A Blind Accessible Music Video

Here’s something I’ve never seen before. A music video with audio description for the blind.

As a blind person, I appreciate the idea behind this. If I’m going to get anything at all out of the video portion of a music video, somebody is going to have to tell me what’s happening. I’m quite thankful for the patient family and friends who used to get stuck doing running commentary on shows like Video Hits or the CHUM FM 30 for me back in the day. Made me feel like I was part of the shared experience instead of just listening to the music from the radio through the TV.

But as cool as built-in DVS is as a concept, it was extremely distracting to watch. I think I know why, though.

My introduction to the song was this video. That’s too much simultaneous input, quite simply. Yes, I want to know what’s happening in the video. But I also want to listen to the song. My brain could not get a handle on which of those things was more important, and so I wound up not getting as much out of either incoming stream as I should have because I kind of shorted out after a while.

If I ever watch another one of these (I definitely will assuming artists make more of them), I’m going to do my best to listen to the song once or twice first. I think that will make it much easier to handle the competition for my attention.

Hit play on Christina Martin’s latest music video and you’ll hear an unfamiliar voice.
Instead of the Nova Scotia singer’s vocals, an audio description begins for those who are visually impaired, describing Martin’s wavy blond hair, black dress and a shadowy setting in a historic house before the music kicks in.

“I didn’t know that anybody would care, and people do care. People have listened to that version who would not have otherwise,” Martin told CBC Radio’s Mainstreet on Tuesday about the audio described version of her Stay with Me video.
“For me, I’m reaching new audience with the art, making a connection, which is, I think, a goal for a lot of artists.”

Here’s the full story and a radio interview from the CBC if you’re interested in more about the why and how of what she’s doing.

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