Audio Descriptive Narration Available in Theaters for the First Time
Via Disney Movies Anywhere App
As Disney•Pixar’s “Finding Dory” swims into theaters this week, low-vision and blind fans are invited to enjoy the film alongside family members in theaters, thanks to a breakthrough in independent moviegoing. Smart-syncing audio description, a new feature introduced to in-home audiences four months ago on the Disney Movies Anywhere (DMA) app, heads to theaters nationwide for the first time with the release of “Finding Dory.” Accessed via one’s own iPhone® or iPad® and a set of ear buds, the feature provides users with free audio description that elegantly narrates important on-screen action for those who can’t always follow along visually.
More than 21 million people in the United States are blind or visually impaired. While all feature films include a track for the blindness community, until now, these tracks have been accessible only by utilizing special gear provided by a limited number of individual theaters. The DMA app, downloaded via iTunes onto an iPhone® or iPad® running iOS 7 or above, accesses the mobile device’s microphone to “listen” to the big-screen presentation and syncs the audio descriptions accordingly so users can hear both the descriptive narrative and the film’s original audio. Pixar has invited members of the visually impaired community to focus group screenings for more than eight years in an effort to craft the narration in the most effective and enjoyable manner possible.
Earlier this week, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler included Disney Movies Anywhere among five winners of its Advancement in Accessibility Award, which recognizes achievements in communications technology for those with disabilities.
“Finding Dory” is the 17th Disney•Pixar film to feature the complimentary audio accessibility via the DMA app, which is currently only available in the U.S. Audio synchronization technology is provided by Audible Magic.