Audio description, video description, descriptive video, DVS®, English for the Visually Impaired, narrative video many names for this essential accessibility feature.
Description is additional narration that translates images and other visual information into spoken words so that people who are blind or visually impaired can access, enjoy, and learn from works of popular, cultural, or educational importance. For LIL’s purposes, description is most prominent on video-based media (in movie theaters and on DVD/Blu-Ray and the web), where it is typically inserted into pauses between dialogue, narration, music, and ambient sounds in the original soundtrack.
A Bit of History
Description “began” with the work of Dr. Gregory Frazier when he founded his company, AudioVision, in 1972 (though it had been envisioned by Chet Avery, a U.S. Department of Education administrator, as early as 1964). It really took off in the early ‘80s under the pioneering guidance of the late Dr. Margaret Phanstiehl, who would later win an Emmy for her leadership in making television accessible to people with visual impairments.
Most of the videos produced by the nonprofit Victor Pineda Foundation and featured on its YouTube channel are captioned and described. (Shown above: Stephanie’s Video at the AAPD Paul G. Hearne Award.)
Hundreds of clips and trailers (mostly produced in the U.K., which explains the British accents with which most of the voicers are speaking) from major motion pictures released in the past few years. Available as a mix of MP3s and streaming video.