Hollywood’s Biggest Night Embraced Accessibility

March 30, 2023
3 min read

The 95th annual Oscars celebration took place on March 12th, and this year Hollywood’s biggest night was more accessible than ever, with American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters, custom design for the event including ramp access for all attendees, an access guide for press and attendees, captioning, and Audio Description (AD).

Descriptive Video Works (DVW) was very proud to provide the live audio description for this prestigious event. It was a team effort with blind and sighted team members, Nefertiti Matos Olivares, Erin Muroski, Joseph V. Amodio and Scott Blanks, working collaboratively to ensure that blind and low vision audiences had the best viewing experience possible.

“The blind perspective must be represented,” said Matos Olivares. “Placing blind professionals in roles critical to the audio description creation process will only enhance the overall quality of this art form.” Descriptive Video Works had two blind professionals on the team, including voice talent Nefertiti Matos Olivares and Quality Control specialist Scott Blanks, who also coordinated the event for DVW. 

Live audio description has its own unique challenges, as there is limited time and restricted access to content, so the describers need to work quickly to provide rich narration about the visuals without stepping on dialogue or other important audio. Live events can be particularly challenging for describers as there can be unexpected changes with the order, presenters, and audio cues.

Joseph V. Amodio partnered with Scott Blanks for the Oscars red carpet, with Amodio providing the live audio description and Blanks offering feedback and suggestions during rehearsals and commercial breaks. The red carpet can be very challenging, according to Amodio: “the hosts are talking almost the entire time, so we have to identify the celebrity, take in the outfit, and figure out how to describe the key visual elements within seconds.” 

As a QC Specialist, Scott Blanks generally works with pre-recorded content, vetting scripts and recorded content for word choice, pronunciation and tone. This year’s ceremony was Blanks’ first experience with live audio description and he provided Quality Control for both the red carpet and the main event. His biggest takeaway: “Don’t let the unpredictability of live entertainment rule over you. Have fun with it.”

The description process for the Oscars main ceremony was different from the red carpet, with Erin Muroski and Nefertiti Matos Olivares working in tandem to describe the event. Muroski wrote scripts for  the pre-recorded visuals, and Matos Olivares reviewed the information, made suggestions and edits as necessary and narrated these segments live on the broadcast - while Muroski narrated the live elements of the event. Muroski said that working alongside Matos Olivares has made her a better describer: “Nefertiti has given me such valuable insight into exactly what our audience wants to know.” 

Live audio description is a very different process from audio description, and live events can be dynamic and uncertain, as well as stressful. “Sometimes the team will attend rehearsals or get pre-taped packages to review, but there are often changes so research and flexibility are key.” Muroski went on to add: “It can also be very rewarding, knowing our team has served the audience well.”

As the team reflected on the experience, Matos Olivares said, “My hope is that blind and sighted audio description partnerships become the norm, not the exception.” Rhys Lloyd, Studio Head of Descriptive Video Works agreed: “In order to have an inclusive and collaborative audio description experience, we need more blind and low vision professionals in key positions. Our team has shown what is possible, and how it can be successfully achieved.” Lloyd went on: “I have no doubt the success of this event will change the direction of live audio description moving forward.”

If you would like more information about live audio description, please contact us at [email protected]

October 24, 2023

Check Out Our New Website and Logo!

We are excited to announce that we have a new and improved website, and a redesigned logo to better serve our clients and audience.  The DVW (Descriptive Video Works) website has been updated and… Continue Reading Check Out Our New Website and Logo!
May 15, 2023

Celebrating 20 years of Descriptive Video Works!

On Thursday, May 4, Descriptive Video Works celebrated its 20th anniversary at the Granville Island Hotel, with a special evening of cocktails, memories, mingling and fun. This milestone event was attended by current and… Continue Reading Celebrating 20 years of Descriptive Video Works!
April 5, 2023

Please help us welcome Jennissary to the DVW team!

Jennissary (she/her) writes about her new role at DVW, as Producer for Live and Interactive Audio Description. About four years ago, someone made a request for sighted assistance on a gaming forum. When I… Continue Reading Please help us welcome Jennissary to the DVW team!
March 30, 2023

Hollywood’s Biggest Night Embraced Accessibility

The 95th annual Oscars™ celebration took place on March 12th, and this year Hollywood’s biggest night was more accessible than ever, with American Sign Language (ASL) interpreters, custom design for the event including ramp… Continue Reading Hollywood’s Biggest Night Embraced Accessibility
November 7, 2022

Welcome Nefertiti Matos Olivares!

Descriptive Video Works would like to welcome Nefertiti Matos Olivares to the team, as our new Workflow Manager for Quality and Inclusion, based in New York. Nefertiti comes to the role with an extensive… Continue Reading Welcome Nefertiti Matos Olivares!
DVW Logo: Descriptive Video Works in white.
Netflix Logo: A red letter N encircled by the words Post Partner Program.
TPN Logo: A shield with the letters TPN is ringed by a reel of tape beside the words Trusted Partner Network. Underneath are the words: Powered by Motion Picture Association.

Copyright © 2023

Opening entertainment experiences to people who are blind and low vision through audio description. On time. On budget. On target.

Descriptive Video Works
147 W 3rd Avenue
Vancouver, BC
V5Y 1E6