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Audio Description Resources

American Council of the Blind Audio Description Project (ADP) 


Audio Description Project via The American Council of the Blind: Information on Audio Description training, equipment, training, DVDs with AD, and much more. All things AD along with resources etc. are here. (Audio Description Project via ACB)


Blind Organizations and Agencies 


American Foundation for the Blind: Accessibility page on Video Description. (American Foundation for the Blind - Accessibility and Video Description)


National Federation of the Blind (NFB): An organization in MD, USA that lobbies and advocates strongly for blind and low vision rights, provides training etc. (National Federation of the Blind


Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB): the London-based UK organization supporting blind individuals. This is their page on AD. (Royal National Institute of Blind People - Audio Description)



Regulations and Laws Regarding AD


The Americans with Disability Act (ADA): Article addressing sections 508 and 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, a great article explaining what compliance is all about. (https://brailleworks.com/what-does-it-all-mean/)


FCC guide to the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act. (FCC Guide to 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act)


United Kingdom’s OfCom: OfCom is the regulator in the UK for broadcast TV, radio, internet etc. This page is research into the awareness of AD.  (OfCom - Audio Description)


WCAG Criteria for Accessible Web Content (https://www.w3.org/TR/WCAG21/)



Books and Written Resources on AD / Disability

An Introduction to Audio Description: A Practical Guide, by Louise Fryer. An excellent book on the theory and practice of AD, designed to be a practical manual for students. Includes recent AD research as well as valuable commentary and feedback from consumers of AD.  


The Routledge Handbook of Audio Description, edited by Christopher Taylor and Elisa Perego. A 644-page volume with 38 chapters on myriad aspects of AD (including "Opera & Dance AD" contributed by Joel Snyder & Esther Geiger, and Joel’s account of "AD in the USA"). (Routledge Handbook of Audio Description)


The Visual Made Verbal: A Comprehensive Training Manual and Guide to the History and Applications of Audio Description, by Joel Snyder Ph.D. A book about AD with resources, history, and advice.


The Emotion Thesaurus: A Writer’s Guide to Character Expression, by Angela Ackerman and Becca Puglisi. An excellent book, with detailed physical (visual) indicators of emotions described in detail, great resource!


Descriptionary: A Thematic Dictionary, by Marc McCutcheon. A very interesting resource book that is meant to work like the brain itself. As an example, you have a question and it helps with an answer. “What do you call that belt for a tux? Answer: cummerbund.” 


Ebook/kindle transcript version of the ADNA Podcast Series by Roy Samuelson: interviews with all kinds of AD professionals, starting in 2020 and ongoing (ADNA Podcast Series E-Book)



Online Resources on AD


National Library Service Resource Guide for AD: Provides sources of AD for television, film, DVDs, and web-streaming services, as well as information on audio-described live performances and tours. The guide includes information about the CVAA, the technology and training behind AD, and vendors who provide descriptive services on demand. The contact information for each organization mentioned in the guide and a bibliography for further reading can be found at the end of the document. (National Library Service Resource Guide for AD)


Standards of Audio Description and Code of Professional Conduct for Describers, created by the Audio Description Coalition. (https://www.perkins.org/wp-content/uploads/elearning-media/adc_standards.pdf)


Description key for educational media: From the Described and Captioned Media Program. (https://dcmp.org/learn/descriptionkey)


Audio Description for People with Vision Loss: A Guide for Performing Arts Settings: From the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts (https://www.kennedy-center.org/globalassets/education/networks-conferences--research/research--resources/lead-resources/2013kc_audiodescripguide.pdf)


ADLAB Project: Development of AD curricula for European Audio-Visual Translation courses. (http://www.adlabproject.eu/)


Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Audio Description Resources: (https://www.fcc.gov/audio-description)


Musical Heaven: Library for synopses of musicals. (http://www.musicalheaven.com/)


Talkin’ Broadway: Research for plays and musicals. Has former internet Theater Database, also detailed history of Broadway (Broadway 101). (https://www.talkinbroadway.com/


The Body Language Project: Comprehensive online encyclopedia of non-verbal communication terminology and research. Listed by gesture (various emotions a gesture may indicate), and emotion (various gestures that indicate a particular emotion). (http://bodylanguageproject.com/)


Word Hippo Thesaurus: Online Thesaurus and word tools for creative needs  https://www.wordhippo.com/


Forvo Pronunciation Guide for Names and Words: https://forvo.com/ 


How to Pronounce: A crowdsourced pronunciation guide/dictionary/translator https://www.howtopronounce.com/ 



AD Style Guides for Film and Television


Netflix Style Guide: Netflix’s published style guide for film and television AD. An example of ‘rules’ and preferences you would need to follow when employed. (Netflix Audio Description Style Guide v2.3)


Post Production Described Video Best Practices: Style guide PDF published by the Canadian Association of Broadcasters and Accessible Media Inc. (Described Video Best Practices Artistic and Technical Guidelines)



Companies and Organizations Providing AD


American Council of the Blind (ACB) Audio Description Project (ADP) has a list of commercial, non-profit, and other services providing AD. (https://adp.acb.org/)


Accessible Media Inc. (AMI):  Established 2018 (https://www.ami.ca/descriptions)


WGBH Media Access Group: Long-time providers of AD and have lists of content. (https://www.wgbh.org/foundation/)




International Digital Centre (IDC): https://www.idcdigital.com/


Descriptive Video Works (DVW): https://descriptivevideoworks.com/


Imagination Storybooks: https://imaginationstorybooks.org/ - Making books accessible to all children with AD, alt text etc. Recently published Winnie The Pooh full cast recording audiobook with AD available on Audible! https://www.audible.com/pd/Winnie-the-Pooh-Audiobook/B0BT12X186 


List of Description Service Vendors from DCMP: https://dcmp.org/learn/179 - Free listing of AD service providers internationally (writing and narration).



Apps for AD and Visual Assistance


Spectrum Access App: offers AD and captioning with on-demand programming and streaming. (https://www.applevis.com/apps/ios/entertainment/spectrum-access-enabled-media)


Be My Eyes: a free app that connects blind and low-vision people with sighted volunteers and company representatives for visual assistance through a live video call. (https://www.bemyeyes.com/)


AIRA: Live, on-demand visual interpreting. https://aira.io/Seeing AI: OCR Software that can use the device camera to interpret text 


UniD: App that provides AD for the National Parks Service  https://unidescription.org/



Web, Mobile and Social Media Accessibility Resources


The Diagram Center: Making images accessible - how to describe charts and diagrams. (http://diagramcenter.org/making-images-accessible.html)


Microsoft Word on Accessibility: Guide to alt text and making documents accessible to those with disabilities. (https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/office/make-your-word-documents-accessible-to-people-with-disabilities)


Social Media Platforms and Accessibility: This website is a great resource for how to make various social media platforms and posts accessible for audio and visual media content. (https://designsystem.wwu.edu/accessible-social-media


Web Access Guidelines for Audio Description: WebAIM WAVE - Web accessibility guidelines and a tool to check your website’s accessibility. (https://webaim.org/techniques/captions/)



Gaming Accessibility Resources 


Can I Play That (for Video Games): This is a website dedicated to people with disabilities speaking about and playing games. Accessibility for gamers, by gamers. (https://caniplaythat.com/basic-accessibility-options-for-blind-and-low-vision-players/


Virtual Environments for People Who Are Visually Impaired Integrated into an Orientation and Mobility Program: Abstract in PDF form. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/EJ1114545.pdf



Practicing and Adding AD to Online Content


YouDescribe: AD for YouTube videos that you can volunteer to go in and practice, or post and edit your content based on consumer requests (https://youdescribe.org/)


YouTube Secondary Audio Track: YouTube gets a second audio track so that you do not have to post a separate video with AD. 

Example of YouTube video with secondary audio track for AD: Colleen voicing AD written for UBSoft World Trailer. Go to Settings within the video, and choose English Descriptive as the audio track - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LGKE6E8pr5Q 


InqScribe: Free-to-download writing software that can assist in writing AD scripts, by automatically punching in timecodes. Can be copied + saved into a Word or Google doc, etc. https://www.inqscribe.com/


iMovie: You can edit videos to include your own AD or extended AD to post / practice


YouCut : A user-friendly alternative to YouDescribe that is a movie editor where you can download a video, drop in tracks where you want if you record something in a Voice Recorder app on the phone or a recording software, then insert the AD in-line.


Windows Computers have Voice Recorders and also a Pictures App where you can edit videos to include your own AD 



Recommendations for Quality Voice Recording and Live Description Equipment 


Live Description Equipment


A Guide to Theater Access: technical and equipment advice for captioning, AD, and hearing enhancement devices. An additional source to the ADP. (http://www.accessibletheatre.org.uk/technical/)



Website for R37FM Receiver: https://williamsav.com/product/ppa-r37/ 


Talktechnologies Stenomask / Mouthpiece: his is a newer version from what we have (see picture) https://talktech.com/stenomask-steno-sr/ 


Recording Software


-Garage Band, Audacity, Reaper, Pro Tools or other similar software can all be used for recording and editing depending on your level of skill


-VoiceQ: Mac software specifically for recording/tracking/timing Audio Description: https://www.voiceq.com/


Studio Equipment


Microphones - Professionals often prefer a non-USB mic due to quality (requires a preamp)

-USB Mic without Pre-Amp Option – Example: the Rode NT USB

-Alternate Mic with Pre-Amp Option such as Vanguard V4 with Shockmount 

-Pre-Amp such as Focusrite SCARLETT-2I2-3RD-GEN 2x2 USB 2.0 Audio


Pop Filter for Microphone (sometimes metal is preferred - easier to clean and more durable) – Example: ZINGYOU PF-101 Microphone Pop Filter, U-shape Metal Mesh


Headphones

-Audio Technica closed back Dynamic HPhone 

-BeyerDynamic DT770 Pro Over Ear

-Bluetooth and noise canceling are helpful due to the lack of cord noise, etc. 

-Some screen readers will allow those using assistive technology to isolate the left or right ear for certain sound output. The other way to do this the hardware way is to have earbuds in one ear and the larger headphones over them. The ear buds would be a screen reader, and the other would be your recording. For any dual sound this will help anyone to reduce the sound bleed coming from the ear buds. 


Bundle Option for Recording Equipment

For getting a set up going all at once here is an example of a recommended kit:


Home Studio Construction


For best sound treatment, a voice-over booth can be constructed using professional soundproofing and acoustic treatment techniques, for example: BH Photo Video - Buy Complete Acoustic Room Treatment Systems 


A lot of studio quality sound can be achieved using a closet full of clothing, etc. You do not have to break the bank on equipment to get the sound you need. There is a lot of advice online on how to make a DIY recording space. Recommend for demos and recordings that you seek the advice of an audio engineer to ask them what settings are perfect for you and your space.


Sound Isolation

-Should always record in a quiet and acoustically dampened place

-In the absence of a sound proofed and acoustically treated room, a sound isolation filter could be used with the microphone: BH Photo Video - Buy Pop and Reflection Filters

-It is however often preferred to have a designated space such as a small room with lots of soft surfaces that are far from things that hum, like fridges; bedroom closets are popular.


I Want To Be A Voice Actor: For more info on all things voiceover if you’re looking to go professional. https://iwanttobeavoiceactor.com/


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