Audio Description Services
3Play Media provides high quality, competitively priced audio description services for online video. Once your media files have been uploaded to our system, your audio description will be created by professional describers who utilize our unique workflow, process, and advanced technology.
Audio Description, also known as Descriptive Audio or Video Description, narrates the relevant visual information contained in a video and is an accommodation for blind and low-vision viewers. These descriptions fit into natural pauses in the video’s audio track to provide context, to clarify speakers, and to articulate visual elements that are critical to gain a comprehensive understanding of the video. You can see an example below:
Extended Audio Description
If your video has very few natural pauses in the audio track or has extensive/complex visual information, your video may require extended audio description. Extended audio description pauses the video to allow for longer descriptions in locations where there is not enough space to sufficiently describe the visuals in your video. If you’re not sure which service level is appropriate for your video, you can use our automated recommendation to help determine fit.
Audio Description Output Formats
After your files have been processed, you can instantly download your audio description files. We provide several different output formats and an audio description plugin to alleviate the technical difficulties that audio description can present.
Your description files will stay in your account indefinitely and you can access any formats anytime.
The formats provided will include:
- Audio file of description only (MP3, OGG, WAV)
- Audio file of source audio & description (MP3, OGG, WAV)
- Video file of source video, source video, & description (MP4)
- Text file of description only (TXT, DOC)
- Text file of transcript & description (TXT, Doc)
- Timestamped text file of transcript & description (TXT, DOC)
- Time-coded WebVTT audio description track
- Audio description plugin
Process and Quality
Without exception, all work is done in the US by native English speakers capable of accurately capturing the nuances of your content. Our professional describers follow standards based on the DCMP description key to ensure consistent, high quality descriptions regardless of content type.
Audio Description Editor
We provide an easy-to-use editing interface that allows users to edit their descriptions, add or remove descriptions, nudge the timecode of their descriptions, and play back their edits using synthesized speech.
Our audio description service uses synthesized speech to voice your descriptions. We provide three voice options and three speed options, which you can sample on our AD examples page. To alleviate issues with pronunciation, our editors use phonetic transcription codes to make sure the synthesized speech pronounces words in your file correctly. Learn more about the benefits of using synthesized speech for audio description.
How to Publish Audio Description on Your Videos
Unfortunately, most popular video players and platforms do not support WebVTT description tracks or secondary audio tracks – although there are exceptions. This is why we felt it was so important to provide an audio description plugin.
Our audio description plugin is a simple embed that references your video and plays the secondary audio description track along with your video. This means that you don’t have to publish a second video with a single merged audio track.
You can find out more about how to order, download, and publish audio description by reading our how-to guides.
Legal Requirements for Audio Description
Many of the same accessibility laws that require closed captioning for video also require audio description. In the US, audio description is required in many circumstances under the 21st Century Video Accessibility Act (CVAA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and Section 504 and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act.
The international standard for web accessibility, WCAG 2.0, requires audio description under guideline 1.2 for time-based media. Most web accessibility experts recommend shooting for WCAG 2.0 Level AA compliance, which requires audio description for all prerecorded video content in synchronized media.