2019 Audio Description Institute

July 10 - July 12, 2019 (Wednesday - Friday)
In Conjunction with ACB's 2019 Conference and Convention
Hyatt Regency Rochester / Rochester, NY USA

Audio Description (AD) makes visual images accessible for people who are blind or have low vision.  Using words that are succinct, vivid, and imaginative, media describers convey the visual image from television and film that is not fully accessible to a significant segment of the population (more than 21 million Americans experience significant vision loss).

The implementation of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act has spawned a virtual cottage industry for the development of description for broadcast television. 


Who Should Attend

Anyone interested in:

  • Working as freelance description writers for broadcast television
  • Working as a describer in a local performing arts program
  • Working as a describer for visual art exhibitions
  • Experienced audio describers desiring an updated refresher course.

NOTE: Freelance writers for broadcast television projects can often be based anywhere in the world -- computer equipment capable of accommodating high-speed downloads is a must.


Institute topics include:

  • Audio description history and theory
  • The "Four Fundamentals of Audio Description" ©
  • Active seeing/visual literacy-developing skills in concentration and observation
  • The art of "editing" what you see
  • Vivid language: "The Visual Made Verbal"™ 
  • "Speak the speech, I pray you"-using the spoken word to make meaning   



  • Three full days of intensive, interactive training
  • A Friday luncheon will be provided

Each registrant will receive a signed copy of Dr. Joel Snyder's ACB-published The Visual Made Verbal:  A Comprehensive Training Manual and Guide to the History and Applications of Audio Description.

The interactive sessions (limited use of lecture, questions/discussion throughout, generous use of media, and individual and group writing exercises) are designed to provide immediate feedback and "give and take," allowing for adaptation according to a sense of participants' grasp of the material.  In addition, experienced users of description are a part of the Institute's faculty, providing an important perspective throughout the sessions.

This Institute will begin at 9:00 am on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 and conclude at 4:00 pm on Friday, July 12, 2019. 

Participation is limited.  The Institute will issue ACB-sponsored certificates to all successful participants confirming completion of this professional description training program. 


Institute Director/Staff

Joel Snyder, Ph.D. -- One of the first audio describers, Dr. Snyder began describing theater events and media in 1981; he is the President of Audio Description Associates, LLC with clients world-wide (see www.audiodescribe.com for more information) and Director of ACB's Audio Description Project. For six years, he led a staff that produced description for nationally broadcast films and network series including "Sesame Street" broadcasts and DVDs. Snyder has worked with description and trained describers in more than 40 states and in over 50 countries. 

In addition, audio description consumer consultants (audio description enthusiasts who are blind or have low vision) will offer their perspectives.



  • $495.00 - credit card payment accepted by secure on-line registration



  • Hyatt Regency Rochester or the Rochester Riverside Hotel
  • Room rates at the Hyatt and the Riverside are $89 per night (single or double occupancy, with an additional $10 per person for up to four people). This room rate does not include tax, which is currently 14%.
    • For telephone reservations, call the Riverside at (585) 546-6400 or the Hyatt at 1-800-233-1234. Make sure to mention you are with the American Council of the Blind 2019; rooms must be booked by June 7, 2019 to guarantee the convention rate.
    • To make reservations online for the Hyatt hotel, visit the ACB Hyatt Reservation page. To make reservations online for the Riverside hotel, visit the Rochester Riverside Hotel – American Council of the Blind Convention 2019 page.


Register On-line:

To register, visit https://acbconvention.org/account/adp/login.php

For questions or additional information, contact Joel Snyder at jsnyder@acb.org or call at 202-467-5083 or 301-920-0218.

The number of participants we can accept is limited, so please register on-line and soon to avoid being left out.


View the 2019 Audio Description Institute Agenda here.