Recently, one of my friends asked me if I had any tips for creating audio description for fireworks, as they had missed getting to watch fireworks now that they lived in an area where there weren’t many. While I can’t make fireworks appear in the sky (not sure that launching them would end well for me), I can find ways to describe fireworks for people that are blind or low vision so that they don’t miss out on the fun. Here are my tips for creating audio description for fireworks in a variety of different settings.
First, what is audio description?
Audio description is an additional audio track that provides visual information for people who otherwise would not see it. It’s most commonly used by people who have blindness or low vision, though it can also be beneficial for people who want a detailed visual description of an event. Audio description can be used to describe movies, TV shows, museums, music videos, plays, amusement park rides, and so much more.
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Benefits of creating audio description for fireworks
Creating audio description for fireworks is awesome, and can help to benefit users in a lot of different ways. Some of the ways creating audio description for fireworks can help audiences include:
- Fireworks are highly visual and sound does not provide enough information for users to know what they look like
- It may be difficult for audiences to see fireworks due to lighting conditions or where they are located
- Shapes can be difficult to ee in the sky if a viewer has low vision
- Some viewers may love fireworks but have a medical condition that keeps them from being able to look at them directly- audio description can help fill in these gaps
- Fireworks are a lot of fun and tend to be an exciting event, so it is best to include as many people as possible!
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Options for creating audio description
For people looking to create audio description for fireworks, there are a few options for recording audio description. Regardless of what option is chosen, the method for creating audio description is the same.
Using a tool such as YouDescribe
For videos of fireworks on YouTube, users can create their own audio description using the free YouDescribe tool using the guidelines listed below. One of the main benefits of using YouDescribe is that anyone can see the video after it is described, so other blind/low vision users can enjoy the fireworks as well!
USING A LIVE AUDIO DESCRIBER
Having someone audio describe the fireworks in real time allows for descriptions to be created on the spot, which is great for more spontaneous events. Audio describers can be speaking in front of an audience to narrate information, or use another service such as a radio or phone to broadcast description.
AMATEUR AUDIO DESCRIPTION
This is probably the most common method for creating audio description for fireworks, because many people do not know about audio description or how to access it. Having another person in the group create audio descriptions can be great when there is no other description available, though there may be more errors since this person is not a professional.
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Information to include when describing fireworks
- Where the fireworks are being shot- this may not need a lot of detail, but can be helpful when starting the video
- Movement/path of travel- do the fireworks move in a spiral, do they shoot straight up in the air, do they float in the air?
- Color of fireworks, such as red, green, blue, etc
- Shapes of fireworks and their size, such as circles arranged in the shape of Mickey Mouse
- How colors are arranged, i.e red, white, and blue fireworks launching across the sky
- Other light effects, such as shimmering, sparkling, glowing, twinkling, etc
- Noting when fireworks fade or disappear from the screen/sky
Information to exclude when describing fireworks
- Over-describing basic shapes or what colors look like- no need to explain what a dog looks like, or the color green
- Descriptions of every individual firework in a large setting- focus on how the scene looks as a whole
- Adding sound effects to the description, such as saying “boom!”
- Non-relevant visual information, such as a plane in the sky or a stop sign in the corner, unless they are part of the show
- Descriptions of what the fireworks sound like, or any other music sounds
Examples of audio descriptions
Some examples of audio description for fireworks include:
- Thin streams of red and green extend from a white center across the sky, getting bigger and bigger as the color fades
- A series of five small blue fireworks explode in a circular pattern
- Two white small circles and one large white circle in the center explode and show a shimmering effect, which looks like the head of Mickey Mouse
- Red, white, and blue fireworks shoot off quickly in the sky, filling the entire sky with color
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Watching fireworks is an enjoyable experience for many people, and a holiday tradition here in the United States. By learning how to create audio description for fireworks, these performances can be accessible for people who are blind, low vision, or otherwise sensitive to light. I hope this post on creating audio description for fireworks is helpful for others!