New tool adds audio description to YouTube videos

Friday, 21 February 2014 13:07pm

Blind or vision impaired people will have an additional way to access audio description services on YouTube videos through a new experimental online software program, YouDescribe.

Audio description is an additional audio track that provides a description on the visual elements of a video, TV broadcast or performance. Unlike closed captions, which are becoming widespread across the web, audio described videos are rarely available online.

Developed by the Smith-Kettlewell Video Description Research and Development Centerand funded by the US Department of Education, YouDescribe allows volunteer sighted describers to take a YouTube video and create an audio description soundtrack for free.

The software is an easy option for people wishing to create audio described content for people who are blind and vision impaired.

To add audio description using YouDescribe:

  1. Copy and paste a YouTube URL into the YouDescribe search box and click on ‘Search’.
  2. The YouTube video will appear with an option to 'Create/Edit Descriptions'. Select this option.
  3. Using the 'Play/Pause' option on the video player, pause when you wish to insert audio description.
  4. Use the 'Record' option to record your audio description then select Upload to upload the new audio file.
  5. Continue this process until the end of the video.
  6. When the process is complete you can log out or return to the YouDescribe search page where your video should appear at the top of the video list. The video can be played with audio description.

Once a video is uploaded, anyone can edit the audio description, ensuring better accuracy and greater community participation. You can search amongst the videos that have already been described.

While YouDescribe does not allow for the audio description and video to play simultaneously, i.e. the video pauses while audio description plays before the video resumes, it does offer a new accessible video service that is a platform for future developments in this field.

Similar to YouDescribe, Amara allows for third party captioning of YouTube clips for those who are Deaf or hearing impaired for when captions are not provided by the video’s owner on YouTube.

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