Representatives from Guide Dogs for the Blind along with members from other leading blindness organizations, SF’s Lighthouse for the Blind and Blind Babies, have played a critical role in helping shape Disney-Pixar’s audio descriptive narration app. This ground-breaking app provides visually impaired audiences with the unique experience of being able to enjoy watching/listening to a film alongside their family and friends. Key visual elements of the film are inserted as an audio guide to help low-vision viewers get a more comprehensive understanding of the film. Several hundred members of the Bay Area’s blindness community got a preview of the new technology in December at Pixar’s studios in Emeryville and it was a memorable and profound experience with tears and laughter present in equal measure.
Jane Flower, Outreach Manager for Guide Dogs for the Blind was one of those in tears as shared her thoughts with the audience at the White Canes, Red Carpet event. As she reflects back on that evening now, she says “I have always loved the "movie" experience, but that love has faded over the past few years as my vision has deteriorated. I have watched movies at home with audio description, when available, but it isn't the same as sitting in the theatre with your family and friends, enjoying the movie in real time, or being able to talk about the movie in depth after viewing it. The new Disney-Pixar audio description app. finally makes this dream a reality. The app puts accessibility directly into my hands rather than hoping the theatre I am going to offers this accommodation. When I watched the Good Dinosaur using this app, I cried for the first time in a very long time during a movie because I was no longer missing the emotions expressed on the characters faces, or the amazing cinematography. It was all described in such beautiful detail.”
With the soft launch of this app via the Good Dinosaur, Disney-Pixar hopes to gain valuable input from the blindness community that will further enhance the movie-going experience for people of all abilities. Disney-Pixar plans to make this a standard offering for all future titles. Please share any feedback you may have by reaching out to firstname.lastname@example.org . We will aggregate any feedback we receive and share it with Disney-Pixar in the coming weeks.
Disney-Pixar has provided these tips on how to best enjoy their new app:
Consumers will need to have a Disney Movies Anywhere App downloaded onto an iPhone® or iPad® running iOS 7 or above in order to use this technology. Consumers can activate “Audio Description” on their iPhone® and iPad® by going to the “Access” section under “Settings” in the Disney Movies Anywhere App. Once activated, they can find supported titles through the Audio Descriptive (AD) button on the featured tab.
Once a film is chosen and playing on any separate platform the user can push the “Sync & Play Audio” button within the Disney Movies Anywhere App to initiate syncing and playback of the accompanying narration, creating an audio guide of the film. Now all families can enjoy Disney-Pixar movies together.
There are 16 Disney-Pixar feature films that are available via the DMA app: Toy Story (1995), A Bug’s Life (1998), Toy Story 2 (1999), Monsters, Inc. (2001), Finding Nemo (2003), The Incredibles (2004), Cars (2006), Ratatouille (2007), WALL•E (2008), Up (2009), Toy Story 3 (2010), Cars 2 (2011), Brave (2012), Monsters University (2013), Inside Out (2015), and The Good Dinosaur (2015).
For more information, please visit https://www.disneymoviesanywhere.com/support#14484
Photo Description top: GDB Outreach Manager Jane Flower and Pixar Producer Paul Cichocki along with Jane's yellow Lab/Golden cross Anja stand in front of the Good Dinosaur promotional signage at the White Canes, Red Carpet event at Pixar.