Stephen Kerr's Blog

"Hearing" A Movie

This past weekend, I decided to catch a movie while relaxing at home after dinner. Nothing unusual about that on the surface, but this movie had an element not many people know about. It was an "audio-described" movie. Audio description, also called Descriptive Video, is used by people who are blind to follow movies, television shows, plays, and other events. A narrator, or describer, gives a verbal picture of visual elements that a blind person like myself would not be able to see: costumes, facial expressions, scene changes, gestures, etc. The extra audio narration is placed so as not to interfere with the dialogue or action of what you're watching. The movie I watched (yes, I do use the word "watch" just like anyone else) was the action thriller "Behind Enemy Lines" which came out in 2001. It's a fictional story of the Bosnian Civil War during the 1990's, starring Owen Wilson and Gene Hackman. The plot centers around an American Naval flight officer (Wilson) whose plane is shot down during a recon mission after entering a no-fly zone to check out some suspicious activity. What he discovers are mass graves from a secret genocidal operation by the Bosnian Serb Army against the local Muslim population. A trailer of the film (minus the audio description) can be found here: Thanks to the audio describer, I was able to know as much detail as a sighted person about what was happening visually. For example: "The Admiral took a handful of documents and flung them across the room." Usually, I would have to guess what is going on, figure it out later, or have a sighted person quickly whisper it to me. What a wonderful experience I had with the audio description! I not only "heard" the movie, but "saw it" through this great innovation. For more information about audio described events, visit:

04/26/2010 11:46AM
"Hearing" A Movie
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