AUDIO DESCRIPTION

Co-directed with Fernando Baena 

HD / colour / 46′ / 2011

 

Audio Description is the second work of the Video for the Blind project. It examines the relationship of blind people with cinema, television and other audiovisual media, starting from a process of collaboration with them at the level of script, shooting and editing. An audiovisual work that seeks to involve blind people in its creation must inevitably make use of description and dialogue. But what is lost and what is gained in the translation of the visual image into the verbal image? This is what we find most interesting in the end: questioning the power of description and dialogue as a means of representing images and actions and, through them, concepts and feelings. The misunderstandings, the misconceptions, the traps of language, the tricks of the image, the editing.

In a simultaneous audio-description it would be very difficult to have time to describe all the elements necessary for an active and critical enjoyment of the film, which would allow the blind people involved in this work to evaluate and appreciate the quality of the performances of the actors, technicians and director, their successes and their mistakes. We tried to give our protagonists the widest possible access to the film. Para ello no nos basta con que sigan la historia. To do this, it is not enough for us that they  follow the story. It is also necessary to make them aware of the lighting qualities, the set and props, the framing, the camera movements, the position and movement of the actors, their expressions, the director’s choices, the editing issues, the formal, expressive and conceptual meanings and implications of the whole, which are significant. We follow a method that is, shall we say, phenomenological, taking nothing for granted. To achieve this, we start with a first listening session, as impartial as possible, in which we do not intervene. However, we ask our collaborators to try to remember their process of getting to know the story and what they think and feel in the meantime. They will follow the story only with the sound elements present in the film and only with the previous notes that any person, sighted or not, would need to understand the story without having seen the previous sequences of the film: “This is a sequence from The Bride of Frankenstein, directed by James Whale in 1935. The film is in black and white. The aspect ratio is 3/4. The soundtrack consists of dialogue, sound and music. Editing, by cut. The sequence begins when Frankenstein’s monster, fleeing from his pursuers, arrives at a hut”.

At the end of the hearing, the blind people give as much detail as possible about their understanding of the film sequence and answer specific questions about facts related to the film. The sequence is then explained to them in a shot-by-shot description, as a sighted person would describe not only the story being told, but also the aesthetic qualities and the filming process. The next step is to explain the misunderstandings, over-understandings and ambiguities that occurred in the audition and to try to find out and discuss how and why they occurred. Finally, a second screening of the film sequence takes place.

 

With the participation of Yago Fernández, Enrique López Clavel and Lucio Javier Ramírez.

This project was developed with the 2010 Matadero Madrid Contemporary Creation Grants from Madrid City Council.