Pixar’s new app bypasses cinema audio description issues

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Friday, 29 January 2016 17:10pm

Movie producer and distributor Pixar Studios has moved to solve the problem of blind people not being able to access its movies by creating an audio description app.

Attendees of Pixar's 'White Canes, Red Carpet' event standing in front of a poster for 'The Good Dinosaur'. Image credit: Guide Dogs for the Blind, Flickr

At a launch event to release the app in California, Pixar collaborated with local blind organisations, including LightHouse for the Blind, Guide Dogs and the Blind Babies Foundation. The evening featured a showing of The Good Dinosaur.

Blind people attending the event said that the app provided a better customer experience than that found in the cinemas where devices were not charged, audio description tracks were not turned on or hearing impaired equipment was mistakenly given to them.

Media Access Australia CEO Alex Varley thinks that the app is a temporary measure and a smokescreen for avoiding tackling the real problem of poor access service in cinemas.

“They should fix the real issue,” said Varley. “Movies are released with audio description tracks as standard and digital cinemas can play them. Rather than create yet another piece of technology that is exclusive to one distributor, the focus should be on making the in-cinema experience work properly.

“This requires the cooperation of a number of different organisations in the cinema chain and that is more difficult to coordinate with a lot of the process being outside the control of Pixar. I can see why they might take an easier option of just dealing with the end-user via an app.”

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