09 Feb

The Rise of Regulations in Audio Description


Anyone who deals in content delivery is no stranger to the many different content specifications and regulations that are in place all around the globe. Recently, multiple government legislations have been passed, bringing with them an obligation for a specific percentage of all broadcaster’s programming to contain audio description. This interest in AD stems from a commitment to improving inclusivity within visual media, with a focus on both commercials and promos.

Several countries, including Australia, Canada, the United States, Spain, and the UK have implemented these requirements. Due to these developing regulations as well as broadcasters wanting to improve the accessibility of their content, AD is now in incredibly high demand.

But what exactly is AD?

AD (Audio Description), also known as Descriptive Video Service (DVS), is a service primarily for individuals who suffer from visual impairments, providing a verbal description of the visual elements in media content such as TV shows, theatre performances, live events and movies. It is through tools such as Audio Description that we can make visual media more accessible for all, so its importance cannot be understated.

AD is comprised of a mono commentary of a narrator describing the visual media as well as a control track. The control track will communicate with your set-top box, telling it when to mix the commentary with the programme audio. In the event that the content is delivered online, there is no ability to mix the AD downstream so you will need a second audio track with premixed AD needs to be provided.

What are the challenges?

Whilst accessibility is important, implementing AD into your content isn’t always the easiest, or the cheapest thing to do. If, for instance, you write and record an audio commentary and you decide which points an audio description will be present, you will have that mono track ready. However, you now need to create a control track and there are very few technologies that allow you to do that.

What can Emotion Systems do to help?

Emotion Systems is proud to present an innovative AD module for our flagship product Engine, that not only meets global accessibility requirements but ensures the operator has the ability to create a compliant AD mix with missing deliverables. This AD module also provides a simple method for mixing the programme audio with an AD commentary track. The ability to do this allows for a more cost-effective, efficient, and easy implementation of Audio Description for your content deliverables.

Typically, AD content is delivered as a second audio stream, either mixed by the set-top box or pre-mixed for online consumption. Engine’s AD Module offers a simple, easy-to-use method for mixing program audio with AD commentary tracks, making it particularly useful for delivering video-on-demand (VOD) content. The nature of Engine as an automated audio signal processing application means that any operator, once setting up the correct workflow, can automate the creation of AD deliverables. The automation of this process saves valuable time and money, allowing any content distributor to comfortably and efficiently meet the increasing demand in providing AD deliverables.

We at Emotion Systems are experts in audio automation and file-based processing. Audio Description is no exception. If our Engine and AD module interests you then do not hesitate to get in contact with us. Additionally, for those interested in a more detailed, comprehensive breakdown of our AD module, click the link below to read our Audio Description Solution Sheet.

Audio Description Solution Sheet

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We look forward to hearing from you.

The Emotion Systems Team

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