The pleasure of the silver screen, usually something that the blind are not able to fully enjoy, is now a reality for them thanks to the creation of a mobile application designed to deliver audio descriptions of movie scenes.
A special movie for the visually impaired was recently screened at the SFX Cinema Central Rama IX together with the launch of the “Pannana” application, which includes an Audio Description (AD) component which narrates what is happening on the screen.
The application, which can be downloaded via the IOS and Android platforms, was developed by Klongdinsor Co. It describes scenes in the movies, right down to what facial expression the actor was making.
The event, which invited a visually-impaired audience to a screening of the movie The Promise, was jointly held by SF Corporation Plc, GDH 559 Co, Klongdinsor Co and the Thai Health Promotion Foundation.
“The app helps me enjoy movies again, like other people,” said a former IT manager, nicknamed “Champ”, who lost his sight four years ago from a road accident. “I want to come back and watch movies more often.”
The 42-year-old said he was now motivated to return to the cinema, but next time with some popcorn on the side.
Two blind students from Thammasat University, Phet and Kok, also joined the film event. They said cinemas were pointless if they could only hear the dialogue of the movies.
Phet said the AD app helps fill in the gaps for the blind in terms of what’s happening on the screen. He said he wants the application to incorporate TV programs so he could also enjoy drama series along with his family.
When the movie plays, visually impaired audience members can plug headphones into their mobile phones, where the application will relay an audio description of each scene.
Jina Osothsilp, CEO of GDH 599, said all the company’s films that shown in cinemas would now be AD-compatible.
Vorawan Chaipaitoon, of the Thai Health Promotion Foundation, said the AD app enables visually impaired people to have access to entertainment and knowledge.
Founder and CEO of Klongdinsor Co, Chatchai Aphibanpoonpon, said although AD is still little known among the public, its use would continue to grow and contribute to a richer, more rewarding experience for those visually impaired people who wish to visit the cinema.
The National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission (NBTC) earlier announced digital TV channels must have sign language interpreters, AD and subtitles, running for at least 60 minutes a day, from February onwards. But the TV operators said they were not ready for that so the NBTC will enforce the rule from February 2019 instead.
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