Update: UPDATE 66 D-Scriptive

The New York Times catches up with developments in automated audio description in Seeing the Show with their Ears: Technology Extends Theater’s Thrills to Blind Patrons, published earlier this month.  Blind theatregoers at a Broadway performance of The Lion King were interviewed about their experience of using the D-Scriptive system. As the article explains:

“Because every live performance is slightly different, playing a single audio track wouldn’t work: before long, the action would outrun or lag the description on the tape. D-Scriptive solved the problem by dicing up its narration — into more than 600 audio files in the case of The Lion King. An individual file, or cluster of them, is assigned to a particular cue given by the theater’s stage manager. After an actor utters a certain line, for example, the manager speaks the next cue into the microphone, which in turn tips off D-Scriptive’s computer to broadcast the corresponding bit of explanation to its patrons’ earpieces: On the left are two giraffes and a cheetah….
D-Scriptive, initiated in 2006 with Wicked, is now available at six shows on Broadway, with more in the pipeline. Theatergoers used the service 2,717 times last year, 541 of those for The Lion King, according to Carl Anthony Tramon, director of special services for Sound Associates, the company behind D-Scriptive. Leased by the theaters, the service is free for users.”

The interviewees’ comments on their experience of using audio description are especially enlightening. The article can be accessed at:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/07/theater/technology-extends-theaters-thrills-to-blind-patrons.html