Function, Style and Accessibility

by Joe Gillespie — Mar 1, 2002

Like a lot of other people, I like to crash out on a Saturday night in front of a television set with a movie DVD. I hadn't really explored a DVD's 'options' menu before, other than to take the odd peek at out-takes or documentaries about special effects, so last Saturday night I thought I would investigate further.

I understood the concept of 'captions' but what did 'commentary on/off' mean? Well, switching on the commentary and running the beginning of the film again made it all clear. There was a voice-over on top of the soundtrack describing what was happening in the plot - such as it was! Hey, it was just like a radio play. So this DVD could be used by people who couldn't see it, with the commentary switched on, and by people who couldn't hear it, with the subtitles on. Great! So technology does have its uses after all. Actually, this particular film would have been improved by switching off the captions, subtitles and TV set, but that's another story.

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