Tag Archives: movies

Disney•Pixar Unveils Mobile Audio Description for ‘Finding Dory’

After lots of collaboration, tweaking and testing, the LightHouse is proud to announce that this week, blind people will be able get audio description for one of the summer’s biggest movies, on their own device, without asking for help.

That’s right! Starting on Friday, June 17, blind and visually impaired audiences will be able to get free, mobile audio description to accompany the release of Disney•Pixar’s Finding Dory.

The past year has seen lots of technological advancement in audio description technology, with Disney•Pixar leading the way for film studios with their app, Disney Movies Anywhere. The app was first demonstrated at the White Canes Red Carpet event in December, released at home with The Good Dinosaur, and discussed at length at our SXSW panel in March. Between these events, focus groups, and enthusiastic collaboration with Guide Dogs for the Blind, the Blind Babies Foundation, and other blindness organizations, this has grown much bigger than just one app: it’s a statement of purpose.

Disney•Pixar’s smart-syncing audio description, native to the mainstream app, represents thoughtful design that works for everybody.  When activated, it provides an add-on experience which levels the playing field for audiences who are blind or have low vision.

Paired with any Disney•Pixar film using headphones or earbuds, the app delivers an extra audio track which elegantly narrates important on-screen action for those who can’t always follow along visually. Now tested and available to use with Pixar’s 16 other feature films, the app’s functionality will work for its first new release when Finding Dory hits theaters this week.

Accolades for DMA

Earlier this week, FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler honored Disney Movies Anywhere with the FCC’s Advancement in Accessibility Award, which recognizes achievements in communications technology for those with disabilities. Alongside other innovators in the accessibility field, Disney•Pixar is proud to guarantee audio description to its fans when it comes to both new and classic films.

How to get Audio Description, anywhere:

1. Download DMA: Disney Movies Anywhere app from the App Store.

2. Make sure the iOS accessibility features are in use, or switch accessibility mode to ON in the DMA settings section.

3. Find the movie you’re watching in the “Audio Description” section of the Featured tab.

4. Hit “sync and play audio” button while the movie is playing. (You need to “Allow” to use your microphone for sync).

5. Sit back and enjoy!

Note: Please be considerate of others – makes sure headphones are connected and always use screen curtain (three-finger triple tap in VoiceOver) at any theater! We recommend using the app to download the audio description track before you go to the movie for best results.

More audio description, please!

The rollout of empowered audio description technology is no small task, and Disney•Pixar needs all the encouragement it can get in continuing its mission to serve blind and visually impaired audiences. Let’s face it, not everyone is totally tech savvy, and theaters are understandably wary of cell phone use in theaters. Not only do we want to show studios, cinemas and distributors that we take theater etiquette seriously, but we need to show them that equal access to movies is a mandate from our community.

Disney•Pixar has set up an open line for your stories, and it’s crucial that you weigh in to tell them how much this matters. Send your audio description testimonials and experiences to dmaappfeedback@pixar.com.

 

Ticket Giveaway to SF DocFest’s Off the Rails – Co-presented by Superfest International Disability Film Festival

Superfest International Disability Film Festival announces a partnership with SF DocFest to co-present OFF THE RAILS, a film by Adam Irving. New York’s infamous transit thief, 50-year-old Darius McCollum, has been impersonating transit staff and stealing trains and buses for over 35 years, he has been given the opportunity of National Pardon but he has never taken it. He has been arrested no less than 30 times and has spent much of his life behind bars. The subway was his sanctuary as a child and he soon had memorized every train’s schedule and stops. Diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, depression, and anxiety stemming from a childhood school attack, the courts have never understood his obsession with transit.

In honor of Superfest’s 30th Anniversary we are giving away two tickets to the DocFest screening of Off the Rails at the Roxie Theater to the 30th person to send an email to jsachs@lighthouse-sf.org with the subject line “Off The Rails”.

Screenings:

Sunday, June 12: 4:30 p.m. at the Roxie Theater, 3117 16th Street in San Francisco

Tuesday, June 14: 9:00 p.m. at the Vogue Theater, 3290 Sacramento Street in San Francisco

Superfest, the world’s longest running disability film festival, celebrates disability as a creative force in cinema and culture. We feature films with fresh ideas and images that inspire thought and meaningful conversation. Superfest is coordinated in partnership by the Paul K. Longmore Institute on Disability and LightHouse for the Blind and Visually Impaired.

Ever Had Trouble at an AMC Theater?

Regular movie-goers may not be surprised to hear that often, audio description for blind individuals doesn’t work. According to the ADA, places of public accommodation must ensure that services such as audio description are readily provided when available, and yet often enough, major theater chains fail to deliver. That’s why firms such as DRA are now looking for individuals across the country who have had such negative experiences, to hear their stories. Here’s the official announcement from DRA and RBGG:

Disability Rights Advocates, a national nonprofit legal center based in Berkeley, California, and Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld, a law firm based in San Francisco experienced with disability rights issues, are investigating complaints from blind individuals who have been unable to use audio description services at American Multi-Cinema, Inc. (“AMC”) movie theaters. We are interested in speaking with legally blind individuals who have encountered problems when attempting to use audio description services at AMC theaters.

Audio description refers to recorded audio that provides synchronized descriptions of a movie’s key visual details during natural pauses in dialog during the movie. Many popular films are released with the audio description feature. Movie theaters provide access to audio description by issuing upon request wireless handsets and headphones that play the audio description track during the movie. This configuration allows blind customers to listen to both the dialog and sound effects in a movie and descriptions of the visual aspects of the film.

If you are legally blind and you have been unable to access audio description services at AMC theaters because the audio description equipment was malfunctioning, because AMC staff did not know how to configure the audio description equipment, or for any other reason, we would appreciate speaking with you about your experiences. To share your experiences, please contact Charlotte Landes by phone at (415) 433-6830 or by e-mail at clandes@rbgg.com or Julia Marks by phone at (510) 665-8644 or by e-mail at jmarks@dralegal.org.

 

A New Year, a New Surge of Classes at the LightHouse

Have you made a New Year’s resolution yet? How about resolving to try something new at the LightHouse this year?

Beginning in 2016, LightHouse is launching an array of new classes. These classes will refresh every quarter so you’ll always want to visit us and try something new. Here’s a sampling of what we have to offer, through the end of March. (To stay updated on the most current happenings, call us on our event line at 415-694-7325 or sign up for Beth’s List by emailing Beth at bberenson@lighthouse-sf.org.)

Business of Blindness with Mike Cole
Every Wednesday beginning January 6, from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon.
Over a cup of coffee, discuss and debate, converse and philosophize with Mike Cole, former director of the Orientation Center for the Blind, on anything related to blindness. Meet successful blind guest speakers and learn about current happenings in the blindness community.

Movie Club
Every Wednesday beginning January 6 from, 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
Watch an audio-described film and discuss the its high and low points.

Art with Ruthie
Every Monday starting January 11, from 9:30 to 11:00 a.m.
Explore your inner artist with Ruthie and learn new ways to express yourself.

Dental Hygiene Workshop Series
Every Monday starting January 11, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m.
UCSF Dental School is hosting a series of workshops on dental hygiene and the affects it has on your overall health.

Yoga with Kimberley
Every second Tuesday of the month beginning January 12, from 6:00 to 7:00 p.m.
Yoga instructor Kimberly—who is legally blind—provides her students with a playful, core-focused vinyasa, designed to promote strength, flexibility and focus. Her creative sequencing encourages students of all levels to try something new.

For information or to sign-up for these classes, contact Molly Irish at mpearson@lighthouse-sf.org or 415-694-7320.

Does Your Movie Theater Offer Audio Description?

photo: a still from Netflix's Daredevil in which a woman reads Daredevil the newspaper

Movie theaters around the country are increasingly under a legal mandate to accommodate blind and visually impaired customers. For the most part, that means providing audio descriptions for films that blind moviegoers can use to hear a visual description of the film. But for various reasons, these services aren’t always available. Here in the Bay Area, a local group of disability rights attorneys are investigating audio descriptions at AMC theaters, and need your feedback.

The announcement is below:

Disability Rights Advocates and Rosen Bien Galvan & Grunfeld are investigating complaints from blind individuals who have been unable to use audio description services at American Multi-Cinema, Inc. (“AMC”) movie theaters. We are interested in speaking with legally blind individuals who have encountered problems when attempting to use audio description services at AMC theaters in California.

Audio description refers to recorded audio that provides synchronized descriptions of a movie’s key visual details during natural pauses in dialog during the movie. Many popular films are released with the audio description feature. Movie theaters provide access to audio description by issuing upon request wireless handsets and headphones that play the audio description track during the movie. This configuration allows blind customers to listen to both the dialog and sound effects in a movie and descriptions of the visual aspects of the film.

If you are legally blind and you have been unable to access audio description services at AMC theaters in California because the audio description equipment was malfunctioning, because AMC staff did not know how to configure the audio description equipment, or for any other reason, we would appreciate speaking with you about your experiences. To share these with us, please contact Charlotte Landes by phone at (415) 433-6830 or by e-mail at Clandes@rbgg.com.