VITAC and Fox Developing Live Audio Description Offering


VITAC has always valued its position at the forefront of accessible media technology and recently successfully concluded its latest experiment in developing new services. In cooperation with Fox Broadcasting Company, VITAC conducted an off-air test of live audio description for the FOX broadcast of the American Country Awards. Like its offline counterpart, real-time audio description involves a narrator describing significant events in a program for the benefit of blind and low-vision viewers.

The purpose of the test was to explore the best means of conducting live audio description. In a FOX audio booth, our live audio description team performed the trial, including SVP Market Development Deborah Schuster; Founder of Audio Eyes, LLC Rick Boggs; and description industry expert Teri Grossman, who has extensive experience describing live theater events as well as offline broadcast content. To prepare, the team watched the Awards rehearsal feed coming into FOX-LA from the venue in Las Vegas. This gave the describer the opportunity to take notes which could then be used during the live broadcast for the description elements.

During the actual broadcast’s commercials, FOX staff and the VITAC/Audio Eyes participants discussed the progress of the test ¬†and tweaked the audio levels for the description and the program as needed. It was apparent that awards shows are a good fit for live audio description, as there is ample time between awards and presentations to describe the “pomp and circumstance” such as attendees’ dress, elements of the stage settings, etc.

We look forward to bringing you more news about this exciting service offering in 2014!