How to Describe a TV Series for a Blind Friend.




Introduction: How to Describe a TV Series for a Blind Friend.

Some TV series are described (DVS), but many are not and if you're blind or visually impaired things can get a little confusing. You can have a friend type out a description (which said friend will start to find a bit too time consuming), but recording an audio description works a lot better, and takes much less time.

Here is a tutorial on how to get the original videosound, with your own descriptions inserted in between. At the end you'll have an mp3 file. ( that you can use for podcasting )

This is my first instructable, and I appreciate all feedback and tips.
I couldn't add the image notes on my Windows machine (not in IE, not in Firefox, and the imported Flickr images didn't work either..) but it seems to work on my Mac so I'm updating those.

Step 1: What You Need

What you need.

- Mac (sorry, this can be done on Windows, but it's a LOT faster and easier on a Mac).
Software needed:
- iMovie '06 (Apple messed up the later version, it won't do).
- GarageBand (later version has option to save to mp3, better!)
- iTunes
- optional: Podcast Maker (if you want to make it a podcast this is the best program ever)

Step 2: IMovie

Get the episode you want to describe in a format iMovie accepts. I use DivX.

Image 1:
Open iMovie, choose "Create New Project" and set the format to MPEG4.
We will get rid of the video later on so the format doesn't matter much, and MPEG4 will take the least amount of disk space of all the available options.

Wait for the DivX to be imported and converted.

Click on "Media" and use the internal microphone to record.
(You can change this in System Preferences -Sound).

What you say will be recorded on a separate track underneath the Video one.
Very very handy, since you can adjust the volume of all the spoken parts at the end, without it affecting the video-audio volume. You want both to be about equal.

I describe something after it happens.
For example the video shows House walking to the whiteboard and putting his cane over the top, I hit Command-T and say "House walks to the whiteboard and puts his cane over the top".
Put the playhead on the left side of the "gap" again, and hit the red record button next to microphone. Describe (it helps to first formulate in your head what you want to say).

Image 2:

When you're done, drag the video on the right to the left so that it neatly borders the description.
Describe the rest of the episode.
When you're done, make sure you save it. Then hit
Share - Export to GarageBand.

Step 3: GarageBand

The importing will take a while - feed the cat/walk the dog.

Image 1 and 2:
Save(!), select the Video track, and choose "Delete Track".
It will ask you if you're sure. You are.

Image 3:
If you play the file, you'll notice the sound could be a little better.
GarageBand comes with handy preset filters.

Click on the "I"in the circle, then Podcasting and then (depending on gender) Male/Female narrator noisy.
Instantly gets applied.

Image 4:
My podcast has the same intro for every episode.
Drag the sound to the right to make room, Hit the "music icon thingy", and insert the intro music.

Drag sound back to the left so they join up.

Image 5:
Check and make sure the volume of the intro is about the same as that of the description.
If not adjust. (click triangle, drag dB slider up/down.)

Image 6:
Adjust output volume so it doesn't get in the red part.
Choose Share , Export song to disk.

Step 4: ITunes

Open iTunes, import the file, and convert it to mp3.

image 2:
This mp3 can now be shared with others, and/or imported into PodcastMaker .
More screenshots on their website.

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    13 Discussions


    7 years ago on Introduction

    Awesome instructable. Are you still doing these, and have you ever shared the result more widely into the blind community than just to the friend you refer to?
    I do a lot of work with blind people and with charities, and we're interested in making stuff like this as useful and as widely available as possible... Thanks :-)


    Reply 7 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks! I stopped recording these a while ago. It usually took me a full day/weekend and I didn't really have enough time anymore, and to be honest I also hardly got any donations and I couldn't find any sponsors (I didn't look too hard for those though, prefer something community supported). I liked recording them, but I also like the freedom now I don't have to do so anymore every week.

    I podcasted all episodes and dropped a link in a Yahoo group for blind people a few times. (I started with House and later did a handful of episodes of Modern Family and Alias). When I quit everyone who had ever donated or bought an episode had access to the full archive of everything for a few months for free. The domain has since expired so there is no instant access anymore, but I still have all the files and maybe (some of) my podcasts are floating around online somewhere as well..?


    11 years ago on Introduction

    Where you say "export song to disk," you can click "send song to itunes" to get an immediate itunes transfer. Great instructable! By the way, where are you from? Max


    Reply 11 years ago on Introduction

    Thanks! Think that might not have been the case in the earlier version of the software, but it indeed is what I do now :) Netherlands here.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    the name is completly undirecting but good indtrucatble tho


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    What do you mean (I'm not English, what is "undirecting"?), and what would you suggest I'd change it to?


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    I believe he means 'misleading', but I could be wrong. In any case, I think he is.


    12 years ago on Introduction

    whell its more like how to make a podcast


    Reply 12 years ago on Introduction

    Not really - you can use the resulting mp3 file for anything you like, don't need to podcast it if you don't want to. It's just the easiest way for others to get it since it downloads/updates automatically. I tried several ways of describing House for my blind friend, and tried several different software programs. On Windows it was a bit of a struggle: Record " audio through" in Adobe Audition, while playing the divx file in Windows Media player. Had to click Pause a lot and there was no way to get the video-audio on 1 track, and my voice on an other. So I had to make sure the volume was right before I started. Involved a LOT of editing afterwards. On a Mac it turned out there was a very easy way to get the video audio on 1 track, and my voice/description on the other, and then make an mp3 of it (with good sound quality). Also there's hardly any editing afterwards. I can correct errors in the description by just re-recording that sentence, and I can adjust the volume of voice/video sound separately. So I figured I'd spare other people the messing around in Windows, and make an Instructable for describing on a Mac. At the same time I hope someone will start describing another series that doesn't come with DVS. Since it's not just my 1 blind friend listening anymore, but people from all over the world ;) Hope this explanation makes it a bit clearer why I chose the title. Happy holidays!