FAQ: What You Should Know About Audio Description

August 19, 2019 BY JACLYN LEDUC


Audio description is showing up in more and more places, but what is it, how does it work, and why is it important? In the Intro to Audio Description webinar, we answer those questions and more.

Like closed captions, audio description is an important accessibility requirement for video content. Audio description narrates the relevant visual information in a video and makes content accessible to blind and low vision users. It’s also helpful for language development, auditory learners, and viewing flexibility in certain environments.

During the webinar, viewers learn of several ways to add audio descriptions to online videos, which video players are compatible with audio description tracks, and even how to create quality descriptions on their own.


What's included in this post?
Below is a snippet from the Q&A portion of the webinar in which questions about legal requirements, video player compatibility, and 3Play’s own audio description process are addressed.

Is there any legal requirement or recommendation for voice type?

 JACLYN LEDUC:  The general answer to that is, no. According to the DCMP, a description should be distinguishable from the original audio of that video. So for example, if the audio is primarily a woman speaking, you might consider having a male audio description voice so that it’s distinguishable from the main audio track. But generally, there’s no legal requirement as to what the voice needs to be.

If someone wants to create their own description, is there a tool that we recommend?

 JACLYN LEDUC:  The easiest way would be to get a caption file and then add the description within the natural pauses after getting that caption file. It kind of makes that process easier, especially if you’re creating your audio descriptions on your own– mostly because the captions are already time-coded. So that will help you out a lot.

And then you can then record yourself reading the description or you can describe as you record– say, if you’re recording a classroom your lecture or something like that.

What are the video players that support audio description?

 JACLYN LEDUC:  There [is] Ooyala, OzPlayer, Brightcove, JW Player, Able, and Kaltura. [These] are the players that support descriptions at this time.

What is 3Play’s process for hiring audio describers?

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 JACLYN LEDUC:  If you’re familiar with our captioning service, all of our describers are trained to go through a rigorous process. We do use the DCMP key description key standards and make sure that all of our describers understand best practices and quality and rules for prioritizing what to describe, how to describe, and when to describe all of those things. So we do have a very strict policy in training to make sure that we have the best describers possible.

If traditional vendors charge $15 to $75 for audio description, what is typical of 3Play Media’s prices?

 JACLYN LEDUC:  Our…service starts at $9 per minute. We are different from other vendors because, as I mentioned, we use a mix of technology and human describers to create…a much more cost-effective solution.

Get more answers to your audio description questions – watch the full recorded webinar or include your questions in the comment section below. 💬

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