Audio Description in UK & ROI

If I’m adding Audio Description (AD) to a commercial, does it need to be approved by Clearcast?

Yes, Clearcast must be aware that you want to add AD to your commercial from the beginning of the clearance process. If you want to add Audio Description to a previously delivered commercial, then the version containing AD must be allocated a new clock number and go back through the Clearcast clearance process.


Can XR add Audio Description for me?

We work closely with companies who can create AD for commercials – please get in touch for more information.


Can all UK broadcasters transmit Audio Described commercials?

Currently, Channel 4, ITV (all regions), UKTV and Channel 5 are the only UK broadcasters that are setup to transmit AD.

...does that mean that I need to send a clock without AD to all other the broadcasters?

Fortunately not! If you send a commercial that has AD to a broadcaster that can’t transmit it, then the AD audio tracks will be removed on delivery. However, if a previously delivered commercial is retrospectively audio described - the new version containing AD must be allocated a new clock number and go through the Clearcast clearance process.

Do I need to indicate that my commercial has AD when I place my order?

Yes, please choose ‘Yes’ from the Audio Description dropdown…


How should the file be delivered to XR?

Once you have obtained Clearcast approval, the file(s) should be sent in the usual format (according to the UK & Republic of Ireland Broadcast Specifications and Requirements) with a note on the slate to indicate that Audio Description is present and the following channel allocation...

Stereo with Audio Description 
Channel # Audio
1 Stereo Left
2 Stereo Right
3 AD Narration
4 AD Control Track (ducking audio on 1&2 when AD is playing)
Stereo with Adaptive Audio Description 
Channel # Audio
1 Stereo Left
2 Stereo Right
3 Collapsed Custom Mix & AD Narration
4 AD Control Track (completely ducking audio on Tracks 1&2 for the duration of the TVC)


What is a control track?

The control track is created using software used to author the AD output file, the purpose is to control the duck or pan of the main stereo audio during broadcast. When your sound/posthouse produces your AD track they need to also provide the control track which will sound like digital chirping, no further processing is required of this track, and it should be taken and inserted into your master file as is.


What is Adaptive Audio Description? 

In some instances it isn't possible to add traditional audio description due to insufficient gaps in dialogue.  Adaptive AD involves the soundtrack of the commercial being remixed to create the gaps required.


Example of a commercial with AD


Any questions?

Please reach out to your local Delivery Team.

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