A Charlie Chaplin classic gets the audio description treatment

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Tuesday, 11 December 2012 14:03pm

Canadian access company Descriptive Video Works has audio described the vintage silent film The Gold Rush to bring to life one of Charlie Chaplin’s most famous works for the blind and vision impaired.

Audio description is normally provided for content that has a range of other aural elements, such as dialogue, sound effects and music, all of which play important roles in storytelling. The challenge presented by a silent film for audio describers is that apart from music, all elements of the movie must be described, as there is no dialogue or sound effects.

Descriptive Video Works, a Vancouver-based provider of captioned and audio described content for TV, cinema, theatre and video, was tasked with the job of describing The Gold Rush for TV Channel Zero. This is one of the first classic silent films to have been given an audio description soundtrack, opening up a new genre for vision impaired film lovers to enjoy. 

The Academy Award winning box office hit The Artist was audio described when it was released earlier this year. A tribute to the golden age of silent film, the movie demonstrated that even the most visually-dominant content can provide a rich and enjoyable experience for blind and vision impaired audiences.

According to a 2004 report by Access Economics [PDF 1.89 MB], the number of Australians with blindness or vision impairment will reach 800,000 by 2024, adding roughly another 250,000 Australians who will rely on audio description to enjoy a range of entertainment sources and the social interaction they bring.

To start enjoying audio description now, you can search over a thousand audio described DVDs in our DVD database, all available to rent or buy from standard retail outlets.

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