Audio Description

Audio Description for the Blind or Visually Impaired

Audio description is often described as closed captioning for the blind therefore it is common today to see audio description used in theaters and museums to describe the key visual elements. At Mediapolis, we use audio description to describe the visuals in videos.

Audio description logo

Audio description (AD), also referred to as a video description,  or more precisely called visual description as it is an additional narration track that describes relevant visual elements of a video not represented in the original audio track for the benefit of people who are blind or vision impaired. 

Open or Closed Audio Description

Open audio description plays automatically when you click play and can’t be turned off. Since many players don’t support audio description, it is common to make two versions of the video: one with audio descriptions and one without.
The viewer can turn on or off closed captioning. It’s very much like selecting the audio track on your favorite movie disc. Only a few players support this feature.

Creating Audio Description

Audio description requires upfront planning and extra time in post production.  The workflow requires watching the video and describing the scene. Then we record and review a scratch version of the voice over. You want to make sure this draft version flows before bringing in a professional voice talent. Then narration is then recorded and the timeline is re-edited to include this secondary voice over. In some cases the scenes in the video need to be longer to incorporate the secondary voice over that describes the video.

When writing the script, it’s a good practice to make sure that there’s time in each scene for someone to describe it. Avoid busy graphics, fast paced cuts and transitions because they make the video harder to describe. Plus it makes it hard for your audience to understand what’s going on in the video.

Standard or Extended Audio Description

Standard audio description adds the spoken description of visual elements to the natural pauses of the sound track, such as between dialogue and during the beginning of a scene. This method keeps the video length the same as the original video.

Extended audio description is used when the sound track may not have enough natural pauses. This involves editing the video to freeze or pause at points throughout the timeline to add the spoken description. Extended audio description increases the length of the video.

Compliant and Accessibility Laws

We can help you get compliant with accessibility laws in United States that assist people who are blind or have low vision. We can make sure that your video complies with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG). Federal Agencies must comply with Section 508, but many states, including Minnesota, passed laws that extend  accessibility to organizations that receive federal funding.

We look forward to working with you on your next project that needs audio description. Start today by contacting Mediapolis.

Mediapolis logoMediapolis, LLC
Minneapolis, MN 55412