Creating Described Video for Broadcast Media

Focus Area Seven
Extended Audio Description

Image: Close up of a radio studio microphone


People who are blind, people with low vision, and people with cognitive disabilities may have difficulty interpreting what is visually happening on a TV screen, and described video may be useful as an aid. However, if there is too much dialogue in a program, sometimes the described video narration can be insufficient because of a lack of time to properly explain what is on screen. Extended described video can provide the additional information needed to understand the video content (WC3, 2017).

Developing an Understanding:

Extended audio description provides video content that presents longer descriptions of a program while the video images on screen are paused. One of the difficult things about creating traditional described video is that the narrator has to provide information during very short pauses in dialogue. Extended audio description temporarily pauses the audio and video to allow critical information to be delivered when pauses in dialogue are insufficient for adequate description.

Because this form of description can disrupt viewing for those who do not need the additional description, versions with and without the additional description are often provided (WC3, 2017).

Deepening Your Understanding:

Ai-Media from Australia uses both standard audio description (also known as described video in Canada) and extended audio description. Standard audio description involves adding the spoken description of visual elements in the natural pauses of the video, such as between sections of dialogue and during the beginning of a scene. When a video does not have enough natural pauses, extended audio description is required. This involves the editing of video to freeze or pause at points throughout the video to add the spoken description (Ai-Media, 2017).

Here are examples of standard and extended audio description from Ai-Media.

Standard Audio Description

Image: Standard Audio Description

Extended Audio Description

Image: Extended Audio Description