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.
Audio Description Narrators of America
Last Week of the Contest!
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
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
in December we released the first official list of audio described
titles available on the new
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).
Actiview Acquired by Charter Communications
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)
The A-List Celebrity of the Blind & Visually Impaired
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
Birthday Fundraiser for the ADP, then drop us a note so we can follow-up. (Posted Dec 3)
All Things Audio Description Podcast
On 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 [
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
With 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
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.
mixed-ish, Tuesdays at 9pm;
Emergence, Tuesdays at 10pm;
Stumptown, Wednesdays at 10pm;
Mondays at 10pm;
Kids Say the Darndest Things, premieres Sunday October 6 at
Seal Team season premiere Tuesday October 1 at 9pm.
Bless the Harts, Sundays at 8:30pm;
Prodigal Son, Mondays at 10pm;
Almost Family, Wednesdays at 9pm.
Bluff City Law, Mondays at 10pm;
Us, season premiere Tuesday September 24 at 9pm.
Knife or Death, various times.
House Hunters Family, check local listing for times.
Treadstone, premiering October 15 at 10pm.
SATURDAY MORNING CHILDREN'S SHOWS:
Hearts of Heroes
Best Friends Furever with Kel Mitchell; Mission
Unstoppable; Pet Vet Dream Team
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
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
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)
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:
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)
"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
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
Paramount Studios Releases 150+
New AD Tracks for Old
In 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.)
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
While audio description for people with visually impairment is not a
wholly unknown service in the Bay Area (San Jose-based
frequently describes shows for both
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.
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
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:
- Audio Description Accessibility and Technology:
Open Forum with Representatives from Major Providers and Streaming
- Audio Description Advocacy: Legislative
Advocacy; and Promoting AD in National Parks, Performing Arts Venues,
Museums, and Educational Settings
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
Edinburgh Festival: Many Performances With AD
Each August, Edinburgh, Scotland, offers five separate events as part of
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.
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.
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
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
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,
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,
Dr. Margaret R. Pfanstiehl Memorial Achievement Award
in Audio Description - Research and Development: Dr.
Brett Oppegaard, The UniDescription Project - University
Barry Levine Memorial Award for Career Achievement in Audio
Description: Jon P. Skaalen - Minneapolis,
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:
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
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!
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
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
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
It's time once again to nominate individuals and organizations for our
annual "Achievement in Audio Description" awards. Categories are as
- Achievement in Audio Description - Media
- Achievement in Audio
Description - Performing Arts
- Achievement in Audio Description -
Museums/Visual Art/Visitor Centers
- Achievement in Audio Description -
- Dr. Margaret Pfanstiehl Memorial Award in Audio
Description - Research and Development
- Barry Levine Memorial Award for
Career Achievement in Audio Description
award nomination document and/or view past
Deadline 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
"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:
- Poms (PG-13)
- UglyDolls (PG)
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:
- The amount and types of programming described, including children's
programming and specific examples of what is watched.
- The extent to which household members, both visually impaired or
not, watch described programming.
- The ease with which consumers can access online guides, and how well
the networks inform you of their described programming.
- How well are networks making available Video-On-Demand of previously
- Are there "any data points that quantify or otherwise capture
the benefits of video description for audiences"?
- Other questions are primarily for networks to answer.
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
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
option, type "11-43" in "Proceedings," press Enter, then continue. Deadline
was April 1, but comments will be accepted through May 1!!!
NEW REPLY OPTION:
email your personalized comments to
email@example.com and the ACB national office will file your comments on your
behalf through Monday, April 29.
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
In 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
Read Kate Avery's essay and
enjoy a clip from the
film. (Posted Apr 9)
The CW's In the Dark
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
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
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
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
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
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
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!
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)
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,
Our First Decade
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)