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.
NOTIFY me of page changes
within the ADP website
Friday, January 20, 2017 is inauguration day. ABC will be
broadcasting audio description along with their coverage from 9:00 am
to 4:00 pm, EST. Description is sponsored by the ACB's Audio Description
Description on-site in Washington, DC will also be available for the inaugural parade. Beginning at Noon audio description will be provided on the parade route. The parade begins at 2:00 pm and audio description will continue until the end of the festivities. People who wish to have access to the audio description should arrive early to the ADA section along the parade route; it's located at the Navy Memorial, between 7th and 8th street, NW. It is highly recommended that attendees use the Metro for travel to the Navy Memorial (it has its own Metro station on both the Yellow and Green lines. (Posted Jan 17)
On February 25th, the ACB will sponsor its eleventh Audio Description Institute at the Crowne Plaza Old Town Alexandria (Virginia). Follow the link for all the details and to sign up!
If the Triangle area of NC is more convenient, Arts Access will be providing audio describer training in Durham NC. (This training not sponsored by the ACB.) Read more about it on our Education page. (Updated Jan 4)
"THE VISUAL MADE VERBAL: A Comprehensive Training Manual and Guide to the History and Applications of Audio Description" (published by the American Council of the Blind) is now available in Russian! A pamphlet/digest of the book has also been published in Polish with a full translation on its way. In mid-2017, Portuguese and Spanish translations will be published, and the audio book (in English, voiced by the author) will be available via the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped. Available in print (in English) on Amazon, via the author's website, and in print and in text format from the American Council of the Blind Mini-Mall. (Updated Jan 4)
Audio description is woefully under-known as an assistive technology. Some description producers and describers become known in our small field -- but the many talented individuals who voice the descriptions (particularly for television and film) are compensated for their work but rarely have a presence in the audio description field.
Indeed, many of you may know Tricia McCauley though you've never met her. Based in Washington, DC, she was the pitch-perfect voice of dozens of audio described films, videos and museum tours. Tragically, Tricia was murdered on Christmas Day in a car-jacking. The news media have celebrated her loving kindness and her talent as an actress, yoga teacher and herbalist. But with respect to audio description, Tricia had a clever, quick intellect -- those qualities combined with her skill as a voice artist to make her work as the voice of descriptions ideal. She was a "star" to thousands of people who listened to her, primarily people who are blind or have low vision. Those recordings live on -- like her soul and her bright light -- and will, I pray, allow us all to see more clearly. (Posted Dec 29)
December 20 was the deadline for compliance with the
FCC's order for manufacturers of video devices to offer accessible user
interfaces to visually impaired customers. Check out
FCC Fact Sheet: Television and Set-Top Box Controls, Menus, and Program Guides. Comcast lead the way long ago, and now it's everyone else's turn to comply. Preliminary
feedback is positive for Apple TV, AT&T DirecTV Genie, Comcast X1, Samsung TV, TiVO Roamio, Roku,
and Verizon FiOS TV cable box, though quality may vary. Check
our How Do I Receive Video Description section on
our TV page, or contact your
own cable or satellite TV supplier for "what's available" and
"how to" information. You can report findings on our forum, and you can
report problems to us at
firstname.lastname@example.org. BTW, we plan to have sound samples
from various providers soon. Check our Television
page. (Updated Dec 20)
The US DOT (Department of Transportation) has a rulemaking committee called the ACCESS Advisory Committee whose mission is to develop rules concerning accommodations for air travelers with disabilities. U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx said in part: "It is unfair ... for passengers who are deaf or blind not to be able to enjoy the same entertainment that is available to other passengers. I’m pleased that all involved parties are working together towards our common goal of universal access to the air transportation system." This means, in particular, that in-flight entertainment systems would offer audio described content. The "Notice of Proposed Rulemaking" will not be issued until July 2017, and airlines would have nine months to comply after a FINAL notice is posted ... so don't hold your breath on this! However, Japan's ANA Airline and Emirates Airline currently offer audio described movies, so hopefully other airlines will offer AD sooner than later. (Posted Dec 15)
For almost a year, the Museums and Performing Arts
Subcommittee of the
ACB's Audio Description Project has been working with representatives of the
US Park Service to enhance access and audio description in our national parks.
Because the National Park Service (NPS) is decentralized, we are first
reaching out to the most frequently visited parks and to those parks in which
ACB members have expressed interest.
To that end, NPS specialists are currently adapting our Assessment Guide for Museums and Exhibits (still in development) so it can be used in the national park system. ACB members will then be asked to use this guide when visiting their favorite national parks. The feedback they provide will be used to improve park access and audio description.
The ADP committee is grateful to our Park Service colleagues for their sincere commitment to audio description, and we look forward to ongoing work with them on this mutually beneficial project. To read a "success story" on this cooperation, read Blake Lindsay's article on his experiences participating with Tucson Arizona's Saguaro National Park and the Carlsbad Cavern State Park in New Mexico. (Posted Dec 13)
We have a new row of navigation options on the website. They are direct links to our listings of audio described offerings on Netflix, iTunes, TV, Movies, and DVDs. (Posted Jan 3)
There were four new audio described DVDs released on January 17 and three on January 10: Keeping Up With the Joneses, Ouija: Origin of Evil, Surf's Up 2: WaveMania, The Girl on the Train, The Accountant, Deepwater Horizon, and The Birth of a Nation. Last year, 148 audio described DVDs were released, with 705 audio described since 1998.
End of 2016: When the Bough Breaks, Storks, Sully, The Magnificent Seven (Blu-ray), Ben-Hur, Bridget Jones's Baby, Equity, Florence Foster Jenkins, Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children, Morgan, Suicide Squad, Jason Bourne, more ...
Join us on Facebook or Twitter (links below) to receive new described DVD notifications, or use the page-change notification form at the top of this page.
2016 was a great year for the expansion of audio described offerings from both Netflix and iTunes. Netflix now offers over 250 programs with description, while iTunes has over 500 described films. Most, but not all, movies released with description on DVD are available with description on iTunes, and we list that information on our DVDs page. Usually they hit iTunes first, but occasionally they are delayed. Netflix now has an exclusive streaming content contract with Disney and its subsidiaries like Marvel, and the fruits of that arrangement are already being realized. See Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars Titles Coming to Netflix in 2017.
Both iTunes and Netflix have been responsive to requests for improvement from the ADP. For instance, iTunes now allows users to get to the list of described movies from the iTunes app on PCs and Macs, as well as select mobile devices (like iPads). Netflix has recently released the ability to download some shows on mobile devices, a glitch in not downloading the description tracks has been fixed, and as of last month you can now view the list of shows with description on Apple TVs.
View our own alphabetized lists of all described titles on Netflix and iTunes. (New direct links to these are now at the top of every web page.) We post updates on Twitter and Facebook. (Updated Jan 3)
A group of blind TV watchers lead by Robert Kingett have been petitioning to get the TV show Switched at Birth audio described. The ABC Family network show, which won a Peabody Award, features several deaf and hard-of-hearing cast members with some scenes shot entirely in American Sign Language. The group was notified recently that "audio description tracks for this series are currently in production" with 29 episodes complete. The show is also carried on Netflix which plans to carry the description in early 2017 when all description tracks have been delivered and checked for quality. See the Switched at Birth Update. (Updated Dec 15)