The number of Americans with visual impairment or blindness in the United States is expected to double to more than 8 million by 2050. As the number of people who are blind or with low-vision grows so, too, does the need to make visual content more accessible. Audio description narration, which describes a video’s visual elements, is one way to do this. This descriptive video service is available in theaters, cinemas, travel tours, and on television and streaming media.
Audio description, also called video description or described video service (DVS), is a narrative description of onscreen actions, visual cues such as characters and costumes, and text appearing in graphics or a video.
As with captions, which now are used by people who are hearing and deaf alike, the popularity of audio description is expanding beyond its original audience. This feature also caters to a world of multi-tasking TV watchers who want to understand action on TV without focusing solely on the video. VITAC provides audio description for:
Our audio description process involves four areas of production: writing, voicing, audio editing, and quality control.
The above describes the process for prerecorded audio content. Lately, more and more producers are asking for audio description for live television broadcasts. It can be done in a highly controlled environment where the writer and voicer are the same, and the mix is performed by the network. We are proud to provide this service via partnerships with the most talented describers in the industry.
Extended audio description expands a video by building strategic, temporary pauses into a program, allowing room for a lengthier description to be included. This creates an “extended” version of the original video that includes more information than a standard audio described version for individuals who are blind or have low vision.
Extended audio description can be used to enhance a variety of content, including:
Just as with standard audio description, our professionals carefully analyze videos and often work with content creators to decide where additional pauses make the most sense, keep the best flow for the program, and convey the video’s intended message.
In the United States, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) mandates 87.5 hours per quarter of audio described content on:
These services also are available on original streaming content on many platforms, including:
On television networks, audio description is accessed by navigating to the Secondary Audio Program (SAP) channel, usually in the accessibility settings of a set-top box. On streaming platforms, audio description can be chosen as a separate audio language.
Because not all content is described, it’s sometimes hard to find out just what is available. Resources to find audio description include:
As the nation’s largest provider of accessible media solutions, we are uniquely positioned to provide audio description services. We continually invest in our infrastructure and people, offer world-famous customer service, industry-leading turnarounds, and competitive pricing. Most importantly, we provide the same high-quality product as with our captioning, while having the capacity to handle description needs when new requirements kick in.
At VITAC, we pride ourselves on being more than just your audio description provider. We partner with clients and work closely to help them achieve their accessibility goals.
Our clients rely on us to:
This video showcases audio description for a popular episode from Discovery Channel’s “Shark Week.” The first description is “A man in a scuba suit.” Note at 24 seconds: “A shark, teeth bared, collides with the protective cage.”
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