Santa Barbara, CA - January 13, 2020 | cielo24, the industry leader in video captioning and…
Audio description is the new frontier of accessible media. By definition, audio description is the verbal depiction of key visual elements in media and live productions. It is a tool that helps people with low vision, vision impairment or blindness to more completely experience video content by explaining what is happening within the media beyond dialogue alone.
Take the opening scene of The Lion King, for example. Without audio description, a person unable to see the film would hear only the opening track “The Circle of Life.” And while that is a wonderfully moving song, it in no way conveys the powerful scene unfolding on screen. This audio description clip opens with, “Hundreds of animals gather at the bottom of Pride Rock, a tall flat ledge that towers over the rest of the Savannah.” Suddenly, people with visual disabilities are thrust into the scene.
Audio Description in Action
(Audio description in the Lion King is more extensive than would be necessary for most educational purposes, but this clip provides a great example of the impact audio description can make.)
Imagine the impact this level of engagement can have on people in a learning environment. Think of the context they will now be able to pick up on that would have otherwise been out of reach.
This is why audio description was included in WCAG 2.1 AA standards as the ideal standard for accessibility success.
According to the World Wide Web Consortium (W3) which defines the WCAG standards used worldwide to make the internet more accessible, “The intent of this Success Criterion is to provide people who are blind or visually impaired access to the visual information in a synchronized media presentation. The audio description augments the audio portion of the presentation with the information needed when the video portion is not available. During existing pauses in dialogue, audio description provides information about actions, characters, scene changes, and on-screen text that are important and are not described or spoken in the main soundtrack.”
Numerous Ways Audio Description Helps Universities
Audio Description Aids in Comprehension of Complex Topics:
Whether it’s a description of a video, an online book, or any other virtual media, audio description brings what’s on-screen to life for those with visual impairment. In a biology course, an online textbook will describe DNA through a written description, but there is also a visual description included that people with blindness are unable to experience. Audio description of DNA will paint the picture of DNA strands, providing a much more complete understanding.
Audio Description Helps Universities Become Accessible
The understanding of pre-recorded video content is essential to achieving learning objectives. Because of this, all government organizations, including schools, are legally required under the 2018 Section 508 Refresh to provide audio description, even without a special request being made.
Audio Description Helps Universities Create More Complete Searchable Libraries
Another major goal of universities is to index their resource libraries in the most robust and complete way possible, giving students every chance for success. Audio Description tracks come with a very comprehensive transcript which can be used for search functions, filled with keywords beyond the media dialogue, to help properly index the content.
Join the Beta Program
cielo24 is currently offering standard audio description for compliance purposes, which includes the audio track and the visual description of what is happening in the video. Standard audio description produces an mp3 file that describes what’s happening within the video during the natural pauses between dialogue.
You can learn more about our audio description program here and sign up to participate as an early adopter. Once you’ve submitted your request, someone from our team will reach out to you within 48 hours.
Audio description formats are fast becoming the go-to metadata add-on after captions and transcripts for media creators. Writer, speaker, and critical thinker Deepak Chopra have often referred to the internet…