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.

What Is Audio Description?

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.

View an Example:

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.

  • Audio file of description only (MP3, OGG, WAV)

  • Audio file of source audio & description (MP3, OGG, WAV)

  • Video file of source video, source audio, & 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.

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 develop the 3Play Plugin.

The 3Play Plugin is a free tool that allows publishers to create a fully interactive and accessible video experience for viewers, even when using videos they don’t own.

By providing options to use iframe embed or javascript embed, the 3Play Plugin is compatible with most video players and publishing platforms, including LMS systems.

It enables users to add captions, interactive transcripts, audio description, and SEO to videos they don’t own and to video players that otherwise don’t support these features.

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.

Extended Audio Description

We provide two service types for audio description: standard and extended. If your video has little visual information to describe or has significant natural pauses in speech, standard audio description is likely sufficient for your file.

If your video has very few natural pauses in the audio track or has extensive/complex visual content, your video may require extended audio description. This service pauses the video to allow for longer descriptions when there is not enough space to sufficiently describe the visuals in your video. An example of audio description can be found here.


Ready to get started with audio description?

Check out our plans and pricing.