We blazed a trail showcasing live AD and more
Despite the challenges, 2020 was a big year for us. Not only for our audio description (AD) production teams at Descriptive Video Works, but also for accessible producers: broadcasters, filmmakers, animators, video streaming services, online education, corporate service providers, and video game developers everywhere.
Thank you everyone: by creating and using AD, we’re helping provide more accessible entertainment and education media so people with blindness, vision impairments, cognitive and other sensory challenges can be included.
First ever: In real time, created live AD for Together at Home from Global Nation
Descriptive Video Works provided live AD services at One World Together (Global Nation), a COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization (WHO). Nearly 21 million people watched. According to WHO, it’s estimated about 8 million people have blindness or significant vision impairment in North America.
Another first: Provided live AD at The Game Awards
We were thrilled to be a part of the biggest night in video games! We provided live audio description on a special mode livestream on YouTube Gaming for the first time ever. The awards show featured Keanu Reeves, Christopher Nolan, Gal Gadot, Tom Holland, Brie Larson, Reggie Fils-Aime, The Muppets, Stephen A. Smith, Nolan North, Troy Baker, and more.
Accessibility in games matters -- The AbleGamers Foundation estimates there are 33 million disabled gamers in the United States alone.
Super special: First time live AD was provided for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade
This important, historic, American tradition welcomes the holiday season in the United States.
Broadcast by NBC, this year more than 20 million people watched the parade at home. Thanks to AD from us, the estimated 8 million or more people with blindness got to enjoy it and welcomed the holiday season too.
Leading the way: AD trailers for video games
We created and narrated AD for many video game trailers like Assassin's Creed Valhalla featured at #UbisoftForward September 2020.
It was another first! With Ubisoft we collaborated to develop AD for “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla,” one of the first AAA video game trailers to include it right alongside the launch of the trailer. Our DVW project team wrote, recorded, and mixed a beautiful, haunting descriptive narration. Our viewers thought so too, sending lots of positive social media.
Here’s what one video gamer, Steve Saylor, a player with vision impairment, said about our work: “Assassin’s Creed Valhalla” trailer, AD version.
Building on solid experience
These many firsts are built on solid experience. Our work is accessed by millions of viewers on broadcast networks and streaming services. Since 2003, we’ve committed to keep raising the bar and leading the way to providing outstanding excellence in audio description services. From Netflix’s Blood and Water, Jeffrey Epstein: Filthy Rich, to Virgin River, and more, since 2003 we’ve completed more than 35,000 productions including television shows, feature films, short films, documentaries, and TV commercials.
Helping change people’s lives for the better by providing more accessible media is core to what we do and it’s something we’re proud of. Understanding, and supporting, the needs of blind and visually-impaired consumers of visual media is key to our success.
One way we help is by supporting Blind Beginnings, a Canadian-based non-profit that helps kids with blindness and their families. Last year, to keep everyone safe at home, we hosted the first ever live virtual Blind Beginnings Gala and Fundraiser.
We also work with industry partners to share information and build awareness of the needs of blind and low vision consumers. To help us spread the good news about AD, we joined the team at Keywords Studio to host the live webinar and QA: "What is Audio Description and Why does it Matter?"
In 2020, we became proud members of the Entertainment Globalization Association. We joined 60 other companies to help build awareness of localization services like dubbing, audio description, closed captioning, and more.
And most recently, we joined the Trusted Partner Network (TPN). TPN is a global, industry-wide film and television content protection initiative. The TPN helps companies prevent leaks, breaches, and hacks of their customers’ movies and television shows prior to their intended release.
What a year! We're excited about many more firsts coming in 2021!