New app lets blind en­joy movie nights out

Bangkok Post - - NATIONAL - PENCHAN CHAROENSUTHIPAN

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 vi­su­al­ly­im­paired 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 pro­grammes 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.

WORRAPON PHAYAKUM

The vi­su­al­ly­im­paired lis­ten to Au­dio De­scrip­tions (AD), which nar­rates scenes in movies to blind au­di­ences, at a spe­cial screen­ing of ‘The Prom­ise’ movie at the SFX Cinema Cen­tral Rama IX yes­ter­day. The app is de­signed to heighten the plea­sure of the sil­ver screen for the blind and will be made avail­able for more movies in the near fu­ture.

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