TIME movies

This Is What Going to the Movies Is Like If You’re Blind

Yes, vision-impaired people do go to the movies

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It’s right there in the name: the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

But, as this new video from the Academy — the folks who bring you the Oscars — makes clear, you don’t need to see the pictures in order to enjoy a movie. The Academy (AMPAS) has just launched a new video series of documentary-style looks at some little-known aspects of movie-making. This particular video, one of the first to kick off the series, explains what it’s like to go to the movies if you’re unable to see what’s on the screen.

It’s an experience that the sighted might not ever consider. After all, even those who can’t see describe going to the movies as seeing or watching a movie. But, as Tommy Edison of BlindFilmCritic.com explains in this video, the images are a relatively small fraction of what makes up a movie.

To fill in the gaps where images are necessary to explain the story, some theaters and films offer video description, an audio track on which the visual elements are described out loud during breaks in the dialogue. Around 2:10 in the video above, you can experience what it’s like to “watch” a movie when you can’t see anything — and, though the visual elements are certainly exciting, it’s easy to understand how you could enjoy it without them.

“I enjoy [movies] just like you do,” Edison concludes, “and I love them and I always have and I always will.”

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