Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Teleplays on your TV

Ever do something but then not know how in the heck you did it or how to stop it? And then somehow you stop it but haven’t a clue how you did that either?

I tend to tape things on TV with the intention of watching them at some more convenient time. As a result, we have tapes stacked on the TV. I’ve at least learned to date them and list what I recorded. I went to watch one over the weekend.

Somehow, and I honestly don’t know how, I managed to tape a show with a narrator talking over the show. It apparently is one of those conveniences like having the actors speak Spanish. Or one I use when I’m on the treadmill, which is very noisy -- having written captions of dialogue appear on the screen. But this one was totally unexpected. A woman just started talking, telling me everything happening on the screen (not the dialogue though). Apparently it’s designed for the blind.

I stopped the tape and tried every item on the VCR menu, but couldn’t find anything that sounded like this. I went through the menu for the TV. Nothing. It must be a choice you make before you tape or it’s too late to change.

At first, it was annoying. But as the show progressed, it occurred to me that this was like having the script of the show. And I didn’t have to look down to read the script; it was being read to me. A script tends to have descriptions that are sparse, but what is there uses strong verbs and few but telling adjectives. And this was what I was hearing.

It was a great learning experience. You could hear what might have been the script descriptions and compare them to what appeared on the screen. By the end of the show, I was loving the idea.

Now if I just knew how I fumbled around and turned the narrator-option off, then I could turn it back on.

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