The audio description of characters in films encompasses from brief descriptions to long and detailed ones. Guidelines and standards suggest how to approach the audio description of characters, and some practitioners, such as Bernd Benecke, have even developed models for character audio description. However, it remains to be determined how the audience receives audio descriptions and how various strategies (inclusion of more or less features, inclusion of these features in one or more silent gaps) affect the end user reception. This paper will present part of the results of a reception study aimed at exploring whether the amount of information included in the audio description of characters and its presentation have an effect on user's recall. Testing materials included four self-contained clips in four different conditions (long/short character audio description, presentation in one block/more blocks of information). Forty-four blind or visually impaired participants (21 male, 23 female), aged 18 to 76, were asked to watch four audio clips, one per condition. Free recall and recognition questionnaires were then administered, as well as a WAIS-III Digit Span Forward test to measure participants' memory span and classify them into two groups (low/high span). Results indicate what strategies enhance character recall, but also provide data on what features are more frequently recalled by audiences and which ones are generally obviated. This specific aspect will be the focus of our presentation. The results will be discussed from two perspectives: on the one hand, taking into account how they relate to current theoretical models of character construction and, on the other, analysing how they can be transferred into real practices or recommendations.
Fresno Cañada, Nazaret, et al. “Audio describing characters : what features do audiences remember?” ARSAD (Advanced Research Seminar on Audio Description), no. 5, 2015. ddd.uab.cat, https://ddd.uab.cat/record/131429.
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ARSAD (Advanced Research Seminar on Audio Description)