Tag Archives: described audio

Descriptive Video Works Wins ACB Audio Description Achievement Award!


This past week Descriptive Video Works‘ CEO, Diane Johnson, attended the American Council of the Blind (ACB) Annual Conference in Las Vegas where she and the DVW team were awarded the ACB Audio Description Achievement Award – Media which recognizes outstanding contributions to the establishment and continued development of significant audio description programs in media.

This was one case where ‘what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas’ was definitely not the case! All of us at DVW are thrilled and humbled by this news recognizing all of our hard work and we couldn’t be happier to share it with the world!

ADP - DVW_Vocal Eye

Descriptive Video Works CEO, Diane Johnson, (right) with Vocal Eye Executive Managing Director, Steph Kirkland

Also recognized at the ACB conference were our friends at Vocal Eye, also based in Vancouver, who continue to excel in providing live video description for many local theatre productions, arts and cultural events and who brought home the Audio Description Achievement Award – International. Huge congratulations to all the Vocal Eye team.

In an official statement Diane said, “What a great day for Canada to win two audio description awards at this international conference, a meeting which raises both awareness and the importance of audio description to the blind and partially sighted audience worldwide”. She went on to say, “Television, films and theatre play such an important role in our society. In providing the blind and partially sighted audience with the details and descriptions of scenes and physical characteristics, we provide them with an engaging and robust entertainment experience so together they can be immersed in the story with their sighted family and friends”.

Very proud to hang this on our wall!

Very proud to hang this on our wall!

This year marked the 53rd ACB Annual Conference which saw approximately 1,500 blind and partially sighted people from across the United States and many other countries descend on La Vegas. Participants enjoyed a packed 4 day schedule of events including over 350 meetings, numerous workshops, seminars, tours and social events as well as an exhibitor space that included technology, products and services for assisting the blind and partially sighted. We were lucky enough to meet a participant at the conference familiar with the work of Descriptive Video Works who told us, “Described video has made a significant difference in our lives, both my wife and myself are blind. We just want the benefits that everyone else has. As a blind person when watching a show or event you really feel you only get half the story. When we go to a movie and it’s not described, we spend the time guessing where they are, for example, we hear a wave, and say to ourselves ‘oh they must be at the beach’. With Described Video we now know what’s going on and we can enjoy the program without spending our time guessing. We look forward to enjoying Described Video programming for years to come. Thank you”.

Chris Gray, Chair, ADP Awards Committee and former President, ACB presents Diane with the award for Achievement in Audio Description - Media

Chris Gray, Chair, ADP Awards Committee and former President, ACB presents Diane with the award for Achievement in Audio Description – Media

We would like to take this opportunity to thank the ACB for once again putting on a fantastic conference and for presenting us with the Audio Description Achievement Award. It was an honor to be a part of such a wonderful event which brings together so many inspiring individuals.


Leave a comment

Filed under DVW Team, Industry News

Descriptive Video Works on The Simi Sara Show with Shawn Marsolais of Blind Beginnings


Recently, Diane Johnson, Descriptive Video Works President and CEO was a guest on The Simi Sara Show on Vancouver radio station CKNW. Joining Diane was Blind Beginnings founder and Paralympian, Shawn Marsolais.

In the interview, Diane and Shawn talk about the importance of making television and movies accessible to the blind, the work that we do at Descriptive Video Works and the need to raise awareness of the massive non-sighted audience that is being ignored by TV networks, movie studios and broadcasters around the world.

Here’s the interview:


We’d like to extend our thanks to Simi Sara and CKNW for having us on the show and highlighting the need for greater media accessibility and described video services. The Simi Sara Show can be found on CKNW AM980 Monday to Friday from noon to 3pm.

About Blind Beginnings

Founded by in 2008, Blind Beginnings offer British Columbia children and youth who are visually impaired opportunities to develop skills, confidence and independence. A family-centered organisation, Blind Beginnings promotes a ‘no limits’ philosophy which challenges pervasive misconceptions about blindness by demonstrating that there is no limit to what children and youth who blind or visually impaired can accomplish.

Here’s a terrific video about the organisation:


As founder of Blind Beginnings, Shawn Marsolais truly embodies the ‘no limits’ philosophy of the organization. Born with Retinitis Pigmentosa, a rare eye condition that caused her vision to deteriorate through her childhood, Shawn has had less than two percent of her vision since the age of 18 but this has not stopped her from leading an exceptionally active life. A former competitive swimmer who still holds three Canadian records, Shawn represented Canada at the Paralympic Games in Athens in tandem cycling and has won several medals in Goalball, a team sport designed specifically for blind athletes. Over the years she has worked for CNIB (Canadian National Institute for the Blind), the Western Association for Persons With Vision Impairment, Canadian Blind Sports Association & Recreation Association and Access for Sight Impaired Consumers.

Leave a comment

Filed under DVW Team

Descriptive Video Works Celebrates The Coming Year

A special message from Diane Johnson, President & CEO of Descriptive Video Works.

Happy New Year! Break out the bubble – we are celebrating our 10th Anniversary in 2013!


For many people 2012 was a challenging year. Economic downturn affected virtually every business – ours included. Thankfully with our dedicated Descriptive Video Works team and wonderful clients we have held our own through the slow periods and things are shaping up quickly for some exciting developments in 2013. I am so grateful for your dedication to keeping us number one in Canada – with incredible potential to expand at a global level. Many new irons are in the fire and I hope to have some very exciting news to share within our first quarter.

We hear from our friends in the community of blind and vision impaired people how they are enjoying television and theatre like they never have before.   We know that as more and more people hear about audio description this group will have even more wonderful described entertainment to enjoy this coming year. One of the highlights for Descriptive Video Works in 2012  was doing the descriptive video for the opening and closing ceremonies for the Olympics. We plan to do the same for many years to come.

On a personal note I wish you all the very best of health, happiness and prosperity in this auspicious new year!

One of our writers sent this to me and I would like to share it with you as we all move into a year filled with possibilities.

“If anything were possible… quickly, easily and now… what would your life look like. Who would you be with? What would you be doing? Where would you be living? What would you look like, feel like? Invite your future self into your present to help you become the person of your dreams.”

May your dreams become a reality in 2013 and may we all continue to take even small steps to make the world a softer more gentle place for all.

Leave a comment

Filed under Described Shows, DVW Team, Industry News

The State of Audio Description Around The World

The July 4th Independence Day celebrations come a few days early this year for the nearly 30 million blind and vision impaired people in the U.S.

Thanks to the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, that is the day that television networks across the country will be required to provide the equivalent of four hours of video described programming every week. For those 30 million blind and vision impaired, this means greater independence as they can now enjoy a more robust television experience and share in the collective social dialog that so much of today’s television content facilitates.

This hallmark date also creates an ideal opportunity to educate content creators, television producers and distributors and network executives as to the status of video description (also called audio description, described video or descriptive video service) in television markets around the world.

In Europe, the U.K. and Germany are industry leaders in video description. In 1991, the Independent Television Corp. founded the AUDETEL consortium of regulators, consumer associations and broadcasters in order to explore issues related to described video content across Europe. In 1994, a field trial was conducted by the BBC using set-top boxes and, following this, an amendment to the Broadcasting Act legislated that 10% of all programs carry video description. Since that legislation programming carrying video description has never slipped below 17%.

Compared to Europe and North America, the development of video description in Australia has been a slow crawl but was kick-started in 2005 with a government grant providing description on 10 DVD titles. The service continued to grow from a low base of about 2% of entertainment DVDs to the current 25-30%. On the broadcast television front, a video description field trial has been carried out in the last 12 months led by the non-profit agency Media Access Australia. This organization has been working with all sides on negotiations for an increase in descriptive video services. It is hoped this will be the precursor to a full video description service coinciding with the country’s end of analogue television in 2014.

Japan was the first country in the world to offer described video for the blind and vision impaired in 1983. While the percentage of video described programming is still low (4% for national broadcaster NHK), the Ministry of Internal Affairs and Communications has established guidelines that will raise video description to 10%.

Despite being home to more than 9 million people who are blind or vision impaired, China is only just beginning to take its first tentative steps into descriptive video services. In 2010, the movie Aftershock was the first DVD release in China to carry video description in Cantonese.

In India, where blindness affects more than 15 million people, descriptive video began in 2005, with the Saksham Trust creating a video description track for the award-winning film Black. Response was enthusiastic and since then Saksham has released numerous Hindi films with video description and film production houses are beginning to show interest. There are no television channels in India currently carrying descriptive video, but the 2010 Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act will help with a provision calling for video description on films and documentaries on public and private television broadcasts.

“Black” (2005) starring Amitabh Bachchan and Rani Mukerji

The Future

As the global population increases, especially in the western world where there will be a large increase in those over the age of 60, so too will the number of individuals with vision problems. With an increase in demand there will also be many more providers of descriptive video services. To that end, it is imperative that standards are adopted and maintained. Inferior video description isn’t better than no video description at all because it will alienate the very audience it is supposed to engage.

The FCC mandates that, as of July 1, around four hours per week of programming must provide video description. It is our hope that broadcasters recognize the size of the audience they may be overlooking and step beyond the minimum requirements as has been the case in the U.K.

In the meantime, we wish America’s blind and vision impaired audiences a very enjoyable Independence Day!

If you’d like to know more about descriptive video do call us toll free at 1-888-998-9894 or check us out here.

Leave a comment

Filed under Industry News, Uncategorized