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Welcome to the Audio Description Project!

Here you will learn everything about Audio Description, from what is it, to samples, to who does it, to how and where it is available in various media.  You can also join our online discussion, follow us on Facebook or Twitter, and be notified of updates to this page by typing your email address in the box to the right and pressing the Submit button. 

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Featured Articles

YouDescribe Describe-a-Thon Saturday April 21

The 2018 Describe-a-Thon will be held Saturday April 21.  Amateur and professional audio describers worldwide will describe as many YouTube videos as can be done in a single day.  Volunteer describers will use YouDescribe – Smith-Kettlewell's free, web-based tool for recording and playing audio description for any YouTube video, while volunteer viewers can rate videos 1-5 stars.  Amazon Gift Cards will be awarded in seven categories.  Learn more at Describe-a-Thon 2018!  (Posted April 19)

Cooper Hewitt Museum Audio Description

The Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum at 2 East 91st Street in New York City offers multiple accessibility features, including twice-weekly verbal description tours, online audio description (try their blog), a smartphone app with audio text, Large Print, and Braille.  Here is a sample of the museum description.  You can also read an article about the museum's description initiatives, Cooper Hewitt Takes On Verbal Description, plus read about their current exhibit (audio described), The Senses: Design Beyond VisionWoman of Her Word donated technical services and voice talent, as owner Michele Spitz has done for other organizations. 

On a related subject, play the video on the following page to hear a visually impaired art museum tour guide explain How Do Visually Impaired People Enjoy Art?.  (Posted Apr 17)

The History of Audio Description in Sport

Our friends at RNIB (Royal National Institute of Blind People) in the UK have produced a podcast on the RNIB Podcast Channel entitled The History of Audio Description in Sport.  Give it a listen!  (Posted Apr 17)

Nominations Are Now Open For The
2018 ACB/ADP Achievement Awards

It's time once again to nominate an individual or organization for one of six achievement awards in the field of audio description.  Please read the nomination procedure page for details!  (Posted Apr 13)

Actiview Needs Your Help!

Actiview offers a free App which supplies audio description tracks for movies you watch at home or in a movie theater.  Currently they offer AD tracks for five movies, and they are negotiating with movies studios to acquire additional tracks.  They are requesting YOUR help by responding to them in one of two ways:

  1. Submit a video talking about an accessibility challenge you’ve faced.
  2. Share a testimonial either describing your accessibility challenge or your experience watching movies with the Actiview App.

Assuming you didn't receive a copy of their email, you can view a copy of the Actiview Request here, which includes instructions for submitting a video.  If you want to respond in text only, send your testimonial to team@actiview.co after reading their email (yes, ".co" not ".com").  The deadline is Monday April 30.  (Posted Apr 17)

Ryerson University Needs Your Help Too!

The Inclusive Media and Design Centre at Ryerson University is conducting a study to assess the market feasibility to develop a course series/certificate about accessible media/broadcasting.  They are looking for the following individuals to fill out an online questionnaire:

  1. Current Students in programs such as Television, Radio Arts, Broadcasting, Audio production, English, Theatre).
  2. Recent Graduates of programs above (within the past 5 years).
  3. People working in an industry where they have access to or experience with audio description / closed captioning.

If you qualify and are willing to participate, please take the Ryerson survey by April 30!  (Posted Apr 17)

More Airlines Offer AD Movies

Your webmaster just got back from vacation in Europe (thus the lack of site updates for two weeks ...) and found two more airlines offering audio described movies:  United and Lufthansa.  Both airlines had lots of described movies including current ones.

The United feature was just announced publicly on April 12; see the United Press Release.  Other airlines offering AD include ANA (Japan), Emirates, KLM, Virgin Atlantic, and Virgin Australia. 

You probably won't find this on all the airlines' video systems, as AD may be phasing in on newer systems, and don't expect a talking interface!  Ask a cabin attendant for assistance if necessary; but for now, you may find they don't know what you are talking about!  A search of the United and Lufthansa websites for "audio description" produced no matches.  It is nice to know we are making progress, though.  (Updated Apr 19)

Audio Description News

New Audio Described DVDs and Blu-ray Discs

On April 17, two DVDs were released with an audio description track:  The Commuter, The Post.  On April 10, five DVDs were released with an audio description track:  All the Money in the World, Molly's Game, Phantom Thread, Proud Mary, The Greatest Showman.  On April 3, two DVDs were released with an audio description track:  Father Figures, Insidious: The Last Key.

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2018 DVDs:  The Commuter, The Post, All the Money in the World, Molly's Game, Phantom Thread, Proud Mary, The Greatest Showman, Father Figures, Insidious: The Last Key, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Pitch Perfect 3, DownsizingJumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Call Me by Your Name, Ferdinand, Justice League, The Shape of Water, Novitiate, Thor: Ragnarok, Coco, Murder on the Orient Express, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Daddy's Home 2, Same Kind of Different As Me, The Star, Roman J. Israel, Esq., Wonder, Only the Brave, Suburbicon, Tyler Perry's Boo 2! A Madea Halloween, Geostorm, more...   

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New Audio Described USA TV Programs

ABC Alex, Inc., Wednesdays at 8:30pm; Roseanne, Tuesdays at 8pm; Splitting Up Together, Tuesdays at 9:30pm.

NBC Good Girls, Mondays at 10pm; Champions, Thursdays at 9:30pm; Rise, Tuesdays at 9pm.  

TBS Final Space, Mondays at 10:30pm; The Last O.G., Tuesdays at 10:30pm.

(Updated April 13)

The History of Audio Description

We are pleased to post a marvelous read for audio description history buffs:  Origins, Organizations, and Issues In Video Description:  Results From In-Depth Interviews With Major Players, by Jaclyn Packer, Ph.D., Barbara Gutierrez, M.A., and Corinne Kirchner, Ph.D.  It was created in June 1997 as a Final Report from the Project to Conduct Research on Described Video's Audience and Methods of Distribution, U.S. Department of Education Grant #H026G40001, though the contents of this report do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Department of Education.  It focuses on interviews with the individuals who were most involved with the early development of audio description for broadcast television:  Gregory Frazier of Audio Vision in San Francisco; Margaret Pfanstiehl, PhD. and Cody Pfanstiehl of The Washington Ear in Washington, DC; plus Barry Cronin, PhD. and Laurie Everett of WGBH in Boston.  You can find a copy of Gregory Frazier's Masters thesis in description (1977) on our Education page, and Joel Snyder, PhD. has a chapter on the history of audio description in the ACB-published The Visual Made Verbal: A Comprehensive Training Manual and Guide to the History and Applications of Audio Description (2014).  (Posted Mar 13)

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The Audio Description Project's website collects and provides information on audio description in all its forms: live theatre, television, movies, DVDs, and more.  Started in 2002 by AD International, funding and direction for this website now come from the American Council of the Blind's Audio Description Project (started in March 2009).  Read more about this site...

Audio Description (AD) is the descriptive narration of key visual elements of live theatre, television, movies, and other media to enhance their enjoyment by consumers who are blind or have low vision.  AD is the insertion of audio explanations and descriptions of the settings, characters, and action taking place in such media, when such information about these visual elements is not offered in the regular audio presentation.  Read more about audio description...

Based on his doctoral thesis and teaching audio description around the world, ADP Project Director Dr Joel Snyder's book, The Visual Made Verbal, is available in print (English and Russian), for Kindle, and on Bookshare.  Read more details about Dr Snyder's book...

Dedicated organizations around the world facilitate the offering of audio description in select movie theaters, videos, live theatre, and television programming, and this website attempts to expose their fine work to as many interested viewers as possible. Thank you for visiting!

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