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Audio Descriptions
Audio Descriptions

Audio Descriptions are alternate audio tracks used for narrating video content that some viewers would otherwise be unable to access.

Caroline F avatar
Written by Caroline F
Updated over a week ago

Add Audio Descriptions to your Wistia Videos

To add an Audio Description, open the customization panel by selecting Customize from the media options panel.

From the Customize panel, at the bottom you’ll see the Accessibility Checklist box. Click on that box to head into the checklist & then head into Audio Descriptions. Within that section you’ll see that Audio Descriptions are required to complete the accessibility checklist. However, this is only the case if there is content in your video that appears visually but would not be perceptible to someone only listening.

Here you can upload audio descriptions to your video by clicking +Upload, to bring up the Upload option or click “Not Needed” for videos that don’t require them.

Filetypes accepted

Wistia currently accepts MP3, OGG, and WAV files as audio descriptions. You can add as many files as you’d like, to accommodate Audio Descriptions in different languages.

Audio Description Example

Not sure what audio descriptions may look or sounds like on your video? Let’s take a look. To listen to audio descriptions, click the Audio Descriptions icon and select English.

turn on audio descriptions

Play the video and hear what audio descriptions sound like for yourself.

Audio Description Limitations

  • Audio Descriptions will only work with the Vulcan2 player and HLS playback (these are the assets that we use for Adaptive Streaming). If, for some reason, the player is serving an MP4 instead, it will not work. This can occur in rare instances of an encoding error, or in older browsers where HLS is not supported. If that’s the case, our Support team is here to help at [email protected]!

  • Audio Description files have to be the same length as the video itself

  • Audio Descriptions need to be a single audio file that contain both the original audio of the video, plus your descriptions. If your viewers choose to use Audio Descriptions, it is played as an alternate audio track for your video.

How to make an Audio Description

If you’re wondering how to make an audio description, our very own video producer Chris breaks it all down below:

First you’ll want to compile a script for your video. Watch or listen through your video a few times, and note the instances where dialogue is absent. This is where you’ll want to formulate your descriptions for the viewer! Keep in mind how much time you have to work with before the video’s audio returns, so as not to interfere with the dialogue in the video.

Next, you’ll want to record your descriptions. Be sure to be clear, and straightforward in tone - but not too robotic! Once completed, you can shoot that audio file over to your post production software of choice, and add your narrations as a new track in the video (remember to check your volume levels)! Export both the original video’s audio and your audio description as a single mp3 file, upload your audio description file to your video in Wistia via the Customize panel, and voila! Watch the audio description magic happen.

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