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Welcome to the Audio Description Project!

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

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Featured Articles

The History of Audio Description

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

Audio Describer Certification Proposal

The ACB is interested in developing a certification process for audio describers.  To that end, they have reached out to the Academy for Certification of Vision Rehabilitation and Education Professionals (ACVREP) to develop a certification process for audio description professionals.  In addition, the ACB is hosting an open conference call on April 2 to discuss the proposal.  Interested parties should review the following two documents.  (Posted Mar 6)

Audio Description Training
One Seat Left!

The next opportunity for training as an audio describer will be Audio Description Training Retreats' next class in NC on March 15-19.  Visit our Training/Education page for details.  (Updated Mar 13)

Winter PARALYMPICS Audio Description

Paralympics LogoAudio description is available for PARALYMPICS primetime coverage on NBC from March 9-16.  Description is once again provided by Descriptive Video Works of Canada, winners of the 2017 ADP Barry Levine Memorial Award for Career Achievement in Audio Description.  They also provide description for Netflix and other media.  (Updated Mar 1)

Olympics Describers

Survey:  Visually Impaired Adults Watch a Lot of TV!

A survey conducted by Comcast and the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB) concluded that adults with visual impairment watch almost as much television as their sighted counterparts -- four or more hours per day.  While responders reported the helpfulness of audio description and voice control, awareness (less than half) was disappointingly low.  Read the survey results.  (Posted Feb 20)

Survey Results: Regarding visually impaired adults, 96% watch TV, 55% watch more than 4 hours/day, less than 50% are aware of assistive technologies.

Audio Description News

New Audio Described DVDs and Blu-ray Discs

On March 13, four DVDs were released with audio description trakcs:  Call Me by Your Name, Ferdinand, Justice League, The Shape of Water.  On March 6, two DVDs were released with audio description tracks:  Novitiate, Thor: Ragnarok.

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2018 DVDs:  Call Me by Your Name, Ferdinand, Justice League, The Shape of Water, Novitiate, Thor: Ragnarok, Coco, Murder on the Orient Express, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, Daddy's Home 2, Same Kind of Different As Me, The Star, Roman J. Israel, Esq., Wonder, Only the Brave, Suburbicon, Tyler Perry's Boo 2! A Madea Halloween, Geostorm, Goodbye Christopher Robbin, Jigsaw, Thank You For Your Service, Blade Runner 2049, The Snowman, It, more...   

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New Audio Described USA TV Programs

NBC Good Girls, Mondays at 10pm.  Champions, Thursdays at 9:30pm. New

TBS Final Space, Mondays at 10:30pm.

USA Network American Ninja Warrior: Ninja vs. Ninja, Thursdays at 9pm.  Also known as ANW: Ninja vs. Ninja, and in their listings simply as Ninja vs. Ninja. This show is a spinoff of the original American Ninja Warrior which began its tenth season on NBC on March 11.

(Updated Mar 13)

Telemundo: Children's Programs with Spanish AD

Telemundo, a division of NBCUniversal Hispanic Enterprises and Content, has begun airing its first audio described programming -- and it's for children, in Spanish, of course!  The Mi Telemundo Kids and Family Programming Block (as it's called) began this month and starts at 8am Saturday Mornings.  It consists of El Viajero Con Josh Garcia, Salvando Animales, Aventuras Con Dylan Dreyer, Vivir Al Natural, Danny Seo, Una Mano Amiga, and El Campeón En Ti.  Produced by Litton Entertainment with dubbing, description, and captioning by Bridge Multimedia, this series is the fifth set of audio described Saturday morning shows for kids (the others being on ABC, CBS, NBC, and The CW).  Read more about Mi Telemundo. (Posted Jan 23)

Sighted Folks Listen to Netflix AD as Audiobooks

A couple of recent articles have promoted the idea of sighted folks listening to Netflix in their car (or elsewhere) with the Audio Description track turned on, effectively turning a video into an audiobook!

Update!  A recent article on the lack of audio description on television in AUSTRALIA points out:

"... unexpected audiences for AD are emerging because of user engagement. For example, the elderly, people with intellectual disabilities, and people whose first language is not English find benefits from the availability of AD. AD can also aid in the creation of image transcripts and databases, and in early childhood and university level education, including video-based medical education... Netflix currently offers the only consistent AD service in Australia."  (Updated Mar 6)

Audio Description on Cruise Ships

Joel describing on a cruiseOne of our ADP committees has been discussing the requirements for and availability of audio description on cruise ships.  While this is an ongoing project, our Project Director Joel Snyder, who has actually provided audio description on cruise ships, has prepared a "white paper" on the subject. Interested?  Read Cruising to a More Inclusive Experience on Cruise Ships.  (Posted Feb 13)

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

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

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

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