Audio descriptions

danlavalley USAKalturian Posts: 4

A short screencast on this topic: 

I recently discussed audio descriptions at Kaltura Office Hours and thought I'd post about it here as well. Audio descriptions are narration added to or combined with the soundtrack to describe important visual details that cannot be understood from the main soundtrack alone. I discuss both how to order REACH v2 audio descriptions and how a Kaltura administrator can manually add an audio description track to a video. I’m hoping some community members may be willing to share some example audio descriptions or experiences with audio description.

Ordering an audio description with the REACH v2 3Play service

First - here’s an example video with an audio description created with the REACH V2 3Play service: 

If you are a Kaltura customer, you would work with your RAE to request that the 3Play Audio Description service be enabled and configured for your account and the appropriate REACH profile. You’ll also want to make sure your REACH profile is funded with REACH credits as it is a professional service. Once that’s done ordering an audio description uses the same workflow for ordering captions:

  1. Search for or select the video you want to order an audio description for.
  2. Select Actions → Caption & Enrich.
  3. Select the REACH profile with the audio description service.
  4. Select Service → Professional.
  5. Select Feature → Audio Description.
  6. Select either 5 Days, 48 Hours, or 24 Hours Turnaround time.
  7. Select Submit.

Once returned the audio description will automatically be added to the video. You can select it as long as you’re playing the video back with a Kaltura player that has the “audio selector” feature enabled.

Adding an audio description manually

What if you want to use your own video editor to create an audio description track? How would you add that to a Kaltura video? This workflow is not for the end-user - it is only available to an administrator due to using the Kaltura Management Console and the API. But fear not! It’s not difficult. These instructions assume that:

  • You are a Kaltura Administrator with access to the KMC and the API.
  • You have already created an audio description file along with your original video. I can try to post something later about creating audio descriptions. There are some good guidelines on the American Council of the Blind website: 
  • You have both the “English” and “Audio Description” flavors available in your transcoding profile.
  • You have a player with the audio selector feature enabled for playing the video with audio description back.

If you have the access and files ready - here’s how to add an audio description track to a video:

  1. Login to the Kaltura Management Console:
  2. Search for and select the video you want to add an audio description to.
  3. Select the Flavors tab.
  4. Select the three dot button next to the English flavor and select Upload.
  5. Select the original video you uploaded and select Open.
  6. Select the three dot button next to the Audio Description - Eng and select Upload.
  7. Select your audio description track and select Open.

Once everything is processed you can load the video in MediaSpace and play it with a player that has the audio selector feature enabled. Once you play the video you can select between the two different audio tracks. The labels are probably initially incorrect and need to be changed via the API. Here’s how to change the labels via the API:

  1. In the KMC with the video open make note of the Asset ID of both the English and Audio Description - Eng flavors.
  2. Open a browser and go to: 
  3. Select the SIGN IN button in the upper right. 
  4. Sign in with your KMC credentials.
  5. In the Navigation search type in flavor.
  6. Select flavorAsset.update.
  7. Select the Try it out button.
  8. Enter the Asset ID of your audio description flavor in the id*:string field.
  9. Click the + next to object to display all the different fields we can update.
  10. Enter Audio Description (or whatever you’d like) in the label:string field.
  11. You can also select another language:string if you’d like, but the label is what will appear in the player if the flavor has a label.
  12. Scroll back up and select the Send Request button. 
  13. Repeat these steps on the English flavor if you need to.
  14. Reload the video - it should now play and allow you to select the audio tracks with the correct labels.

I mentioned that we discussed audio description at Kaltura Office Hours. If you want to review those sessions they are available here:

You do need a login to eduteam to get access to the Office Hours recordings. If you don’t have an eduteam login, follow the instructions here:

Want to sign up for Kaltura Customer Office Hours?: 


  • mkraft
    mkraft Michigan, USAFounder Posts: 56 ✭✭✭

    This is a Three Stooges clip for Sing a Song of Six pants, AD by 3PlayMedia with Kaltura REACH:

    I think this works well because the Stooges have plenty of physical comedy. For lecture capture style recordings, I think AD will be less helpful and pretty expensive because it is only available where there is no speech.

    Melinda Kraft, Business Systems Analyst Lead (she, her, hers)

    University of Michigan - ITS Teaching & Learning

    Ann Arbor, MI 48109-3704

  • Piper
    Piper Austin, TXAdministrator, Moderator Posts: 58 admin

    I found this definition of flavor.

    But, I still don't understand. Can someone help?

    Piper Wilson

    Community Moderator

  • Piper
    Piper Austin, TXAdministrator, Moderator Posts: 58 admin

    That explains what I needed to know exactly, @danlavalley. Thank you! 👏

    Piper Wilson

    Community Moderator