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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. 

SEARCH within the ADP website Jan 2019: Google says they are working on making the fields above accessible...


FCC Second Report To Congress on TV Description

Earlier this year the FCC requested comments from consumers and industry on the state of "video description" in the USA.  There were surprisingly few responses:  three from industry, two from consumer groups (including the ACB), and 34 consumers (all of whom are named at the end of the report).  Thank you if your name is on that list.

While the report is far too detailed to summarize fully here, we especially appreciate the comment that "both consumer and industry commenters identify the ADP as a key resource for aggregating and updating an online database of all available video-described content in the United States"!  That would be our Master AD List, which has just exceeded 3000 titles. 

Here is a slightly edited summary of the FCC Report's Conclusions:

"The record demonstrates that there has been significant progress in the types and amount of video-described programming available, and that consumers would benefit from continued increases.  Consumers who are blind or visually impaired derive significant benefit from the use of video description, as detailed in the record, and commenters indicate that technological developments should improve the availability of accurate information about what programming contains video description, as well as the current tension between whether Spanish-language programming or video description should be provided on a single available secondary audio stream...  Although consumers seek expansion of the video description requirements to [markets] outside the top 60, the record does not contain conclusive information as to whether the costs of such an expansion would be reasonable.  The record also demonstrates that most VOD [Video On Demand] programming and online programming currently does not include video description, potentially due to current technical limitations.  We will continue to monitor marketplace developments regarding video description, including for online programming, and we hope that industry will take the initiative to provide more video-described programming, including online and on-demand, even where it is not required to do so."

Read the full Commission Report.  (Posted Oct 10)


Featured Articles

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)

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)

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)

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)

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

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 2020 BADIE Contest is Open!

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.  Read the details about entering the BADIE Contest!  (Posted Sep 10)

Audio Description News

New Audio Described DVDs and Blu-ray Discs

On October 8, 2 DVDs were released with audio description tracks:  Annabelle Comes Home; Toy Story 4.  On October 1, 2 DVDs were released with audio description tracks:  Maiden; Spider-Man: Far From Home.  Note also that on September 10 Disney released a lot of 4K+Blu-ray rereleases which include AD tracks.  All of the previous videos had AD tracks, but now they are available on 4K and Blu-ray.

Featured DVD Featured DVD
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Coming Next Week (Oct 15):  The Art of Self-Defense; Crawl (probably); Stuber (probably).  We still don't know about Red Joan released on 10/8.

Recent Described DVDs:  Annabelle Comes Home; Toy Story 4; Maiden; Spider-Man: Far From Home; 101 Dalmatians (Signature Collection); Anna; Child's Play; Pavarotti; Shaft (2019); Sleeping Beauty (Signature Collection); Yesterday; X-Men: Dark Phoenix; Aladdin; Aladdin (Signature Collection); John Wick: Chapter 3 - Parabellum; Ratatouille (BR Release); The Dead Don't Die; Booksmart; Ma; more...   

See these lists of described DVDs released in the USA:

Join us on Facebook or Twitter (links below) to receive new described DVD notifications, or use the page-change notification form at the top of this page.

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. Updated Oct 8

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

History Channel Knife or Death, various times.

USA Network Treadstone, premiering October 15 at 10pm.

SATURDAY MORNING CHILDREN'S SHOWS:  New Oct 8

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.

Apple TV+ Will Describe All Original Content

Apple TV+At the annual Apple fall product announcement on September 10, details about the upcoming service known as Apple TV+ were announced.  According to the Apple TV+ Press Release, the service will consist of all-original content, and "Apple TV+ series and movies will ... be available with audio descriptions in eight languages."  The service begins on November 1 at a cost of $4.99 per month for a family plan, free for one year to new purchasers of select Apple products.  See also this article on Cord Cutters News.  (Updated Sep 17)

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) 

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)]

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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!