When the Taylor Swift Reputation Stadium Tour premiered on New Year’s Eve, I wasn’t sure if I was going to be able to watch it. I have low vision and photosensitive migraines as a result of a brain condition, so often times I have to watch concert videos with my eyes closed. I miss out on a lot of the exciting visuals and often have to ask my friends what’s happening on-screen.
Lucky for me, the Taylor Swift Reputation Stadium Tour has audio description, so fans of Taylor Swift (Swifties) can watch the video with their friends without missing out on anything. Today, I will be sharing my Taylor Swift Reputation Stadium Tour audio description review and how audio description can help more Swifties watch the amazing concert.
There are no spoilers here- this is just a review of how I use audio description.
The Taylor Swift Reputation Stadium Tour is a Netflix-exclusive concert special that chronicles the final stop of Taylor Swift’s most recent tour in Dallas, Texas. It features performances of many of her most popular songs from Reputation, as well as hits from her five previous albums. The concert has many visual effects including colorful and shiny costumes, dancing, elaborate props, and large amounts of strobe lighting throughout.
What is audio description?
Audio description, sometimes referred to as descriptive audio or described video, is an additional narrator track that provides visual information for people who otherwise would not be able to see it. Audio description is provided during natural pauses in dialogue so it does not distract from the video. When using audio description on Netflix, no additional hardware or software is necessary.
- Fast facts about audio description
- Watching “Dear Evan Hansen” with audio description
- How to add audio description to YouTube videos
Who benefits from audio description?
Some examples of people that would benefit from Taylor Swift Reputation Stadium Tour audio description include fans that have any of the following conditions:
- Low vision, blindness, or other vision impairment
- Epilepsy or other seizure conditions
- Autism or sensory processing disorder that can be triggered by strobe lighting
- Flicker vertigo
- ADHD that is affected by strobe lighting
Everyone is different, so some people with these conditions may not experience adverse health reactions to strobe lights. However, photosensitivity is more likely to affect children and young adults, which is a significant percentage of Taylor Swift’s audience.
How to turn on audio description
To enable Taylor Swift Reputation Stadium Tour audio description, follow these instructions:
- Hit the play button for Taylor Swift Reputation Stadium Tour
- Once the video is in full screen, click on the “audio and subtitles” option on the bottom of the screen
- Under audio settings (to the left of subtitles), select “English, audio description”
- Close the audio and subtitles section
- The first description that plays should either be for the Netflix title card or the Taylor Swift Productions title card
Once audio description is on, it will play automatically for all future programs. If you don’t want this to happen, make sure to switch the audio selection back to English at the end of the program.
How to turn on a screen curtain to avoid flashing lights
People who are especially sensitive to strobe or flashing lights may want to turn on a screen curtain or turn off the display of their screen to avoid them.
For iPhone and iPad users, hit the play button on the video and then lock the screen. This will cause the audio to temporarily pause, but users can then hit the play button for the audio on the lockscreen.
For people using their computer, I recommend minimizing the Netflix window and just listening to the audio.
When I had severe flashing light sensitivities, my parents would cover the TV with a blanket so that I couldn’t see the lights. This is a low-tech fix, but it definitely works.
What is described
Here are the elements that are mentioned in Taylor Swift Reputation Stadium Tour audio description:
- Taylor’s facial expressions
- Fans in the audience during instrumentals or rest
- Some movement and dancing
- Some on-stage props
- Images projected on the stage screens
- On-screen text
- Descriptions of dancers
- Guest appearances
What isn’t described
Here are the elements that are not mentioned in Taylor Swift Reputation Stadium Tour audio description:
- Some movement and dancing when Taylor Swift is singing
- Most lighting effects
- Specific dance choreography
- Taylor Swift’s facial expressions while singing
- Some images on the stage screens
The point of audio description is for it to be as unobtrusive as possible. Taylor’s singing or talking is never interrupted, so that way fans don’t get annoyed with an overload of information. This means that some minor details are left out, but this did not impact my enjoyment of the video.
How does audio description help?
By watching Taylor Swift Reputation Stadium Tour with audio description, fans are able to listen to additional details that enhance their experience of watching the video. While fans can certainly just listen to the show, many Swifties will love hearing about Taylor’s different costumes, what props are used during a song, and how the fans in the audience are cheering her on.
When I first watched the Taylor Swift Reputation Stadium Tour, I decided to listen to it without any additional audio description. While it was easy to feel the energy of the show, I felt like I was missing out on a lot of the theatrical elements that made the show extraordinary. By listening to the audio description, I was able to imagine myself in the audience seeing the incredible performance, without having to worry about the strobe lights giving me a migraine.
I loved watching Taylor Swift’s performance in Taylor Swift Reputation Stadium Tour with audio description. I’m glad Netflix included audio description for viewers, because it helps to ensure people with vision impairments or photosensitivity are not left out of the magic of the concert.