Many theaters around the country are starting to offer the visually impaired the option of listening to the descriptive audio track while they're watching a film. Sadly though, this technology is not available everywhere, and sometimes it doesn't work. The team at Solo-DX wants to make the experience better by having the blind film-goer use a smart phone app to listen to the descriptive audio track instead. Last week, I had the opportunity to test out the new MovieReading app. The interface is very simple. Once you're logged in, you visit the Marketplace, download the descriptive audio track for the film you're going to go see at your theater, and than start the track when your film begins. The app will listen to the audio in the theater and sync the audio track with where the film is so that the user doesn't have to try and match the two tracks themselves. to test the app, I downloaded the Princess Bride track and then watched some Youtube clips from the film. In all three cases, the sync option worked perfectly.
The app is now available from the iTunes App Store. The film "Philomena", opening on November 22 in select cities, will be the first movie to use the app's new features. MovieReading is currently available on iOS, and they hope to have an Android version soon.
Pasted below is a press release from Solo-DX about the MovieReading app and "Philomena".
As exclusive U.S. partners with Universal Multimedia Access, Hollywood
Access Services is releasing Solo-Dx on MovieReading, the first ever
auto-syncing audio description app available for first-run movies. The
debut title on this exciting new platform will be The Weinstein Company¹s
Philomena, in theaters November 22.
Using acoustic fingerprinting technology, this new auto-syncing method
will completely change moviegoing for the blind and visually impaired via
their smartphones. It's really easy to use -- download the app, download
the description track, go to the movie theater, and enjoy! Even if you
arrive late, you can simply hit "sync" and your audio description will
pick up in the right place.
Right now, if a visually impaired person wants to go the movies, they
either have to have someone next to them explain what is happening on the
screen, try to enjoy the movie just by listening to it, OR request audio
description headsets sometimes offered by theaters. These headsets pick
up an infrared signal from the projector that plays audio description
through headphones. However, they're not currently available for every
movie or at every theater, and even when they are available, they
oftentimes don't work correctly. These obstacles make going to the movies
too much of a hassle for many blind and low vision individuals.
Solo-Dx on the MovieReading app makes moviegoing simple and enjoyable!
Hollywood Access Services is thrilled to provide unprecedented access to
blind moviegoers across the country with Philomena, the first film to be
made available in the U.S. on this new auto-syncing audio description
platform. Starring Judi Dench and Steve Coogan, and based on the book
"The Lost Child of Philomena Lee," Philomena is the true story of one
mother's search for her lost son. Philomena is directed By Stephen Frears
and written by Steve Coogan and Jeff Pope and opens in New York and Los
Angeles on November 22 before going nationwide on November 27.
I downloaded and tried out the app. The only issue I have is that I am currently unable to listen to a movie as advertised. How can I get the app to work properly? I registered the app, tried going to the market place and there is no where or button to download, thanks.
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For the past three years Alena has been a feature writer for the online magazine Matilda Ziegler. She has also been a contractor for the Oregon Commission for the Blind, helping blind adults learn to use adaptive technology. She is studying to be a teacher of the visually impaired at Portland State. You might also recognize her from the Serotalk podcast Triple Click Home.