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RE: Audio Descriptions for Talking Heads

From: Bailey, Bruce <Bailey@Access-Board.gov>
Date: Fri, 24 Jun 2011 09:41:28 -0400
Message-ID: <23EB0B5A59FF804E9A219B2C4EF3AE3D020ECBA2@Access-Exch.Access-Board.gov>
To: "David MacDonald" <david100@sympatico.ca>
Cc: "Scott Hollier" <Scott.Hollier@mediaaccess.org.au>, "WCAG" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
> So you are requiring Audio Description of a talking head... the
opening/closing credits, and the name and title of the person speaking?

First, just to be pedantic, I would recommend fastidiously avoiding
capitalizing the term "audio description" unless you are purposely
referring to DVDs and broadcast television where the descriptive
narration is on a secondary audio track.  Second, the "you are
requiring" phrasing of your question also makes me anxious as the Access
Board does not enforce 508.  Now that I have my disclaimers out of the
way, let me respond substantively!

Typically, a person sends me a URL and asks if I think the video
conforms to 508.  For talking head videos, often the only thing missing
is narration at the beginning and end.

> Why can't those be put in static text alternatives, given that they
are not time based (unless the speaker changes)? ...  but I think a
static alternative should be sufficient, no?

Yes, some agencies will choose to remediate existing content by adding
content to "a static alternative" (as you call it), usually a paragraph
which is already associated with the video.  I think one could make a
very credible case that this practice conforms to WCAG 2.0.  If so, we
probably need a Sufficient Technique to this effect.

> The problem is not the *amount* of AD required, if even one word is
required it's almost as hard as if there is a lot of it.

Understood.  Most often my advice is in the context of advising
government 508 coordinators what they should be telling their media
folks.  The media folks have no idea how to add Audio Descriptions (big
AD) but adding a voice over for the opening title they easily

> it is getting into a studio (or buying an expensive software package
that's the big investment)... even if it's just to announce a title...
it might be easier in the future

As is often the case, accessibility can be trivial when considered early
in the process, but difficult and expensive after the fact!
Received on Friday, 24 June 2011 13:37:53 UTC

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