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Mobile app provides audio description at cinema for blind film fans

In January 2017, RLSB merged with the Royal Society for Blind Children. Although we are now called RSBC, there may be some references to RLSB in the following blog.

A smart phone app has been developed in Sweden that synchronises pre-downloaded audio description tracks with films being shown in the cinema. The new technology means that vision impaired film fans will no longer be restricted to cinemas with headsets or the specialist equipment currently required to host audio described film showings.

The idea for the app came from Available Cinema, a government project managed by the Swedish Film Institute along with the Swedish Post and Telecom Authority.

The app delivers the audio described track downloaded on to the user’s device via headphones, which is synchronized with the film on the cinema screen, using audio fingerprinting technology by Swedish content recognition software company Audible Magic.

A specialist toolkit has also been created, allowing film producers to create ‘fingerprints’ of the film sound tracks with audio description.

Mike Edwards, General Manager EMEA for Audible magic said:

“Witnessing the delight of users at the launch is an experience I will not forget.”

The Swedish film institute is planning to roll out the technology internationally to broadcasters and film makers.