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Inclusion and information


  • Subtitles and sign language clarify or translate speech and sound for deaf and hearing impaired viewers.
  • Dubbing or subtitles might be used to translate speech into other languages.
  • Audio Description helps blind and visually impaired people to understand what is happening on screen when the dialogue and soundtrack do not already make this clear.

For each of these options, the filmmaker has to consider how much information is already available to the audience. They need to plan the positioning of subtitles and signing on screen, taking into account any other text and the danger of distracting people from a visual incident. Timing is also crucial.

Similarly audio description has to be timed to fit in with the dialogue, sound effects and music, and matched appropriately with the action.

Additional onscreen information

Sometimes there is a large amount of additional information: a news channel may have: you a live reporter delivering spoken information, with pre-recorded images on the ‘wall’ behind with a strap line telling who it is, unrelated headlines scrolling across, a clock and channel logo in the corner.

At other times you might have moving graphics, maps and diagrams, the photograph of a reporter sending a spoken report from a war zone, the voice of an interpreter over a picture of an eyewitness, or the scrolling opinions of viewers sent in by text and email.

Commercials, documentaries, game shows, comedy programmes; all these use different combinations of images and sound.