv shows, and movies had more dialog. Or at least, maybe I thought they did. But now this doesn't seem to be the case, so much. I have enjoyed several movies audio described, and I love it! In the beginning though, it seemed at first there was too much audio description, or the narrators seemed overly excited. Just my thoughts there. When I was growing up, or as a young adult, my dad and I loved to go to the theater and watch movies together. He would try his best to describe things. But now I realize he left out a lot! For the first time, a few months ago, I went with a sighted friend, to see the latest Star Trek movie. We went to a theater out of our way, because they did offer the audio description. I absolutely loved the experience! However, the first device they gave me didn't work. The second one did. But I realized right away that when the movie would get louder, with sound affects and music, the audio description got very difficult to hear. You could only turn up the device so far. If you read all this, I honestly appreciate it. Please keep doing what you are doing. It's awesome, and very much appreciated.

  8. Too bad you guys didn't do a 4th version with a dark room and no audio descriptions. I imagine that might have had even more opinions from your sighted friends.

  9. Hi James. Do you play any games? Are you aware of the computer game "A Blind Legend" which is an audio-based game fully accessible to blind and visually impaired people?
    Is there audio description available for theater or opera?
    What do you enjoy more: movies or radio theater?

  10. I'm hard of hearing and I use closed caption/subtitles because it's difficult for me to follow along with movies and some actors have different speech patterns and I can't understand them.

  11. Hi James, I'm an Audio describer from New Zealand. Thank you for raising awareness around accessibility features like AD and Closed Captions. We very rarely get much feed back about the service from users, so its refreshing and inspiring to hear that a great many people find Audio description useful.

  12. This is amazing! My father is blind and it is really encouraging to know that there are more options for him to have entertainment! I discovered audio books a couple years ago and have been regularly updating him on his favorite books. If I could give him his movies back it would mean the world to me!

  13. Netflix has an entire section of audio described content. I listened to the matrix 2 weeks ago. The titles that are featured in this section cycle every week or two. ALways getting new movies and shows with descriptive audio.Every movie i have listened to has audio descriptions. smart tvs have voiceover and talkback and you can turn on audio descriptionts for live television. The ps4 and Xbox one have text to speech/narrator for the blind to use the consoles. I play video games such as Call of Duty, Grand theft auto and Diablo. Accessibility in entertainment and gaming is very important.

  14. Where I live when I ask for audio description and they end up giving a gadget that has subtitles it was funny but I had to go ask for the headset ๐Ÿ˜‚

  15. I am a sighted individual. I need glasses to see clearly, but I am not in the visually impaired or blind community.

    I have watched films/videos with audio descriptions, and at first it felt strange but after a while it helped me understand much better what was going on.

    BUT I am also someone that watches English films (my native language) almost ALWAYS with English subtitles as well.

    Always have. You see, seeing AND hearing something (for me) is helpful, while I very much believe they trigger a different part of the brain, than just listening to the film.

    I strongly recommend this for sighted people, I always get more out of the story this way. And I guarantee you will as well, as long as the subs donโ€™t annoy you and end up taking away from the movie.

  16. This is really awesome. Thank you for this intro to audio descriptions. As a board member for an Independent Living Center it's always good to learn more about accessibility, accommodations, and what's needed out there. And it also goes to show that Netflix is light years ahead of most. Good to know where to put my money if I have to choose between platforms. ๐Ÿ™‚ Yes, they should care.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *