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Past News Articles About Audio Description

This page contains selected news items previously featured on our main page, starting in 2019.

For previous AD news articles, see our listing from 2010 to 2014 and 2015 to 2018.

2021

Biden Inauguration With Audio Description

Biden Being Sworn InArchived Video:  The Inauguration of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris (Wednesday, January 20, 11 am ET); Featuring: Swearing-In Ceremony, Pass In Review, Arlington National Cemetery Wreath Laying Ceremony, Presidential Escort, Parade Across America
Audio Description:  https://youtu.be/cctCd8jI0e8.

Archived Video:  Celebrating America (Wednesday, January 20 at 8:30 pm ET)
Audio Description:  https://youtu.be/tm33Axg0TIY

NOTE:  These are the Wilde/Melton recordings, not NBC's.  (Updated Feb 9)

Bridging the Gap: Media Accessibility and AD

Respectability LogoThe Sundance Film Festival is sponsoring a panel discussion entitled “Bridging the Gap” – Media Accessibility & Audio Description.  The discussion will take place via Zoom on Sunday, January 31, at 2:30 pm Eastern time (11:30 am Pacific), and enrollment (via the link above) is free.  Moderated by Michele Spitz (Woman of Her Word voiceover artist and philanthropist), six panelists will participate.  Their titles include writer, director, head audio description writer, voiceover artist, post production manager, and AD enthusiast.  Join them!  If you can't make it, check the site later for a recording.  See also:  RespectAbility Sets Accessibility and Inclusion Lab Conversation Series at Sundance.  (Updated Jan 26)

Google Play Store Audio Described Titles

Google Play LogoGoogle appears to offer audio described titles for sale or rent in their Google Play Store.  They seem to have 26 movies, and possibly 23 TV series (but beware the "More Movie Results" heading on the same page).  Once we figure out a way to get a regularly updated listing, we will formally list them on our site.  For now, you can click our Other Media link in the navigation bar where you will find a link to Google's listing.  Basically, you go to the Google Play Store, select "Movies & TV," then search for "audio description."  Or just click here for Google Play Store AD titles!  (Posted Jan 19)

Audio Description for Horror Films

NosferatuIf you like horror films, you may be interested in joining a new Facebook group:  Audio Description Horror Films.  The founder, Jaye Adams, is an "upcoming independent horror filmmaker" who pledges his films will be "inclusive of AD"; and he will use the FB group "to collaboratively help shape these films."  He urges sharing of information about the best described horror films, including comments about description quality. 

By the way, we track described films by genre for several streaming services.  If you are interested in the horror genre, check out our iTunes list, Netflix list, and Prime Video list.  (Posted Jan 15)

ADP Website Year-End 2020 Report

During 2020, I tried to find ways to make the ADP website more informative and usable. Here are some of the updates that occurred during the year, in no particular order, in case you missed a few:

Here are key audio description statistics during the year in order of number of described offerings:

Our goals for 2021 include the following:

Is there something else this website can provide for you?  Please contact me using the webmaster link at the bottom of each page.  Here's to an increasingly well-described 2021!  Smiley Face  Fred Brack, Webmaster

2020

Denise Marie Decker

Denise DeckerWe were all saddened to learn of the sudden loss of our friend and colleague Denise Decker on November 4, 2020.  She was such a dedicated advocate and a passionate leader in ACB's work on audio description.  She served as Chair of the Audio Description Project Performing Arts, Museums & Parks Sub-Committee.  Denise lived in Washington, DC, and this past August NPR broadcast an interview featuring her insights on the audio description produced in the U.K. for last year's Academy Award-winning Best Picture "Parasite."  Her eloquent comments cited the importance of audio description as a tool for providing broader access to culture for people who are blind or have low vision.  You can listen to the interview on-line.  We send love and peace to Denise's family and friends.  Contributions in honor of Denise may be sent to:
   American Council of the Blind
   Audio Description Project - Denise Decker Memorial
   6200 Shingle Creek Parkway, Suite 155
   Brooklyn Center, MN 55430

Man standing in front of concrete wallForeign Films Released in the USA Need AD!

Read Lack of Dubbing or Audio Description Tracks on Foreign Films Create a “Hundred-Foot Concrete Wall” for People with Low Vision..  (Posted Dec 25)

Netflix AD LogoGoing, Going, Gone ...

On the first day of each month, Netflix (and other streaming services, too) lose or drop their licenses for a whole bunch of videos, and a smaller number get added to the service on the first of each month.  Occasionally we are able to capture the Netflix drops in advance, and we add "Pull date" notices in our listing.  We've just done that for 25 Netflix offerings, so watch 'em now, before they are gone!  Search for "pull date" in our Netflix listing.  (Posted Dec 25)

Lost in Translation:
Audio Description Needed in Commercials!

White poodleIf you are blind, you can relate to this experience had by Sumaira Latif, Leader, Company Accessibility, Procter & Gamble, as she previewed a company commercial for the "Flash" brand :  "Everyone in the room kept laughing when it started playing, but all I could hear was the song ‘Flash’ by Queen. What I didn’t know was that it was a dog singing the song, and that the creativity and humour embedded throughout the advert was intended to make consumers smile."  Read:  Lost in translation: Why audio description must go onto the accessibility agenda; or view the Flash commercial with AD.

You may also wish to read this excellent article, ‘The voice of blind people hasn't been heard’: inside the fight for audio-described ads, which covers the same story but goes further, showing additional described advertisements and discussing the challenges associated with getting them published.  "P&G has proven its campaigning power in the UK market, American broadcasters may soon follow.  The world’s largest advertiser is now audio-describing all of its ads in the US, as well as in the UK and Spain..." 

Update We have finally found some audio described commercials and are pleased to present this new page of Commercials With Audio Description!  (Updated Dec 22)

Q&A on Audio Description With Dr. Joel Snyder

Joel SnyderADP Project Director and President of Audio Description Associates Dr. Joel Snyder was recently interviewed by Equal Entry Services, a company whose primary focus is on how people with disabilities actually use technology.  "[T]here is simply no good reason why a person with a physical disability must also be culturally disadvantaged."  Read the Q&A on Audio Description With Dr. Joel Snyder.  (Posted Dec 22)

The MandalorianThe Mandalorian’s Audio Description is Truly “The Way"

If you are a fan of Disney's The Mandalorian, then you will "get" the title of this article.  The audio description of The Mandalorian has received a lot of praise from viewers, and this article goes into detail as to why.  "First of all, the descriptive language they use is impressive ... clear, concise, and graceful as if the words came from a book." 

While the language is the choice of the audio description writer, how that language is expressed verbally is equally important.  "[Nicole] Zanzarella’s voice fits perfectly into the show. She is never hard to understand, and the narration is entirely seamless. She also does a great job of not filling every moment of silence with narration. Instead, she gives the audience enough time to enjoy the fantastic soundtrack that accompanies the space western."  Read The Mandalorian article!  (Posted Dec 18)

Christmas-themed imagesChristmas-Themed Videos With AD

Did you know that over 100 movies with Christmas themes are available with audio description from streaming services or on DVD?  Neither did we!  That's why we researched this topic and compiled a listing for users of this website.  We even allow you to sort the list by vendor so you can check out your favorite streaming service's offerings.

With the same movie sometimes available from different vendors, Netflix has over 50, followed by about 25 each from Disney+, iTunes, and Prime Video, plus 15 or so titles on DVD.  So check out our complete list of Christmas-Themed Videos!  You'll find a link at the top of that page to sort by vendor.  (Updated Dec 18)

Happy FaceNew Website Feature

We recently introduced the option of sorting AD titles BY RATING for each of the streaming services and the master DVD list; and now where the data is available (only Disney+ and Prime Video plus DVDs at present), you can sort titles BY YEAR OF RELEASE, which is particularly interesting for Disney+, which goes back to 1928.  (Posted Dec 15)

Charlie BrownCharlie Brown Comes to Apple TV+
Some Shows Free to All

Snoopy, Charlie Brown and friends land at Apple TV+ in expanded partnership with WildBrain for new original shows and specials.  (Updated Dec 11)

Interlocked mulicolored handsAddressing Diversity in Audio Description

ITV in the UK has written an article covering their "journey in investigating and implementing new guidance for 2020, to govern how our Audio Description service (AD) conveys race and other visible diversity cues to blind and visually impaired audiences."  Read:  Audio-describing diversity, or addressing the elephant in the room.  (Posted Dec 8)

FCC AD Quality Working Group Report

FCC SealThe FCC recently released a report on Audio Description Quality developed by its Disability Advisory Committee (DAC) and a working group convened to examine the quality of audio description on broadcast television.  Carl Richardson, co-chair of the ADP, and Joel Snyder, Director of the ADP, served on the DAC as well as the Audio Description Quality Working Group.

Last year, the FCC focused on quality issues in the provision of closed captioning and the genesis of the report on audio description quality was, in part, the FCC's acknowledgement of the importance of audio description and both the potential benefits and the challenges in composing and enforcing audio description quality rules.  The FCC asked the DAC to develop guidance on best practices regarding the universal tenets of the composition of audio description.  We have posted the complete report on our Audio Description page under "Guidelines for Description."  (Posted Dec 8)

FCC Prepares For Changes July 1

FCC SealThe FCC has released a Public Notice listing the top 10 nonbroadcast networks for purposes of determining which five of them will be required to offer Audio Description starting July 1, 2021.  The first four of them are News or Sports which will undoubtedly ask for and be granted an exception.  By our analysis, these are the most likely networks to be required to offer audio description starting July 1, 2021:  Hallmark, HGTV, History, TBS, and TLC.  Hallmark and TLC would be new.  Discovery and USA would be dropped.  (Posted Nov 10)

An Advocacy Update From the ACB

ACB LogoIn a recent episode of the ACB Advocacy Update, hosts Claire and Clark discuss the recent updates in the audio description marketplace.  They speak with Sam Joehl, President, ACB of Virginia, about the work of the Federal Communications Commission and their Disability Advisory Committee, and they speak with Dr. Joel Snyder, Director, ACB’s Audio Description Project about ACB’s ongoing work to increase audio description availability.  Listen to the episode.  (Posted Nov 10)

FCC:  +40 DMAs and
Video Description Arrow Audio Description

FCC LogoThe FCC has adopted an Order expanding the number of designated market areas (DMAs) required to carry audio description from 60 to 100 over the next four years.  In addition, "The Order also replaces the term 'video description' with 'audio description' throughout the Commission’s rules, implementing a recommendation of the Commission's Disability Advisory Committee and harmonizing the Commission's terminology with that used by consumers and other Federal agencies."  Read the FCC Press Release or the full Report and Order or Final Ruling or article:  FCC Expands Audio Descriptions for Broadcast TV.  (Posted Oct 28; added article Nov 10)

CBS All Access AD Titles Now Listed

CBS All Access LogoAlthough we have been unable to get CBS to respond to a request for a weekly list of described titles, there seems to be enough interest in this service (despite its accessibility problems) for us to list titles we know about.  Therefore we have added CBS All Access described titles to our Other Media list, so they will also appear in the Master AD ListPlease send us titles we don't have listed.  For more information about this streaming service, see our entry in Streaming Services.  (Posted Nov 3)

The Guggenheim Museum, New York City

View inside the GuggenheimIf you can't make it to the newly reopened Guggenheim Museum in New York City, you can enjoy an audio described tour which addresses "the stunning architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright's iconic building.  Each of the 10 tracks in the guide describes a sensory aspect of the museum; for example, actor Maggie Gyllenhaal describes touching the thick, pitted paint layers coating the museum walls."  Read or listen to this article:  Guggenheim's Audio Guide Brings The Art Museum To Listeners' 'Mind's Eye'.  You will find the tours themselves on the museum's The Mind's Eye Programs page.  (Posted Nov 3)

Audio Describing Video Games

Video Game ControllerAudio describing a video game is a challenge, and this article addresses how one company is doing it:  How Do You Audio Transcribe an Entire Video Game?  And here is another more recent article:  How audio description within games could make them more accessible for blind and low vision players.  (Updated Nov 3)

AD LogoRed Bee Media Reflects on 20 Years of AD

Red Bee Media is an international media company offering audio description services in at least five countries.  One of their describers, Marie Campbell, offers a reflection on twenty years of growth in Happy 20th Birthday, Audio Description.  As a reminder, we have a listing of both USA domestic providers of audio description services as well as international AD services.  (Posted Oct 27)

4K UHD Logo4K UHD Blu-Rays Have an Inclusion Problem

That's the title of a recent post by Alex Howard Movie and TV Reviews.  Alex's experience has been that a lot of 4K discs do not include AD tracks, although the DVD and/or Blu-ray discs do.  The only good news there might be that 4K discs are typically packaged along with a Blu-ray version.  If you have purchased 4K discs, read Alex's article and post your experience on our Discussion List.  (Posted Oct 20)

Settlement Agreement Signed by HBO

HBO MaxWarnerMedia and HBO have agreed to a "Settlement Agreement" with the ACB and certain other claimants regarding the accessibility of their website, mobile devices, applications, and programming content for the product known as HBO Max.  Audio described content should be arriving by the end of March 2021 with additional application support by September 2021.  They are committing 1500 hours of described content by March 2021, doubling in the following 12 months, and doubling again in the following year.  Plans include listings of described content and training of customer service agents.  Full compliance is committed by November 2021.  Read the full HBO Settlement Agreement or the ACB Press Release.  (Posted Oct 19)

Film Ratings ListNew Website Feature:  DVD and Streaming Titles by Rating

We just added movie ratings to our complete DVD listing; and at the same time we added a new feature to our lists of streaming titles with AD, plus our alphabetized DVD listing:  a clickable link to "Titles by Rating" will be found just below the breakdown by genres (if present) at the top of each listing.  (Posted Oct 19)

Celebrating the CVAA

CVAA LogoOn Thursday, October 8, we celebrated the 10th anniversary of the CVAA, the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010.  Listen to Stevie Wonder's video message about the importance of the occasion.  You can also view the entire one hour event or read the ACB Press Release on the CVAA.  (Posted Oct 13)

Audio Description LogoThe Process of Adding Audio Description to a Video

In this new article we explore the entire process of contracting for, writing, recording, implementing, and delivering an audio description track to you on a video.  If you've ever wondered how it's done and want an insight into some of the skills and challenges involved, then read The Process of Adding Audio Description to a Video.  (Posted Oct 6)

Black and white image of NosferutuHalloween Videos With AD

You may not have visited our Other Media page under Titles with AD; but if you do, you will find four videos posted on YouTube with scary themes appropriate for Halloween:  Carnival of Souls, Night of the Living Dead, Nosferatu, and Popeye - "Fright to the Finish".  We thank Audio Description Associates and VITAC for cooperating in the production of these annual favorites a number of years ago.  (Posted Oct 6)

All ADP Conference Audio/Video Now Available

We have obtained the last of the July ADP Virtual Conference audios and videos.  Visit our Conferences page to access them.  (Posted Sep 22)

Describing Diversity in Theatre

Multicolor joined handsThe subject of how to describe diversity (for example, actor's races) in theatre has become a topic of great interest in the past year or two.  VocalEyes UK has just published the results of a project started in mid-2019 involving both users and providers of audio description, as well as theatre professionals.  The results of an online survey, interviews, and workshops were used to prepare the report.  In addition to the report, links to additional resources are provided at the Describing Diversity Report website.  (Posted Sep 22)

Netflix adds AD to Avatar: The Last Airbender

Avatar Last Airbender Logo‘Avatar: The Last Airbender’ just got more accessible to blind audiences, according to an article in the LA Times, which features comments by blind filmmaker James Rath.  This is not the first time that Netflix has added an AD track to a movie or series that they acquired without AD.  Kudos to Netflix!  (Posted Sep 15)

Flight Paths in JapaneseFlight Paths - a New Way of Storytelling

There's a new online partially animated production called Flight Paths which integrates audio description with the main audio of the video.  "Take a journey with old and contemporary tales of blind visually impaired travelling artists, inspired by the Goze - blind female performers of Japan.  Combining animation, aerial movement and creative audio description, witness stories of travel, blindness and migration through interactive navigation."  Take off now with Flight Paths!  (Posted Sep 15)

New Site Feature:  Find Described Video

Find a Video LogoWant to know if a favorite movie or TV series is audio described?  Instead of searching manually through the Master AD List, you can now simply type the title (or part of a title) in the box at this top of this page (or a similar box on the Master AD List page) to find out.  Give it a try!  The only caveat for use is that if you type more than one word, they must be in the proper order (e.g., "potter deathly" will not find "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows," but "harry potter", "deathly hallows", or even just "potter" or "deathly" will work).  This option has been added to the mobile device Menu also.

 You can now also check all media AD counts.   See also our official Find a Described Video Press Release!  (Updated Sep 15)

Movie Trailer IconAudio Described Trailers

Don't we wish more movie trailers were audio described?  Here's one from Netflix for a movie about the story of the Paralympic games, now available on Netflix.  And another one from a company trying to raise funds to tell the story of the 2018 Race Across America featuring four professional blind athletes.  And of course all Apple TV+ trailers are described.  (Updated Sep 1)

Podcasts on Audio Description

Podcast IconWe know of three recent podcasts regarding audio description of movies.

  1. Audio Descriptions in Movies for the Blind, interviewing ADP Project Director Dr. Joel Snyder, from Newstalk in Ireland.
  2. The Importance Of Audio Description For Subtitled Movies, interviewing Denise Decker, Chair of the ADP's Performing Arts, Museums, and Parks Committee.
  3. Advocates For Deaf And Blind Laud Netflix's New Playback Features, interviewing Everette Bacon from the NFB.
  4. And don't miss the archive of All Things Audio Description from ACB Radio's August 16th Sunday Edition With Anthony.  It features Roy Samuelson and five other people involved in audio description.  As the ACB Radio site is being worked on, we point to a temporary file you can access to listen.

Want more?  Visit our Podcasts page for recurring series and individual podcasts.  (Posted Aug 25)

NY Times "The 50 Best Movies on Netflix Right Now

NY Times LogoHere is the subset of the movies from the NY Times article on August 6 that have audio description on Netflix as determined by your webmaster on August 14th, subject to change, of course.  You may or may not agree with the NY Times on "best"!  (Posted Aug 18)

On the list, not on Netflix with AD, but available elsewhere:

New Museum, New AD Feature

Museum LogoThe new U.S. Olympic & Paralympic Museum in Colorado Springs offers the following:  "Audio descriptions:  If guests select audio descriptions as a preference during registration, these [6-minute] audio descriptions are triggered automatically by a tactile floor strip and provide an introduction upon entering each gallery."  In addition, "Touchscreen interactives feature tactile keypads designed to assist with screen navigation."  (Posted Jul 31)

Broadway Sacramento Honored for Audio Description

Broadway Sacramento LogoBroadway Sacramento is one of this year's recipients of an ADP Achievement Award.  Station KCRA in Sacramento just did a very nice video covering the honor.  Listen to Sacramento theater company honored for its inclusive shows.  (Posted Jul 7)

PS:  See also the Disney Press Release about their award.  (Added Jul 21)

AD Narrator & ADP Staff Podcasts

The ADNA LogoThe ADNA (Audio Description Narrators of America) website has recently added podcasts with AD Narrators, the professional voice-over artists who read the audio description for movies and TV series.  As a bonus, site owner Roy Samuelson (a narrator himself) has interviewed a number of us at the ADP and will be rotating in those interviews clearly identified as "BONUS" content!  Give us bonus people and the real AD Narrators a listen at TheADNA.org “Know Your Narrator” Interviews.  You'll need to bookmark the page and return weekly to hear new podcasts, or subscribe to new podcasts via your favorite podcast App.  (Updated Jul 20)

ADP Convention Follow-Up

ADB LogoThe 2020 ADP Virtual Convention is over, and it was great!  We had from 50 to 150 people at each of our informative sessions, most of which had time for Q&A at the end.  And the ACB Banquet speaker, AD Narrator Roy Samuelson, was outstanding.  If you missed any or all of it, we are posting links to the audio tracks on our Conferences page as they become available.  (Posted Jul 11; new audio added Sep 8)

Winners of the 2020 ADP Achievement Awards

Red Award RibbonThe American Council of the Blind proudly announces the 2020 Achievement Awards in Audio Description, an initiative of the Council's Audio Description Project.  Read the full awards announcement.  Formal presentation was Tuesday, July 7, at the ADP Virtual Convention.  Summary (Updated Jul 11; originally posted Jun 19):

ADP Convention Agenda

A D P with a soundwave and Braille belowThis year's ACB Conference will be held as a virtual conference (via Zoom) from 9:30am to 9:30pm daily starting July 3.  The ADP Conference will be held each afternoon Mon-Fri at various times, plus some pre-conference specials.  If you did not preregister, the one-time cost to attend the ADP Zoom sessions (and all the ACB sessions) will be $35 during the Conference.  Registration will open on Thursday July 2 from noon to 5:00 PM eastern time.  To register please have your credit card available for payment and call (612) 332-3242.  This is the only way for you to register, you cannot register online.  Here is the agenda (or read the detailed agenda, including the ACB Radio sessions):

Dolby Atmos AD - Please!

Dolby Atmos LogoDisability advocate and writer Jonathan Mosen has written an interesting blog post about the shortcuts that providers take in not offering audio description tracks with the latest Dolby audio technologies.  Reflecting on how a person who is blind depends so much on hearing, he states:  "This sort of immersive sound experience is ideal for blind people."  Read:  Atmos Fear. Blind people like me are an ideal audience for stunning Dolby Atmos sound, but most studios are locking us out.  (Posted Jun 30)

Australia's FlagAustralia Now Offering TV AD

In Australia, both the ABC and SBS networks are now offering around 14 hours of Audio Description per week across their respective channels.  Click the network names to learn more.  (Posted Jun 23)

One Small, Easy Way to Make the Oscars More Inclusive

The Oscar TrophyA recent article on the daily news site Slate reinforces (and references) the ACB's point made in a March letter to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (home of the Oscars) that any nomination for Best Picture must be accessible via closed captioning and audio description.  Read One Small, Easy Way to Make the Oscars More InclusiveSee also a June 1 article:  Oscars: audio description brings film to life for blind people, it deserves an award too.  (Posted Jun 23)

Portrait of Albert EinsteinOnline Art Viewing

The Coronavirus has made online viewing of art more important than ever.  But is it accessible online?  Online Art Viewing Is Finally Being Embraced—But Does That Make It More Accessible? addresses this question (Posted Jun 16)

Audio Described Dance

Alvin Ailey Logo For a limited time you may view the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater: Chroma, Grace, Takademe, Revelations (Audio Description Version) on YouTube.  Feedback can be sent to access@lincolncenter.org.  Be sure to tell them if you want more!  (Posted Jun 11)

Live Remote Broadcasts With AD in Brazil

Brazil FlagThe worldwide need for social distancing has led to the creation of new solutions to everyday problems, and providing Audio Description is no exception.  Learn how this was accomplished in Brazil recently in the article, Live Remote Broadcasts With Audio Description in Brazil.  (Posted Jun 9)

Attention Content Providers:
Why Audio Description Needs To Be a Priority

AD LogoWhat is it, examples, different types of AD, laws, how to provide it, standards, and even tools -- this article has it all!  Why Audio Descriptions Need to Be a Priority for Your Content.  (Posted Jun 9)

FCC Proposes Expanding Video Description
Updated With Alternate Response Method

FCC LogoThe comment period for the FCC's proposal to start phasing in new television markets required to pass through audio description has begun.  The proposal is to start January 2, 2021, expanding at a rate of 10 markets per year for four years, bringing the current 60 markets to 100.  They will also consider expanding this number beyond 100.  Also, at the urging of the ACB/ADP, they have proposed using the term 'audio description' rather than 'video description' in the future in accordance with a recent recommendation from the Commission’s Disability Advisory Committee (in which the ACB participates).

YOUR COMMENTS ARE REQUIRED to get this implemented!  Read the FCC Proposal; then submit your comments using the Express form.  The Proceeding Number is 11-43 for the first field.  Comment briefly on either or both the market expansion and/or eliminating the term "video description."  You can also check this user's experience filing the form.  The deadline is June 22.

Additional response option:  If you would like the ACB to submit your response for you, send your name, city and state, phone number and email address to advocacy@acb.org, along with your comments regarding either or both the market expansion and/or eliminating the term "video description" no later than Friday, June 19.  (Updated Jun 9)

Update Jun 24,2020: NAB Seeks Delay of Video Description Expansion.

Enhancements to This Website

CheckmarkWith some extra stay-at-home time on his hands, your webmaster has made the following enhancements to this website:

The Oscars Needs an AD Award!

Oscar TrophyHere is another article (see previous one) expressing the need for the Oscars to recognize audio description:  Oscars: audio description brings film to life for blind people, it deserves an award too.  As the author writes, "As my research shows, audio description is a valid and valuable creative art.  Why, then, are audio describers not even acknowledged, let alone awarded, at cinema’s most glittering ceremonies?"  (Posted June 2)

AnnouncerAudio Description Narrator Training

In what may be a first-of-its-kind, distinguished AD Narrator Roy Samuelson is offering to train voice-over artists in the nuances required for excellent AD narration in this limited-attendance June 11th seminar.  Read more about the AD Narrator Seminar.  (Posted Jun 2)

Three Weeks in Athens, All About AD!

ColosseumLast December, ADP Project Director Dr. Joel Snyder traveled to Greece on a Fulbright Specialist Grant for a three-week residency giving a series of seminars, workshops, and public programs on audio description.  Read about Joel's trip.  (Posted May 26)

Spectrum Access: Enabled Media

Spectrum Access LogoRemember Actiview?  It allowed you to download a limited number of Audio Description tracks to your iPhone for use in a cinema or at home for private listening to the AD track while watching a movie -- great if someone with you didn't need or want to hear the track.  Now Charter Communications (who owns the Spectrum brand) has picked up the App, renamed it Spectrum Access: Enabled Media, kept it free, and has over 300 AD tracks available for downloading!  (It also supports Closed Captions, but not Cinema at this time.)  We've created a list of Spectrum Access titles and integrated Spectrum Access into our Master AD List.  Thank you Charter!  (Here is Actiview's "Goodbye" message to users.) (Updated May 19)

Audio Descriptions for 360-Degree Video

A 3D Video Clip of an underwater diverEqual Entry, a global company which helps businesses accommodate the needs of persons with disabilities using technology, has released a video of a recent seminar entitled Audio Descriptions for 360-Degree Video.  The purpose of the seminary was "to share our research on audio descriptions (AD) for immersive media, and start a conversation with the wider accessibility community about where to go from here ... [to answer the question] Under what circumstances could there be a benefit to having a live audio describer for content that was not originally designed with accessibility in mind?"  Because the video was projected all around the participants, special challenges were encountered addressing which way the participant was facing.  (Posted May 19)

Call for Nominations for the
Annual ADP Achievement Awards
FINAL CALL!!!   HONOR SOMEONE!

Red RibbonIt's that time once again when YOU get to nominate a PERSON or ORGANIZATION that you feel has made a major contribution to audio description over time.  There are SIX nominations categories, and you can submit your nomination online or by mail.  Full instructions are contained on our Call for Nominations page, or go directly to our online nomination form.  You can also listen to a 30-second PSA for the Awards Nominations close Friday May 29th!  (Updated May 26)

 "One World Together" on CBS With AD

One World Together At Home IconCBS has released an audio described version of "One World Together."  You can access it via the CBS All Access App or online at this address:  CBS One World Together.  To access the description track online, you will need to use the Tool menu in the upper right of the screen for "Subtitles + Audio."  (Updated Apr 28)

Streaming imageStreaming Titles With AD: Recommendations

ADP Steering Committee Co-Chair Carl Richardson offers some recommendations for what audio described programming to watch on various streaming services while you are staying at home due to the Coronavirus.  (Posted Apr 7)

Audio Description Podcasts

Listen to this recent podcast entitled Enjoying the Movies After Vision Loss with Audio Description.  Then check out our list of current first-run films with AD in local cinemas, or read all about Audio Description at the Movies.

Life After Blindness has a new podcast entitled An Audio Description Extravaganza!, covering the following: "[A conversation with] audio description narrator and voiceover artist, Roy Samuelson about the creation process and the current state of audio described content. Then ... how to turn on the audio described track within 5 of the top video streaming services. And ... the availability of audio description, accessibility and the future of AD."

See our list of additional podcasts covering Audio Description.  (Updated Mar 31)

Audio Description Roundtable

A Roundtable MeetingOn Sunday, March 29, the ADP conducted its first Audio Description Roundtable.  64 people connected via Zoom.  After brief statements by the four hosts (Kim Charlson, Carl Richardson, Joel Snyder, and Fred Brack), we opened the line to questions, and lots of good information about AD (streaming in particular) was exchanged!  You can listen to the Roundtable now, and hopefully you will join us in the future for another one.  (Posted Mar 31)

Airline Information and Entertainment Access Act

AirplaneOn March 19, U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Ranking Member of the Senate Special Committee on Aging, and his Senate Democratic colleagues introduced the Airline Information and Entertainment Access Act (S.3473).  This bill would require airline carriers to provide access to in-flight safety information, general announcements and entertainment options for people with disabilities.  Read more about S.3473.  (Posted Mar 24)

ACB Advocates for AD at the Oscars

Oscar TrophyIn a letter addressing four separate topics, ACB President Dan Spoone has written to David Rubin, president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (home of the Oscars).  Of special interest is our request that no picture be allowed nomination for Best Picture unless it has both an audio description track and captioning.  This was inspired by the fact that this year's award winner (Parasite) does not meet this criterion.  Other topics include the establishment of award categories related to AD and the development of AD for older films.  Read the David Rubin letter and an article referenced in it, "Oscars: audio description brings film to life for blind people, it deserves an award too." (Posted Mar 3)

Update:  See this June 2020 article on Slate emphasizing the problem and supporting the ACB's position:  One Small, Easy Way to Make the Oscars More Inclusive.

BADIE Contest Winners Announced

The winners of the BADIE Contest (Benefits of Audio Description in Education) have been announced!  The grand prize winner is Lina Minarra for her review of the film "Curiosity Quest: Guide Dogs," available from DCMP.  (Posted Mar 3)

Prime Video Web Player AD Shortcut

Prime VideoThe Prime Video Web Player now supports a keyboard shortcut for switching audio languages and turning on Audio Descriptions.  This change enables Prime Video users to easily switch to a new audio language or turn on Audio Description by simply pressing the 'A' key when playing a title.  This will automatically switch to the next available audio track (including the AD track if available).  This shortcut works on all desktop browsers that support Prime Video.  Once a user has selected an AD audio track when playing a title, this setting will persist for future titles, and Prime Video will automatically select the AD track if available.  You can also see Other Keyboard Shortcuts On Prime Video.  (Posted Mar 3)

Improving Video Accessibility Without AD

In How audio can improve accessibility for TV and film audiences, the author explores how filmmakers can make films more accessible even before using audio description.  (Posted Feb 25)

8 of 9 Oscar Nominees for Best Picture Have AD
(but not the Winner!)

The ninth nominee, Parasite (now available on DVD), does not have description (nor is it dubbed in English).  On February 9, it won the award for Best Picture.  (Updated Feb 11)

Accessibility Partner Bridge Multimedia Honored

Bridge Multimedia LogoCynopsis Best of the Best Awards.  Bridge Multimedia is a significant producer of audio description, and in particular, children's programming, much of which is featured in the Litton Saturday morning series of children's programming on four networks.  These Cynopsis awards given on February 6th honor them as an Accessibility partner of the winning programs.  (Posted Feb 11)

Free Described Movies on IMDb TV

IMDB TVIMDb, the Internet Movie Database, is owned by Amazon.  In addition to their well-known online database of movie data, they operate a FREE streaming service called IMDb TV which includes some audio described content.  There are several ways to access the content.  (1) Online in a browser via the link above.  (2) Via the IMDb TV App, if you have a Fire Stick or other Fire product.  (3) Via the IMDb TV App on your mobile phone.  (4) Or via the Prime Video App on any device (remember, Amazon owns both services).

What's the catch?  Ads.  Ads support the free viewing.  If you find a title via Prime Video, you will have a choice of watching right away, right there, free with ads, or renting or buying from Prime Video without ads.  Its free via any of the other IMDb TV options directly, though a free ID is required.  Unfortunately, there is no list from Amazon of IMDb described titles at present, so we are adding this information to our Prime Video AD Titles listing, since they are all a subset of Prime Video titles.  Here is a list of current titles.  (Originally Posted Jan 21; titles updated Feb 11)

[Since over time the titles change, visit IMDb Free AD Titles for the current list]

Audio Description Narrators of America
Last Week of the Contest!

theADNA.org (The Audio Description Narrators of America) is a new website which links Audio Description Narrators (the voice-over artists who read audio description scripts) with their film credits for blind and low vision audiences.  As the site continues to evolve, they need your help to grow the content by contributing publicly available information on narrators and the features and series they narrate.  So they are doing a 4 week promotion to get you more directly involved.

Beginning January 7th and continuing for the next 7 days, you can contribute video titles and their narrators by emailing admin@theADNA.org with as much detail as you can.  On the 14th, the highest contributor will receive a free month of the streaming service of their choice, up to $20.  They will continue this for an additional 3 weeks, giving out 4 one-month subscriptions!  At the end of the 4 weeks, the person who has contributed the most titles and their narrators during the 4 weeks gets one year of the streaming service of their choice, up to $240!  Really!  Only the first NEW submission of a pairing will count, of course.  While we encourage narrators themselves to submit their own titles (along with a brief bio), these awards are intended for our audiences.  Per ADNA management, all legal disclaimers for this kind of promotion apply.  (Updated Jan 29)

A World of Discovery with AD Services

Frankly we don't know more than the title (above) of this online "event," but Mystic Access is providing this free live event Thursday, January 30, at 8:30 PM Eastern time.  There are several ways to participate.  (Posted Jan 28)

Over 300 Disney+ Described Titles Available

Disney+ LogoEarlier in December we released the first official list of audio described titles available on the new Disney+ streaming service in the USA.  Since then we have added more titles, and we are up to 309 as of January 7.  All Disney+ Originals include description, and there are movies from the first half of the last century there!  As a reminder, some Disney titles are under exclusive contract to other streaming services as far out as late 2021 and are not included yet.  We are able to list those titles appearing in the next 30 days however, and you will find trailers for future titles, many with description, on the service.  (Updated Jan 7)

Described DVD History

169 DVDs with Audio Description were released in 2019, three more than last year.  Historically, from 1997 to 2009, only 47 DVDs were released with description.  The number doubled in the next 5 years, but then started to take off in 2015.  We stand at a grand total of over 1200 available today (and yes, they are all still available).

Described DVD History

2019

A Look Back at Audio Description in 2019
by Fred Brack, Webmaster

As I look back at the events of 2019 from my perspective as the guy who collects and presents all the details of who-releases-what in the area of audio description, my number one impression is WOW! — what a huge increase in the amount of audio description available in 2019!  The increase is primarily in the area of streaming services.  We closed out 2018 with 2177 videos available with description on three streaming services (iTunes, Netflix, and Prime Video), and we are ending up 2019 with a whopping 4326 described titles (some duplicated of course) across six streaming services (now adding Apple TV+, Disney+, and Hulu), an increase of 99%.  On 12/31/2019, there were 3661 unique titles (movies and series) available with description in theaters, on DVD, on TV, and on the six streaming services.

Who stands out as major contributors to that effort?  Number 1 would have to be Amazon Prime Video, where the team bent over backwards to bring us 1212 more videos during 2019, an increase of 275% over YE2018, pushing Prime Video to the #1 supplier position with 1652 described titles.  I feel that number 2 is the team at Disney for premiering a new streaming service with over 300 described videos on day 1.  And some of those described videos were produced as far back as the 1930s!  And number 3 would be Paramount Studios, who took the time, effort, and money to go back and create audio description tracks for over 150 old movies that didn't have them, making them available to the streaming services.  I sure wish other studios would do the same.  Thank you, thank you to all who contributed.

Apple's iTunes and Netflix folks are to be complimented as well on their steady increase in described videos, and their willingness to listen to customer requests for specific description tracks.  And of course while it is in its infancy, the new Apple TV+ service has provided description for all its original offerings not just in English, but in eight more languages!  Wow again.

We have three studios audio describing all their mainstream DVDs:  Disney, Sony, and lesser-known Summit.  See my report elsewhere on this page.  We now have 1201 DVDs with Audio Description tracks available.

Finally, I would like to thank my two regular contributors to this website:  Sebastian Andrade-Miles for the weekly described TV listings, and Vicki Vogt for the list of current movies described in theaters.  I also appreciate the contributions of ADP Committee members (especially Carl Richardson) who send me pointers to articles and other information, and the various users of this website who do the same.  I wish all of our website visitors a Happy New Year filled with wonderful description opportunities for both providers and users!  (Posted Dec 31)

Year-End Report Card on DVDs by Studio

Here are my summary comments about described DVDs based on a study of 415 DVDs from 58 studios identified from January-December 2019.  (Posted Dec 31)

  1. Disney, Sony, and Summit described 100% of their movie DVDs.  Outstanding!
  2. Fox and Paramount described 88% and 80% respectively.  Very Good and Good, respectively.
  3. Universal and Warner Bros described 57% and 56% respectively.  Room for Improvement...
  4. Once again, Lionsgate takes last place among major studios with only 14% of their DVDs described, a terrible track record.  Come on, guys!
  5. Shout! Factory (18 DVDs) finally got in the game with two (and only two) described DVDs mid-year.  More please!
  6. Among the smaller studios releasing 10 or more DVDs this past year with none described, we have Cinedigm (13 DVDs), Gravitas (10 DVDs), and Image Entertainment (10 DVDs).  Time to get onboard!
  7. The Watch List (5 to 9 DVDs, none described) consists of Magnolia and Well GoBetter start thinking about AD!
  8. In our analysis of all 415 DVDs identified by the DVDs Release Dates site and/or located in stores in 2019, only 41% (169) had description tracks, an 8% (3 percentage points) improvement over last year, though it is interesting to see that the total number of DVDs has been steadily declining.

Actiview Acquired by Charter Communications

Actiview  According to Actiview developer Alex Koren, Actiview and its App have been acquired by Charter Communications.  Where they go from here is unknown.  Alex was off to a good start offering description tracks on an iPhone for personal listening but got resistance from studios.  While we don't integrate Actiview's description tracks into our Master AD list anymore, you can still read which movies are supported on our Actiview Audio Described Titles page; however, we don't know the future of the App.  (Updated Dec 31)

Lots of Updates to Our Streaming AD Page

Recently we have made many updates to our page dedicated to which streaming services offer audio description.  We added Apple TV+ and Disney+ details of course, but we also added information about Apps like Channels and Philo.  If an App (like Philo) interests you but doesn't support Audio Description (it doesn't), then please take the time to write their Customer Service folks and ask for it!  Tell them you would be a subscriber if they added it.  Take a look at our Streaming AD page!  (Posted Dec 10)

Captivating CoverThe A-List Celebrity of the Blind & Visually Impaired Community

That's the title of the lead article in the December 2019 issue of "Captivating" Magazine, whose motto is "Inclusion is Limitless."  And who is this person they are writing about?  Why it's Roy Samuelson, master audio narrator and friend of the Audio Description Project.  You can view/listen to the interview or read the transcript, where you will learn how his interest in and later career in audio description narration started at a ride in Disney World.  (Posted Dec 10)

Facebook "Birthday Fundraiser" Yields Over $600 to Support the ADP!

Well-known audio narrator (the voice you hear providing audio description for TV and movies) Roy Samuelson began a "Birthday Fundraiser" on Facebook last September. The simple announcement encouraged friends to make a donation to the ACB in honor of his birthday, and all funds collected were sent by Facebook to the ACB to be used to support this project (ADP).  Way to go, Roy and friends!  If you have a lot of Facebook friends, maybe you could do the same!  Visit this Facebook page to setup a Birthday Fundraiser for the ADP, then drop us a note so we can follow-up.  (Posted Dec 3)

Roy's Birthday Fundraiser

All Things Audio Description Podcast

ACB RadioOn this episode of the ACB Advocacy Update podcast, Claire and Clark discuss all things audio description with Dr. Joel Snyder and Carl Richardson. They highlight the great work of the Audio Description Project, including the Benefits of Audio Description in Education Contest, as well as the 16th Audio Description Institute, and the rapidly evolving landscape of streaming services providing accessible user interfaces and audio described programming.  Listen to the podcast.  (Posted Dec 3)

AD Titles Milestones Reached!

In a sense they are arbitrary, but we like "round numbers."  Congratulations to both Netflix and Amazon Prime Video for breaking 1000 titles each the week of October 15!  (iTunes already did.)  And in turn, that lets us break the 3000 described titles mark [ Update OVER 3400 TITLES NOW! ] in our Master AD List (which has been reformatted slightly to make it easier to get more information about each title).  (Updated Nov 27)

Time is Running Out to Enter
The 2020 BADIE Contest!

Each Fall, the ADP, in conjunction with the Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP), sponsors the Benefits of Audio Description in Education (BADIE) Contest.  Students ages 7 to 21 view an audio described video and write a review of that movie.  PRIZES will be awarded in each age category.  LAST DAY TO ENTER IS FRIDAY DECEMBER 6!  Read the details about entering the BADIE Contest!  (Updated Nov 27)

Cord Cutting With AD in Mind

Cord CuttingWith cable and satellite TV costs rising, many customers (1.7 million in 3Q19) are investigating cord cutting, looking for lower-cost alternatives.  This becomes even more important as the streaming wars heat up, with additional fees for their services.  But what is a person to do if they depend upon that good old SAP channel for audio description?  Your webmaster faced this decision and investigated many options.  You can read his report of how to approach the problem, what solutions are out there, and what he finally decided upon, with a complete review of that service on our new page, Cord-Cutting Options Supporting Audio Description.  We hope to keep expanding this page as we get other users' success stories -- and we have one already for The Channels App.  Send your feedback to the webmaster.  (Updated Nov 12)

New Website Navigation and Listings

With the addition of Apple TV+ and Disney+, we needed new navigation options to cover the described titles from both streaming services.  This necessitated a review of how we are offering those options to you, and we decided to revamp the header and navigation areas of our website pages as you can see above.  We have added a couple of other new navigation options:  Our Conferences and an "Other" listing of titles available with AD from sites other than the biggies we list (we expect this to grow over time).  We hope you find this useful and welcome your feedback.  (Updated Nov 12)

Audio-Described Painted Hall Tour - UK

Discover the UK’s Sistine Chapel:  the Painted Hall at Greenwich’s Old Royal Naval College, an epic 18th-century masterpiece has now reopened following an £8.5 million makeover.  Painted between 1707 and 1726, the Painted Hall at the Old Royal Naval College is Britain’s largest painted ceiling and hides many surprises.  The tour is delivered by an expert tour guide who has been trained in audio-description by VocalEyes Read more about the November 16th tour.  (Posted Oct 29)

Halloween Videos With Description

Some years back, VITAC, the nation's largest captioning company, Audio Description Associates, LLC, and the ACB's own Audio Description Project teamed up to caption and describe four public domain videos/films over four years at Halloween time. The cinematic horror treats are posted on YouTube, and we invite you to enjoy them … and try not be too frightened!  The links to the films are as follows:

Happy Halloween!  And for those of you with kids with visual impairment, you may wish to check out this piece from the AFB on Halloween Tips.  (Posted Oct 19)

Newly Audio Described USA TV Programs

Most of these are NEW shows this fall, but two are newly audio described existing shows.

ABC mixed-ish, Tuesdays at 9pm; Emergence, Tuesdays at 10pm;  Stumptown, Wednesdays at 10pm;  Grand Hotel, Mondays at 10pm; Kids Say the Darndest Things, premieres Sunday October 6 at 8pm.

CBS Seal Team season premiere Tuesday October 1 at 9pm.

Fox Bless the Harts, Sundays at 8:30pm; Prodigal Son, Mondays at 10pm; Almost Family, Wednesdays at 9pm.

NBC Bluff City Law, Mondays at 10pm; This Is Us, season premiere Tuesday September 24 at 9pm.

History Channel Knife or Death, various times.

HGTV House Hunters Family, check local listing for times.

USA Network Treadstone, premiering October 15 at 10pm.

SATURDAY MORNING CHILDREN'S SHOWS: 

ABC Hearts of Heroes

CBS Best Friends Furever with Kel Mitchell; Mission Unstoppable; Pet Vet Dream Team

NBC A New Leaf

See our Daily TV Schedule and TV Schedule by Network.

FCC Report to Congress

On October 10, the FCC published its Report to Congress on the status of Video Description in the USA.  Read our summary of the FCC Report, with a link to the full report.  (Originally Posted Oct 10)

Nomination for Audio Description Narration

For most movies and TV shows, the job of getting description to you lies with two professionals:  an audio description WRITER, and the person who VOICES the description (a voice-over artist or narrator).  For what is perhaps the first time, a professional organization (SOLAS, the Society of Voice Artists and Sciences) has nominated an audio description narrator for an award.  The category is "Outstanding Narration – TV, Film or Web – Best Voiceover," and the nominee is Roy Samuelson for his work on Universal's 2019 release of Glass.  It's great to see any component of audio description get recognition like this, and we congratulate Roy on the nomination and wish him luck!  (And speaking of Roy, here is yet another article on audio description by or about Roy:  Bringing TV and Movies to Life with Audio Description.)  (Posted Oct 8)

Hulu Addresses Accessibility

On October 3, Hulu published a Press Release entitled Making Hulu More Accessible than Ever Before.  They have been addressing "accessible design," and for "this round of improvements, we focused on text legibility and screen reader capabilities."  They are beginning to roll out improvements in this area starting with Roku devices.  This is not the same as having AD tracks available on all devices, though, which is a future objective.  (Posted Oct 8)

FCC Grants Limited Waiver to USA Network

We previously reported that USA Network had requested a waiver from the FCC regarding the number of hours of described programming, specifically regarding repeats.  The FCC has decided the issue as follows:

"On October 7, 2019, the FCC's Media Bureau granted a limited waiver requested by NBCUniversal ... on behalf of its wholly owned nonbroadcast programming network, USA Network, of the Commission's video description rules, as long as USA Network airs at least 1,000 hours of described programming each quarter without regard to the number of repeats and describes at least 75 percent of any newly produced, non-live programming that is aired between 6:00 a.m. and midnight per quarter. However, the FCC declined to grant NBCUniversal's proposed safe harbor from the video description requirements for other similarly situated, top five nonbroadcast networks."  (Posted Oct 8)

Disability Advisory Committee Recommendations to the FCC

AD LogoSeveral ADP committee members are on the FCC's Disability Advisory Committee (DAC).  On September 24th, the DAC finalized a recommendation to the FCC on the subject of Described Audio TV Listings.  Ultimately, they recommend that "the Commission encourage all networks, channels, cable, satellite, fiber, streaming, and other services that provide video programming with audio description to provide timely, accurate program listings in accessible form, including ... on aggregator services, on their own websites, and in program guides."  Interestingly, they also recommend that the FCC drop the term "video description" in favor of the well-established  term "audio description" and "encourage other entities to do the same as a best practice."  They also recommend that the FCC adopt and recommend that others adopt the well-known Graphic Artists Guild AD symbol (above right) as the official standardized logo.  Read the full DAC Recommendation.  (Posted Oct 1)

Lisa Hoffman

A color photo of Lisa.  She is smiling broadly and her dark hair is draped over her shoulders.  She wears a white blouse adorned with a lei of green and white blossoms hanging around her neck.Our ADP friend Lisa Helen Hoffman passed away peacefully on September 23 with family and friends at her side.  I spoke with Lisa just a few weeks ago and can tell you that she was honored to have been selected to be a part of our work on behalf of ACVREP's development of a certification effort for audio describers and audio description consultants.  Lisa was an active audio description consultant as well as a long-time audio description consumer; her decades-long work with the Geva Theater in Rochester, NY and the University of Rochester's Memorial Art Gallery was well-respected and resulted in broad access to those arts institutions for people who are blind.  She was the recipient of the ACB Audio Description Project Achievement Award in Performing Arts in 2009.  More about her life and career is at: http://www.lhhconsulting.com/about-the-owner.html.

Lisa's commitment to audio description will be remembered so positively -- her devotion to arts access services is a model for all who care about the arts and their availability to all.  She will be greatly missed.  -- Joel Snyder  (Posted Sep 24)

Live Audio Descriptions Are His Forte

That's the title of an article in the online edition of The Hindu newspaper.  The article discusses the career of ADP Director and audio describer Joel Snyder.  Joel was recently in Chennai (the capital of the Indian state of Tamil Nadu) for the Ability Foundation’s two-day workshop on audio description. Joel has trained audio describers in 62 countries, sometimes with a translator beside him.  (Posted Sep 17)

Joel Snyder on panel in India

"What Just Happened"?

Yes, the words of many blind individuals watching a movie or play.  Read one person's thoughts on the "What Just Happened?" dilemma.  (Posted Sep 17)

Audimance: Immersive Audio Description

What? -- you say!  Think about dance, one of the more difficult mediums for audio describers.  What do you cover, what do you focus on?  A new App under development called Audimance addresses this problem by allowing users "to navigate among a number of audio streams synced with a live performance ... It is complex. It is layered. And each track has different viewpoints, different kinds of information."  Learn more in this article entitled This Is What Accessibility Sounds Like.  (Posted Sep 17)

The Process of Recording Audio Description

Voiceover artist Roy Samuelson, who specializes in recording audio description scripts for movies and advocates for audio description, has been interviewed yet again!  (See previous interviews.)  In this interview with Directors Notes, Roy discusses "the process of providing Audio Description," as well as the benefits to those with normal vision.  The article includes numerous samples of Roy's AD work.  (Posted Sep 10)

CBS All Access App Begins Offering AD

The CBS All Access App offers access to live content (in select markets) and over 10,000 previous episodes via streaming devices.  In August 2019, they began to offer audio described content for such programs as NCIS (current season); Star Trek Discovery; The Twilight Zone; and The Good Fight.  ABC has offered AD in their free Watch ABC App for a long time, but NBC and Fox do not offer AD in their apps; so CBS is a welcome addition.  There is a fee for service for most content ($6 or $10/month).  See more info on the CBS App.  (Aug 20; Updated Aug 27) 

Paramount Studios Releases 150+
New AD Tracks for Old Movies

Paramount LogoIn May, the Forrest Gump (25th Anniversary) Blu-ray disc was released.  What was different that you might care about?  It had an audio description track!  Forrest Gump was one of over 150 old movies that Paramount has been retrofitting with brand new AD tracks.  Most of them will not reappear on disc, but those tracks will make it to streaming services.  (Forrest is also on iTunes and Prime Video; plus check out Jack Ryan series like The Hunt for Red October on Prime Video for example.)  Pointer Read our interview about the new AD tracks with one of the key players responsible at Paramount to learn more (like something about a guy named Maverick who likes to fly planes...).  (Posted Aug 20)

Audio Description For Small Dance Companies

Dancer with ChairWhile audio description for people with visually impairment is not a wholly unknown service in the Bay Area (San Jose-based AudioVision frequently describes shows for both SHN and the Curran Theatres in San Francisco), it hasn’t much penetrated the strata of smaller and more experimental theater and dance companies.  Jess Curtis wants to change that.  Read:  Telling While Showing: New Audio Description Services from Jess Curtis/Gravity.  "Through Gravity, [Curtis] hopes to help foster a growing awareness of accessibility for all—and not just in the larger theaters.  In fact, with a grant from the Haas Foundation, Curtis' company can offer other Bay Area companies the opportunity to host audio description services at their shows for a reduced cost through the end of 2019."

Dr. Joel Snyder and Esther Geiger, a Laban Movement Analyst, went to San Francisco last year to train Jess Curtis and Gravity in audio description technique.  (Posted Aug 13)

[Photo Credit:  Meegan Hertensteiner dances in an audio-described production of Deborah Slater's Solos Lost and Found at SFIAF. (Deborah Slater)]

Audio Recordings of July's Mini ADP Conference

Audio recordings from the two sessions at July's Mini ADP Conference are now available.  Visit our 2019 Conference page to listen.  The panels were:

Cord-Cutting and AD

Lots of folks are investigating cord-cutting these days.  Cord-cutting is when you drop a cable or satellite contract and use alternative, cheaper solutions to access networks of interest.  There are many considerations and numerous options; but of prime interest to visitors to this website is whether or not the proposed solution passes through audio description (the "SAP Channel").  If you have experience good or bad in this area, please write the webmaster or post to our discussion list.  (Posted Aug 20)

Commercials With AD

Some companies have released TV commercials with audio description.  We congratulation the companies for the brands we know about:  Bounty, Head and Shoulders, Pampers, Subaru, and Wells Fargo.  We are seeking permission to replay them here, but in the meantime we simply wish to acknowledge the accessibility efforts of these companies.  (Posted Aug 20)

Edinburgh Festival: Many Performances With AD

Each August, Edinburgh, Scotland, offers five separate events as part of the Edinburgh Festival.  Most run throughout the month.  ADA Scotland provides audio description for many of the events.  For a list of described events, please see the ADA Scotland AD Listings page.  (Posted Aug 13)

Audio Description for All

Audio narrator Roy Samuelson (NCIS, Bosch, movies) has written an article entitled Did You Know Of This Way To Enjoy Movies and TV Shows?.  While he "explains" audio description, he also notes:  "While supporting the blind and low vision community is an integral part of this work, sighted audiences can also enjoy the benefits of Audio Description, particularly when commuting, cooking, giving their eyes a break from staring at a screen, or helping keep track of multiple characters."  Those of us (like your webmaster) who are spouses or partners of AD users already reap these benefits!  Enjoy the article and share it with those who could benefit. 

Update July 30:  Roy has been interviewed in yet another podcast:  Blind Abilities Super Duper Extra: Spider-Man: Far From Home is Here, And Audio Describer Roy Samuelson Spins His Own Web on Audio Description.  You'll hear excerpts of shows he's done, some not released yet, and his discussion with a fan of his work.  You may also choose to read a transcript of the Blind Abilities podcast.  You'll find other podcasts with Roy referenced in this article from our archives

Update July 30:  And here's another interesting podcast, though not with Roy:  How Do You Watch Movies If You Can’t See?.  This one is on Spotify, for which you can get a free subscription.  The producer is "The Be My Eyes Podcast."  (Updated Jul 30)

Describe and Draw: Life-drawing workshop

Our friends in the UK have an interesting opportunity coming up on August 10th:  an audio described drawing class specifically designed for blind and low vision visitors.  No experience necessary, and free!  How about some places in the USA doing this?  (Posted July 30, via VocalEyes)

2019 ADP Achievement Award Winners

The following award winners were announced at the ACB Convention in Rochester, NY, on July 9:

Achievement in Audio Description - Performing Arts:  Hunter Gullickson, The Guthrie Theater - Minneapolis, MN.
Special Recognition Achievement in Audio Description - Montclair State University - Montclair, NJ.
Achievement in Audio Description - Media:  Microsoft/Xbox - Seattle, WA.
Achievement in Audio Description - Visual Art / Museums / Visitor Centers:  Hannah Goodwin, Museum of Fine Arts - Boston, MA.
Achievement in Audio Description - International:  Vera Arma, ARTIS Project - Viterbo Area, Italy.
Dr. Margaret R. Pfanstiehl Memorial Achievement Award in Audio Description - Research and Development:  Dr. Brett Oppegaard, The UniDescription Project - University of Hawaii.
Barry Levine Memorial Award for Career Achievement in Audio Description:  Jon P. Skaalen - Minneapolis, MN.

Official Awards Announcement; all previous winners Honor Roll.  (Posted Jul 9)

Netflix Now Allows Describer Identification

Professional audio describers (companies and individuals) and audio narrators (the people who read the describers' scripts) are proud of their work and like to be recognized just like the actors and crew in a movie.  And this is something many viewers of the videos have requested, too.  Netflix has not allowed such identification ... until now.  From now on, Netflix is allowing these professionals to be identified at the end of each video ahead of the credits.  Thank you Netflix.  Listen for this in the future!  (Posted Jul 2)

Reading TV Subtitles Aloud

If you live in a country whose native language isn't all that common, you'll encounter a lot of TV in foreign languages.  Denmark is a country that, as many others, doesn't have a culture for dubbing TV and movies in foreign languages, which means that they rely heavily on subtitles.  But what if you're blind and you can't read the subtitles?  DR, the government supported TV and radio supplier in Denmark, has twin-channels for all their main channels that are specifically designed for people with a vision impairment.  When watching TV on these channels, subtitles will automatically be read aloud as they appear, ensuring a smooth TV experience for people who can't read the subtitles.  (Via ACVRep, Posted Jul 2)

Survey on Describing Diversity

VocalEyes (a London-based organization which provides audio description) in partnership with Royal Holloway, University of London, is running a research project exploring an important aspect of theatre audio description:  people’s opinions about when and how human characteristics, such as race, disability, age, body shape, or gender should be described.  They are seeking input from a wide group of people:  users of AD, describers, actors and other theatre professionals anywhere in the world.  If you are willing to take a brief online survey, please visit this page before July 31:  https://vocaleyes.co.uk/describing-diversity-survey/.  At the survey's end, you may request to be advised of results.  (Posted Jul 2)

USA Network Asks FCC for Waiver

USA Network has asked the FCC for a limited waiver of the Commission's rules requiring specified TV networks to provide 87.5 hours of video description per calendar quarter with restrictions on how repeats (frequent on USA) are counted.  In exchange, USA has offered to provide 1,000 hours of AD per quarter without regard to repeats and 75% of new non-live programming.  It is interesting to note that they also request that this waiver be granted to all other non-broadcast networks.  In our table of how much description networks are providing now (which includes repeats), it is interesting to note that USA Network continues to lead all other networks and well-exceed 1000 hours per quarter.  Initial comments are due by July 12.  FCC Notice.  (Posted Jun 18)

Technology Makes Museums More Accessible

Museums nationwide are working to make their collections more accessible for people with disabilities.  Some artists are making touchable adaptations of their works.  Or imagine passing your "hands along the raised figures in touchable versions of a Vietnam War photograph, [where] small metal sensors [touch] off recordings to explain whose picture [you are] touching and what had happened to him" -- an interesting form of audio description!  Read 3-D photographs? Technology makes museums more accessible.  Two other articles on museums address other accessibility features:  Children's Discovery Museum of San Jose and the first phase of Barrier Free Kerala, India.  (Posted Jun 11)

Pavarotti Comes to the Screen ... With AD!

The recently released movie, Pavarotti, which examines the life and career of opera tenor Luciano Pavarotti, is one of the select documentaries to be granted funding for audio description by voiceover artist and media accessibility advocate Michele Spitz, who operates under the business name Woman of Her Word.  Read this Hollywood Reporter article or the Press Release.  (Posted Jun 11)

Input Requested on TV AD Listings

We at the ADP try to offer you consolidated listings of described TV offerings ... only because no one else does!  Most of the TV Networks either have no listing or unreliable ones.  The ACB is trying to influence the FCC to require networks to either offer accurate listings or contributed to a central database.  What do YOU think?  Where do YOU get your listing data?  Are the network listings ACCURATE and ACCESSIBLE?  Please drop a note to our own Carl Richardson, who is the Chair of the Video Working Group for the FCC, with your answers.  Thanks.  (Posted Jun 11)

Podcast Interviews With Roy Samuelson

Roy Samuelson is one of Hollywood’s leading voiceover talents in film and television.  You've heard his AD narration of TV shows like NCIS and Lethal weapon and movies such as Jurassic World.  Listen to this podcast where he is interviewed on That Blind Tech Show.  And now there is a second podcast interview available from The Association of Blind Citizens.  (Updated Jun 4)

LAST CALL for Nominations:
11th Annual ADP Achievement Awards

It's time once again to nominate individuals and organizations for our annual "Achievement in Audio Description" awards.  Categories are as follows:

- Achievement in Audio Description - Media
- Achievement in Audio Description - Performing Arts
- Achievement in Audio Description - Museums/Visual Art/Visitor Centers
- Achievement in Audio Description - International
- Dr. Margaret Pfanstiehl Memorial Award in Audio Description - Research and Development
- Barry Levine Memorial Award for Career Achievement in Audio Description

You can read the award nomination document and/or view past winnersDeadline is June 7.  (Updated Jun 4)

Audio Described TV in Australia

Australia lags other developed nations in not offering audio description via over-the-air TV.  So recently, when a commercial with audio description was aired, it was like a breath of fresh air for viewers with visual impairment!  Read:  Australia’s first totally accessible ad hits TV screens.  (Posted May 28)

"The Vale" Arrives in August

Are you a gamer?  How about a game that is described as an "audio-based experience" that is specifically designed and developed with visually impaired players in mind?  It's coming in August.  Read:  'The Vale,' a Video Game for the Visually Impaired, Coming to PC in August.  (Posted May 28)

Actiview at the Movies

Actiview (a free iPhone App) periodically releases description tracks for first-run movies.  Using the App with your iPhone in a movie theater allows you better control over volume and type of earpiece than using a cinema's AD units, which are sometimes flaky.  At home, you can listen to description while others don't have to.  The following two description tracks were released recently for new movies:

There are a total of 28 Actiview description tracks available for free.  (Posted May 14)

Audio Description in China

Meet the woman making film accessible to the visually impaired is the title of an article on Time Out Shanghai.  Han Ying, who is visually impaired, now edits audio description for films, and she discusses how she got the job and what some of the challenges are.  Her hope for the future is the same as many others:  "when someone walks into a cinema, with the help of a chip and a pair of earphones, they’re able to enjoy most of the latest films in most of the commercial cinemas and be surrounded by visually abled people."  Yes!  (Posted Apr 23)

FCC Seeks YOUR Input on "Video Description"

*** LAST CALL ***

 The FCC will continue to accept comments through MAY 1.
The ACB will forward your comments on your behalf through MONDAY APRIL 29.

In preparation for a report to Congress, the FCC is soliciting input on "recent developments in the video description marketplace."  Those topics which apply to consumers are as follows:

This is an extremely important opportunity for each individual who enjoys the benefits of described television programming to provide input!  Failing to respond means you are willing to let others decide how much described programming you receive.  PLEASE take the time to read the following document and provide your input.  FCC 11-43 Document.  (To read a version with all the footnotes removed, use this Screen Reader version of FCC 11-43 Document link.)  Then use the Online Express Input Form to submit comments.  In the online input form, type "11-43" in "Proceedings," press Enter, then continue through the form.  If you prefer to submit a Word or other format document, use the Regular Filings option, type "11-43" in "Proceedings," press Enter, then continue.  Deadline was April 1, but comments will be accepted through May 1!!!  Do it now! 

NEW REPLY OPTION:
You can email your personalized comments to advocacy@acb.org  and the ACB national office will file your comments on your behalf through Monday, April 29.
(Updated Apr 23)

Is AD the Future of TV Viewing?

Curtin research finds audio description key to future of television viewing.  That's the title of an article by an Australian University.  Curiously, they point out that "Australia is the only English-speaking nation in the OECD [a 36-country consortium] not to offer audio description on free-to-air television."  Their theory is “Audio description would be attractive to people who are multi-tasking while they are watching television and has the potential to become another television accessibility feature that is embraced by the mainstream population, just as closed captions have been.”  (Posted Apr 16)

The Wizardry of Audio Description

Wizard of Oz VHS TapeIn the 1960s, Chet Avery, a blind theater-lover, now retired from the Department of Education, conceived of audio description as a formal process that could convey the visual images of theater performances to people who are blind or have low vision.

Many years later, he enjoyed sharing described versions of movies with his granddaughter, Kate.  Kate grew to love the described versions – "Grandpa's version" – and in an essay relates her enchantment with the described VHS tape of "The Wizard of Oz" (with description provided by WGBH).  Read Kate Avery's essay and enjoy a clip from the film.  (Posted Apr 9)

The CW's In the Dark

The CW offers a Saturday morning kids' series called One Magnificent Morning with description.  Now they are offering an original prime time series Thursdays at 9pm called In the Dark.  Why is it described?  Presumably because its leading character is a blind woman!  And that, of course, has lead to the controversy that the actress (Perry Mattfeld) is not blind herself.  Read The CW’s In the Dark Is a Compelling Look at the Blind Experience.  Please note that since The CW is not a network mandated by the FCC to carry description, you may or may not be able to receive description locally.  Also note that this show has adult themes.  (Posted Apr 9)

Streaming Video Listings Unified Updated

For the past few weeks we've been talking about modifications to our streaming video listings for Hulu, iTunes, Netflix, and Prime Video to add more and more features.  Now, finally, they all contain the same information:  Title, Type (movie, series, etc.), link to content, genre, and rating, PLUS we have separate by-genre listings for each service (except Hulu).  Please note that each service assigns a primary genre to each video, and their choice of genres may differ from service to service for the same title, plus we "consolidate" similar genres for convenience.  (Updated Apr 9)

ACVREP Audio Description Certification Subject Matter Expert Committee Formed

Last fall, the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP) announced it was recruiting individuals who might wish to serve on its new Subject Matter Expert Committee for Audio Description.  Both a Certification Committee and an Advisory Board have now been formed.  The committee will be charged with crafting all material related to the certification process for audio description.  Read the ACVREP Announcement.  (Posted Apr 3)

*** Hulu Begins Audio Description ***

Hulu has begun providing Audio Description, and we are summarizing what we know on our new Hulu page plus including the programs in our Master AD List. Note that audio description is only available via a web browser initially.

And here is an article about Hulu beginning description.  (Updated Apr 3)

WMU Student Helps Launch AD for Theatre

The Kalamazoo (Michigan) Civic Theatre was approached by a patron about offering audio description.  Fortunately, they located Abby Tongue, a student at Western Michigan University's Department of Blindness and Low Vision Studies, who reached out to others, including the ACB, to prepare herself to offer her services as an audio describer.  Read the story of how this came about!  (Posted Mar 12)

The Oscars:  A Missing Award

They honor the script writers, but how about the audio describers?  "For blind cinema goers, audio description is a crucial part of any film.  It is just as important as acting, cinematography and score."  That's the premise of this article on The Conversation website entitled, Oscars: audio description brings film to life for blind people, it deserves an award too.  The article concludes with, "It may be too late for this year but it seems only right that an audio describer is properly awarded at the 2020 Oscars."  Read it and see if you agree!  By the way, the French Confederation for the Advancement of Blind People has addressed this issue, as noted in the article. Très bien! (Posted Feb 26)

“Access,” a Short Film About Accessibility

It took Chris Higgins nearly four years to complete "Access," a short documentary which "follows Cory Joseph through a typical day, showing how he uses his smartphone, braille display, tactile watch, and guide dog (named Vine) to navigate the world."  He struggled with editing to allow for audio description, but here's the great point of all this:  "Ultimately I decided that there should be only one version of this film, and it should include Audio Description, because that makes the film accessible to a wider audience.  I think there’s a lesson for creative people:  Even if you think you 'get it,' you might not be getting it.  Leave room to reconsider."  Wow!  Thank you Chris.  Read the Article and Watch Access.  (Posted Feb 15)

From Our Friends in the UK:
Where is TV Audio Description Heading in 2019

This article from the BroadcastNow website in the UK addresses the same frustration visually impaired TV watchers have in the USA and elsewhere:  a lot of top shows are not audio described or fail to be described later on other platforms.  (Posted Feb 15)  Also in the UK (From Jan 9):

European Audio Subtitles Day

An Audio Subtitles Day will be held in Barcelona on March 4 "to raise awareness of the accessibility possibilities of existing subtitling assets."  (You may need to click through several lead-in pages,)  (Posted Feb 15)

2019 BADIE Contest Winners Announced

The 2019 winners of the Benefits of Audio Description In Education have been announced.  Congratulations to Grand Prize Winner John Holstein from the West Virginia School for the Blind for his review of Snowflake Bentley and Voyage to Mars -- and to all the other winners.  Read the BADIE Press Release.  (Posted Feb 5)

Theater of the Mind

In the article, Theater of the Mind: Washington Ear brings live theater to visually impaired, the accomplishments of The Metropolitan Washington Ear are discussed.  The first audio description of live theater took place in Washington in 1981.  Now, a team of 21 audio describers covers upwards of 60 plays a year in nine theaters.  This article is a great introduction to what audio description is and its benefits!  (Posted Feb 5)

Netflix Adds By-Genre AD Listings

At the urging of the Audio Description Project based on user feedback, Netflix has modified their Audio Description in English listing (only available to members) to include separate links for audio described programs by genre.  The genre options are as follows:  TV Shows, Action, Anime, Children & Family, Comedies, Crime, Documentaries, Dramas, Horror, Independent, International, Music & Musicals, Reality, Romance, Sci-Fi & Fantasy, Stand-Up Comedy, Thrillers.  (Posted Feb 3)

Marilee Talkington Luncheon Address

Finally, we have excerpted the luncheon address by Marilee Talkington at our ADP Conference last July from an otherwise damaged conference recording.  Marilee is an actress with significant visual impairment.  She recounted for us her experience trying to break into the commercial world of acting, and we play (on the recording) an excerpt of her role in an NCIS episode last year.  Listen to the 40-minute MP3 file by clicking the link above.  (Posted Jan 18)

Audio Description in Israel

In 2018, Israel's Central Library for the Blind received the annual Audio Description Project's International award.  Later this month (January 2019), the Library will offer its first Audio Description training course.  Read about all the accomplishments the library has made in the past year regarding audio description!  (Posted Jan 15)

CVAA Accessibility Rules Now Apply to Video Games

A waiver offering video games temporary exemption from the Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 has expired, meaning that games released after the expiration date of December 31, 2018 have a set of new communication-focused rules to keep in mind to stay on the up-and-up with the Federal Communications Commission and dodge potential fines.  Read CVAA accessibility rules come into effect for games as FCC waiver expires.  (Posted Jan 9)

Inaccessible Specialty Video Websites

As a visually impaired gay man, author/journalist Belo Cipriani was excited when he "heard about GayMovie Database — a new, online database of over 1,000 TV shows, as well as short and long movies of interest to the LGBTQ community."  Unfortunately, it wasn't very accessible.  In this article, he discusses his frustration with the pervasive problem about websites ignoring accessibility upfront and the difficulties of retrofit.  Read Seeing in the Dark: Debunking digital inclusion.  (Posted Jan 9)

Audio Description Is For Sighted Folks, Too!

Roland BearneA December article in The Slate highlights how GOOD audio description can enhance ANYONE's enjoyment of a film.  In The Best Performance in A Christmas Prince Is the One You Never See On Screen, the author declares, "in the case of A Christmas Prince, the audio description serves another bonus function [beyond its intended audience], because it also happens to be the ideal A Christmas Prince––watching companion."  The author wisely reminds us, "Good audio description does not call attention to itself."  She then goes on to compliment describer Roland Bearne's audio description.  Bearne (pictured), a Brit, has been describing for almost 20 years.  (Posted Jan 1)

Celebrating 10 Years 

Happy 10th Birthday - Audio Description Project!

In January 2009, Joel Snyder and then-ACB president Chris Gray proposed the establishment of an initiative to promote and celebrate the development of audio description: the Audio Description Project (ADP). Kim Charlson led the ADP's steering committee until her "promotion" several years ago to ACB President. Since that time, Dan Spoone has ably steered the ADP toward its current vibrant level of activity with the important contributions of Dr. Joel Snyder, the Project's director, and Fred Brack, the ADP webmaster. For a review of the ADP's accomplishment over the past decade and throughout 2018, please read Our First Decade report.

Joe, Fred, Kim, Dan
Joel, Fred, Kim, and Dan

And Thanks Also to ...

Here's two more folks who bring contributions to this website each week. Sebastian Andrade Miles, who pours over TV listings each week to bring you our TV by Days listing; and Vicki Vogt from the Perkins School for the Blind Library, who each week compiles and circulates a detailed listing of all the described movies currently showing in theatres.  We extract them and offer her listing to you under Cinema above.  Thanks!  (Posted Jan 1)

Sebastian Andrade Miles Vicki Vogt