Fred’s Head from APH, a Blindness Blog

Fred’s Head, offered by the American Printing House for the Blind, contains tips, techniques, tutorials, in-depth articles, and resources for and by blind or visually impaired people. Our blog is named after the legendary Fred Gissoni, renowned for answering a seemingly infinite variety of questions on every aspect of blindness.

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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

AudioVision Canada (AVC)

One reason so many of us love the movies is that a good film can transport us to another world. A film can take us to alien worlds, introduce us to foreign cultures, get us to consider curious characters, an even let us experience a 2-hour walk on the wild side. A person who is blind or visually impaired can enjoy these same cinematic experiences--provided the film provides enough clues and cues to what's occurring on screen.

A service provided by AudioVision Canada is helping millions of blind and vision impaired Canadians catch-up and keep up with their favorite TV shows and classic films. The AVC's staff of professional and volunteer technicians provide audio description of visual elements essential to understanding a particular story line.

AVC has a substantial catalogue of described movies with more titles added every month. Movies are available in two formats -- video and AudioCinema. The video version is a video of the movie with a described narrative woven into the original sound track. AudioCinema is exactly that -- an audio version of the described movie on audio cassette.

For the videos, AVC technicians have added the audio descriptions and narration in a way that does not alter the original actors' dialogue and is unobtrusive for sighted viewers. This means blind and VI and sighted viewers can all enjoy the same program independently and without interruption.

Since its inception in 1995, AVC has produced a library of programs: the majority of which are of films and TV shows that are in the public domain. It has also established a training program to train quality "describers." Among the classic films for which the service has provided descriptive audio are:

  • The 39 Steps (a Hitchcock classic)
  • Blackbeard the Pirate
  • Meet John Doe (Frank Capra's 1941 classic starring Gary Cooper)
  • Our Town (starring William Holden)
  • Shane (the proto-typical western starring Alan Ladd and Jack Palance)
  • Theater of Blood (Vincent Price and Diana Rigg)
  • The Third Man (starring Orson Welles)
  • To Kill a Mockingbird (with Gregory Peck)

AVC movies are available for order from the National Broadcast Reading Service web site (the NBRC is the non-profit agency that administers the program). The web site contains instructions for placing orders within and outside Canada. For more information about AudioVision, use the contact information below.

AudioVision Canada
150 Laird Drive Annex
Toronto, Ontario M4L 2W7
Toll Free: 800-567-6755
Phone: 416-422-4222
Fax: 416-422-4847

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