When you watch a movie or program on television, do you ever wish you could know what the actors or the costumes or the sets look like? Do you ever wonder what’s happening on the screen when all you hear is music or a car chase? Do you ever wonder about the appearance of an historic monument or museum exhibit? Do you ever get tired of asking someone to describe the action during a movie or about what a character is doing on stage during a live event? If you answered yes to any of these questions, then the American Council of the Blind’s Audio Description Project (ADP) is a potential resource for you. The ADP aims to bring more meaning and enjoyment to entertainment, cultural, and educational experiences for blind and visually impaired people by increasing the amount and quality of audio description (AD) available for movies, television programming and live events.
Audio Description—live or as a voiceover narrative—makes visual imagery accessible to people who are blind or visually impaired. It’s used to enhance movies, television, media, theater and other live performances/events, museums, national parks, meetings, and educational programming. These visual elements can include action, costumes, settings, facial gestures, facial expressions and other visually important images. View an example of audio description.
The Audio Description Project promotes and advocates for the use of high-quality Audio Description in television, movies, performing arts, museums, educational materials and other venues where the presentation of visual media is critical to the understanding and appreciation of the content. The ADP sponsors a broad range of activities designed to build awareness of audio description among the general public as well as its principal users, people who are blind or have low vision. The ADP website - www.acb.org/adp - provides feature articles on all aspects of audio description and up-to-date listings of broadcast television, streaming video, movies, and DVDs with audio description, as well as an accounting of theaters and museums throughout the United States which offer audio description.
As part of its mission, the ADP:
- Maintains a list of described DVDs, broadcast television, movies, performing arts, museums, and national parks on the ADP website (www.acb.org/adp). As the only repository of all audio described titles on DVD and the three video streaming services (Amazon Prime Video, iTunes, and Netflix), the ADP decided to create a new index of ALL the titles. This new master index will allow you to look up any movie or TV series to see if it is available anywhere for purchase or with a subscription.
- Offers a biennial ADP Conference and Mentoring Program (AD consumers working with describers and industry representatives)
- Sponsors and promotes the ADP Achievement Awards, including the BADIE contest (Benefits of Audio Description in Education) which recognizes reviews of described material written by blind students
- Maintains the Audio Description Discussion Group Listserv, an active Facebook page, and Twitter feed
- Sponsors two Audio Description Institutes each year: three-day intensive training seminars on the development of high-quality audio description
- Produces description for special initiatives, e.g., The White House AD tour, national broadcast of description for presidential inaugurations, the live description of the solar eclipse, and select description projects for museums, performing arts and film
- Is exploring with other national service organizations a certification process for audio description producers, writers, and voicers based on ACB’s consumer-focused Guidelines and Best Practices
- Offers national and international leadership on issues regarding audio description at the federal, state and local levels and in international forums.