NBC will make ‘The Wiz Live’ accessible for the visually impaired

Originaly published at: http://mashable.com/2015/12/02/wiz-live-visually-impaired/?utm_campaign=mash-prod-synd-apple-all-full&utm_cid=mash-prod-synd-apple-all-full#TTU7nN7pLgqm

NBC’s live broadcast of The Wiz Live will be fully accessible for people with visual disabilities.

The musical production will be the first live entertainment show in U.S. history to provide video description to viewers with Secondary Audio Program audio feeds, according to an announcement by Comcast. Video description is defined as “a narration track between the natural pauses in the dialogue that describes the action happening on-screen.”

“Comcast’s commitment to include video description with the performance of The Wiz Live! is ground-breaking,” said Kim Charlson, President of the American Council of the Blind in the announcement. “The path to accessibility is a journey of inclusion of all audiences.

Tom Wlodkowski, the vice president of accessibility at Comcast Cable in TV, who was born blind, explained why it was such an important development.

“When I tune-in to a program that includes description, I can follow along much better and get much more enjoyment from that particular show or movie,” he says in a statement.

It will be a big first for NBC, which has recently put on two live musical broadcasts: The Sound of Music in 2013 and Peter Pan in 2014. The Wiz Live, which will air Dec. 3, is an adaptation of the 1975 Broadway musical starring Stephanie Mills.

The NBC production stars a slew of big names, including Queen Latifah, Mary J. Blige, Uzo Aduba, Amber Riley, David Alan Grier, Ne-Yo and newcomer Shanice Williams, who won an open casting call and will play the role of Dorothy.

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  • Ruan Carlos

    Discente da disciplina Áudio-descrição, do curso de graduação de Rádio, TV e internet, da Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE).View all article by Ruan Carlos

New law requires movie chains to offer open captioning and audio descriptions in theatres

Originaly published at: http://www.hawaii247.com/2015/12/30/new-law-requires-movie-chains-to-offer-open-captioning-and-audio-descriptions-in-theatres/

Honolulu, Hawaii – A bill introduced by Kauai Representative James Tokioka (Wailua Homesteads, Hanamaulu, Lihue, Puhi, Old Koloa Town, Omao), and signed into law by Governor David Ige will make Hawaii the first state in the nation to accommodate for the hearing and visually impaired at movie theatres statewide.
HB1272 requires anyone that operates a motion picture theater in more than two locations in the state to provide open captioning during at least two showings per week of each motion picture that is produced with open movie captioning. It also requires them to provide an audio description of any motion picture that is produced and offered with audio description. The measure takes effect Jan. 1, 2016 and sunsets Jan. 1, 2018.
The law allows equal access to movie theaters for the deaf, blind, deaf/blind and hard-of-hearing communities. It also brings Hawaii closer to achieving full inclusion for our deaf and blind communities that was first initiated with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990.
The law removes communication barriers and provides equal access to persons who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind or have poor vision through reasonable accommodations at movie theaters. It will also help seniors who have trouble hearing, as well as individuals who are learning English as a second language by providing the written dialogue on screen.

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  • Ruan Carlos

    Discente da disciplina Áudio-descrição, do curso de graduação de Rádio, TV e internet, da Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE).View all article by Ruan Carlos

Pixar’s New App Gives the Blind a New Way to Experience Movies

Originaly published at: http://ww2.kqed.org/news/2016/01/23/pixar-new-app-gives-blind-new-way-to-experience-movies/

While we all love going to the movies, the experience often becomes a huge challenge for the blind and low-vision community when the visual aids provided by theaters are broken (or can’t even be found). Fortunately, that may be about to change.

Pixar Studios is developing an app that syncs your phone with a narration track. Interspersed between segments of dialogue, it describes what’s happening on-screen — characters, action, costumes — through your headphones.

Last month, Pixar threw a party at their Emeryville headquarters to test out the new app, in collaboration with Bay Area non-profits like LightHouse for the Blind, the Blind Babies Foundation and Guide Dogs. Complete with an expansive red carpet, the event was a Gatsby-like dazzle of light and noise, flashing cameras and a whole fleet of seeing-eye dogs. The evening culminated in a screening of “The Good Dinosaur.”

There are definitely some kinks to be worked out. A large portion of the audience — sighted and non-sighted alike — had trouble downloading it onto their phones. But thanks to a few Pixar employees, looking only mildly nervous, everyone soon had it working. Lisamaria Martinez, the director of community services at the LightHouse for the Blind, explained that it offered great improvements over current visual aids.

“Often I’m handed the handset for the hard of hearing,” she said. “Then I have to rely on the fact that they’ve charged the device…and that they’ve turned on the audio-description tracks. A lot of times they don’t and I have to go look for someone…and I’ve lost the first 15 minutes of the movie.”

Going to movies with her four-year-old is particularly discouraging.

“My kid’s a pretty smart kid, and he asks lots of questions: Mommy, what was that? How do I explain something that needs explaining when I don’t even know it happened?”

As the film began and animated talking dinosaurs galloped across the screen, the theater filled with laughter. Many folks who had never fully followed a film before suddenly knew what was happening. Read in an almost comical monotone, the female narration track was concise and dry — a bit like IKEA instructions. Here’s an example: “A bush rustled nearby. Arlo hides. A fully-grown chicken-like dinosaur with red eyes looms over them.”

Yet no one seemed to mind the hollow voice, and when the lights came up, the applause was raucous. Ms. Martinez was excited by how thorough the narration was.

“During the movie,” she explained, “I realized that it had dialogue, [but] not nearly as much as other movies. If that wasn’t there, I’d be so lost. Being able to have accessibility in my own power, it’s empowering to me.”

For much of the audience, Pixar’s new app offers much more than a chance to merely follow along. It offers the possibility of a drastic change — that a group of people who have long been left out of a full movie experience can finally feel included.

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  • Ruan Carlos

    Discente da disciplina Áudio-descrição, do curso de graduação de Rádio, TV e internet, da Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE).View all article by Ruan Carlos

Screenworks to host closed captions and audio description workshop

Originaly published at: http://if.com.au/2016/07/18/article/Screenworks-to-host-closed-captions-and-audio-description-workshop/DGMGPDCVHF.html

As part of a commitment to make screen media accessible to the hearing and visually impaired, Screenworks will deliver a closed captioning and audio description workshop next month.

The workshop will aim to educate filmmakers on the simplicity and significance of closed captions for the deaf and audio description for the blind in screen media; how it increases the opportunities and helps address delivery requirements for some broadcasters and exhibitors.

The seminar will be headed up by captioning expert Michael Lockrey and audio description manager Alison Myers.

Lockrey is a former chairman of the Australian Communication Exchange, a not-for-profit organisation providing phone access to the deaf and hearing impaired, and is a passionate advocate for correct captioning across all media.

As a profoundly deaf man, Lockrey has developed an app “no more craptions” to easily transform Google’s auto-captions into correct closed captions, and has won a national award for his advocacy.

Myers is the audio description manager at The SubStation. After many years as a captioner, Alison branched out into audio description in 2008 and has been a passionate advocate ever since, seeking to expand its use, audience and accessibility in Australia.

Screenworks’ general manager, Ken Crouch was keen to emphasise the significance of this seminar.

“We are very lucky that two experienced advocates, Michael Lockrey and Alison Myers are leading this workshop. We expect that not only will it increase the accessibility of screen media for people with disability it will also raise the quality of close captioning and audio description across our film industry,” he said.

The event, to be held in Byron Bay on August 18, is free event but places are strictly limited.

Tickets and more information www.screenworks.com.au.

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  • Ruan Carlos

    Discente da disciplina Áudio-descrição, do curso de graduação de Rádio, TV e internet, da Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE).View all article by Ruan Carlos

New app takes Ranch residents on art tour

Originaly published at: http://littletonindependent.net/stories/New-app-takes-Ranch-residents-on-art-tour,233082

Otocast pulls up a virtual map of nearby outdoor artwork
Posted Tuesday, August 2, 2016 12:11 pm
Eric Feinstein, of New York, launched his Otocast app in 2014. The app now serves more than 70 cities in the U.S. and Canada. Courtesy Eric Feinstein
Eric Feinstein, of New York, launched his Otocast app in 2014. The app now serves more than 70 cities in the U.S. and Canada. Courtesy Eric Feinstein
Alex DeWind
This year’s Art Encounters — a yearlong outdoor sculpture exhibit in Douglas County— is now easier for Highlands Ranch residents to navigate thanks to a smartphone app called Otocast.

The mobile application serves as a virtual tour guide.

“It’s like having your own personal tour guide or friend telling you what you’re looking at,” said Eric Feinstein, the app’s founder.

The guides direct the discovery of new and recommended points of interest in an area using GPS technology, said Jamie Noebel, director of community relations for the Highlands Ranch Community Association.

When someone opens the Otocast app, Art Encounters sculptures in Highlands Ranch will be listed as green dots on a virtual map. As of now, only the sculptures in Highlands Ranch are active on the app.

Each green dot pulls up a photo of a piece of art, a description, an audio recording by the artist and a set of directions.

For example, Otocast-users near Southridge Recreation Center will see a bronze sculpture called Flutter-by created by artist Janene DiRico-Cable, of Castle Rock.

During last year’s Art Encounters, she stood in front of her sculpture and passed out information on her piece.

Now Otocast does that job.

“This is going to be a great opportunity for people to learn about the artists they like,” DiRico-Cablesaid. “It makes a connection — it’s more personal.”

Feinstein, of New York, launched Otocast in 2014 after traveling to Dallas, Texas, for work. He was inspired by a desire to learn more about what was around him, he said.

“I passed by a building or two that had public art statues,” he said. “I’m sure there was a story but I didn’t know what it was. I kept thinking there should be a way to find out.”

Feinstein has a degree in electrical engineering and computer science. But instead of working behind the scenes, he said he wanted to create a tool that would help people.

So he started Otocast, now active in more than 70 cities across the U.S. and Canada.

“It’s technology,” he said, “but it’s for a purpose.”

His favorite component of the app, he said, is the audio.

“It’s really neat to hear that first-person connection with what they (the artists) are talking about.”

He tells an artist to keep his or her recording less than three minutes so it doesn’t sound like a lecture. He also tells artists to avoid explaining the art so the viewer can interpret the piece.

DiRico-Cable said the audio recording component was interesting. She chose to thank people for taking the time to stop by her piece.

“My approach to public art,” she said, “is I want it to be friendly and interactive.”

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  • Ruan Carlos

    Discente da disciplina Áudio-descrição, do curso de graduação de Rádio, TV e internet, da Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE).View all article by Ruan Carlos

P.E. Teacher by Day, Audio Describer by Night: MaryAnn Graziano

Originally published at: http://communityvoices.post-gazette.com/arts-entertainment-living/arts-blog/item/40317-p-e-teacher-by-day-audio-describer-by-night-maryann-graziano

MaryAnn Graziano, middle school Physical Education teacher with Seneca Valley, started volunteering about 12 years ago with Radio Information Services, reading on the radio for blind audiences. Another volunteer at the time was Marilyn Egan, longtime education director for the Pittsburgh Opera. Marilyn asked MaryAnn if she’d be interested in giving audio description a try and MaryAnn said, “Sure, why not?”

But, MaryAnn said, “I didn’t know squat about Opera. I thought, ‘It looks kinda cool.’ I shadowed Marilyn on The Marriage of Figaro. I didn’t know how to read music, but I could follow the words they were singing. I told Marilyn: if you’re willing to teach me, I’m willing to learn.”

Not long after that 2004-2005 season, Diane Nutting hosted audio description training at City Theatre by Bill Patterson of the Audio Description Coalition, and asked MaryAnn to the training. There were eight willing souls at that training, and two are still doing it today – Kellee VanAken at the City Theatre and MaryAnn.

MaryAnn has since gone on to audio describe over 50 operas, plus three seasons with Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre and theatrical audio descriptions with City Theatre, PICT, and Bricolage Production Company. The Pittsburgh Playhouse recently had a spring production described and is looking to do more.

The purpose of audio description is to describe the visual content of what’s happening on stage for people who cannot see the stage – it provides the missing visual information that is critical to understanding what is happening in a performance.

Sighted people generally do not think about what we take in, visually. But if you are visually impaired, being able to understand the action in the full sense of the production and staging is critical to understanding the plot, and helps visually impaired people understand the audience’s reaction. For example, why did the audience gasp? Is a character quietly sneaking up on another?

Necessity is often the Mother of invention. Marilyn Egan started audio description for the Pittsburgh Opera when a blind patron said that their friend sat next to them whispering what was happening on stage. The patron enjoyed the singing, but couldn’t always understand the stage action. Their homespun methods of audio description were annoying to those around them, so a new solution was created to serve patrons with visual impairment.

Those who need audio description receive an earpiece from guest services. The audio describer, in this case MaryAnn, sits in the tech booth, listening to the performance and watching on a smaller screen, following along the score and describing the story and action to the person in the audience, who hears her voice directly in the single earpiece while the other ear is available to the live performance.

Over the years, MaryAnn has developed relationships with her opera patrons, people who trust her to interpret the performances with nuance and understanding. As in life, it’s not always perfect, but MaryAnn welcomes the feedback; it’s how she has honed this craft, which, as she says, “…is a service, it’s about what THEY need.”

It can be fun, too. One of Mary Ann’s favorite fun moments was seeing the Lieutenant of Inishmore, at PICT. There was a humorous moment in which she timed her description perfectly to the staged humor so that her listener could join in the roaring audience laughter.

There is homework to prepare for that kind of timing. For example, for the Pittsburgh Opera’s production of Tosca, MaryAnn sat in the balcony and watched the dress rehearsal. She saw the lead character slide the knife into her sleeve – something she would have missed on the small screen in the tech booth, but she caught it in the dress rehearsal so she made note of it in the score and brought that scene to life for her listeners.

Most audio describers are volunteers, giving of their time to make the arts more accessible and enjoyable. It’s an adventure for MaryAnn, too – she used to sit in the Opera’s pit orchestra storage room among the instrument cases – jokingly referred to as the Belly of the Benedum. She now sits in what she fondly refers to as the “Taj Mahal” – the sound booth in the back.

Audio description can be fun, too, like City Theatre’s audio description of Sister’s Late Night Catechism, a late night comedy played by a character who’s a nun. When asked to audio describe that production, MaryAnn said, “Heck yeah!”

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  • Ruan Carlos

    Discente da disciplina Áudio-descrição, do curso de graduação de Rádio, TV e internet, da Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE).View all article by Ruan Carlos

Netflix is the new accessible

Originaly published at: http://www.perkins.org/stories/blog/netflix-is-the-new-accessible

Popular streaming service reaches historic agreement to make shows and movies accessible to people who are blind

Kim Charlson sits next to a television and holds a remote control
An agreement between Netflix and the American Council of the Blind will make popular programs like “Orange Is the New Black” and “House of Cards” available with audio description for viewers who are blind.
June 23, 2016
BILL WINTER
Good news for people who are blind and like high-quality television: Netflix is getting accessible.

Thanks to a groundbreaking agreement between the world’s largest streaming service and the American Council of the Blind, award-winning Netflix programs like “Orange Is the New Black” and “House of Cards” will soon be available with audio description.

Netflix also agreed to make its website and mobile apps accessible to people with visual impairment who use screen-reading software.

“We applaud Netflix for working with us to enhance access to its services for people who are blind,” said Kim Charlson, president of the American Council of the Blind. “Our goal is to expand the availability of Netflix’s services to the blind community and to increase the availability of audio-described film and television programming.”

Charlson, who is also director of the Perkins Library, said the agreement will affect TV shows and movies offered through Netflix’s video streaming service as well as its DVD-by-mail subscription program.

“As television and movies are increasingly delivered through streaming and home delivery services, ensuring that the blind community receives access to this content is critical to ensure that people who are blind are integrated into modern society,” she said. “These improvements will provide people who are blind or low vision with unparalleled access to online video entertainment services currently enjoyed by millions of Americans.”

Netflix has agreed to add audio description to its own shows with 30 days of release. For third-party content like movies and network TV shows, Netflix will “make commercially reasonable efforts” to acquire and offer audio description.

Audio description is voice-over narration that explains what’s happening on the screen, including characters’ physical actions and other important visual elements. The narration is inserted between lines of dialogue.

Critically acclaimed Netflix original shows that will gain audio descriptions include “Sense8,” “Marvel’s Jessica Jones,” “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” and “Master of None.” The Netflix series “Marvel’s Daredevil” – which features a heroic lead character who is blind – has been available with audio description since 2015.

Joining the American Council of the Blind in the settlement were the Bay State Council of the Blind, Robert Baran, a Massachusetts resident who is blind, and Disability Rights Advocates (DRA), a national non-profit law firm.

Netflix has over 81 million subscribers around the world, including more than 46 million in the United States. The American Council of the Blind will now work to convince other major content providers like Amazon and Hulu to provide accessibility features for people with visual impairment, said Charlson.

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  • Ruan Carlos

    Discente da disciplina Áudio-descrição, do curso de graduação de Rádio, TV e internet, da Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE).View all article by Ruan Carlos

Disabled Characters on Television: 95% of Roles in Top 10 Shows Played By Able-Bodied Actors — Report

Originaly published at: http://www.indiewire.com/2016/07/disabled-characters-on-television-study-underrepresented-1201706732/

The study determined that only four actors with disabilities were cast during the 2015-2016 season, amounting to less than 2 percent of all actors on screen.

Liz Calvario

A new study by Ruderman White Paper took a comprehensive look at the employment of actors with disabilities in television. Their findings concluded that 95 percent of characters with disabilities in top 10 TV shows are played by able-bodied actors, an act that, according to the Ruderman Family Foundation, reveals the “unjust and troubling discrimination of actors with disabilities in Hollywood.”

Co-authored by “Seinfeld” actor Danny Woodburn and Kristina Kopić, advocacy content specialist at Ruderman, the study examined 31 shows across all platforms, from streaming, cable and network, and also determined that only four actors with disabilities were cast during the 2015-2016 season, amounting to less than 2 percent of all actors on screen. With people with disabilities representing nearly 20 percent of the US population, it concluded that they are the most underrepresented minority in Hollywood.

READ MORE: If You Want True Diversity in Hollywood, Don’t Forget About Seniors and Actors With Disabilities

“The protest and ensuing media frenzy ignited by the ‘Oscars So White’ campaign has shaped an ideology around diversity in entertainment. This off-balanced idea of diversity has led to policy and even proposed legislation that has excluded people with disabilities,” said Woodburn in a statement from Variety. “The Ruderman White Paper On Employment Of Actors With Disabilities In Television is our attempt to bring perspective to inclusion, to reinforce access and an understanding of authenticity as an expression of what true diversity means and to finally let the least represented group in this medium be heard.”

ABC’s new comedy “Speechless,” starring Minnie Driver, features Micah Fowler, an actor who has cerebral palsy in real life and plays JJ, the family’s eldest child. While this is a step forward, the Ruderman Foundation hopes to have more studios hire more actors with disabilities.

READ MORE: 2015 Vida Count: WOC, LGBTQ and Women with Disabilities Underrepresented in Publications

“The entertainment industry has a significant impact on how our society views various minority groups. Part of this is rooted in the fact that our population spends more time watching television than socializing with friends. Because of the widespread stigma in Hollywood against hiring actors with disabilities, we very rarely see people with real disabilities on screen,” said Jay Ruderman, president of the Ruderman Family Foundation. “This blatant discrimination against people with disabilities not only is fundamentally unfair to the approximate 20 percent of our population with disabilities, it also reinforces stigmas against people with disabilities. By systematically casting able-bodied actors portraying characters with disabilities, Hollywood is hurting the inclusion of people with disabilities in our country.”

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  • Ruan Carlos

    Discente da disciplina Áudio-descrição, do curso de graduação de Rádio, TV e internet, da Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE).View all article by Ruan Carlos

Games for Everybody Offers Let’s Play Videos with Audio Description

Originaly published at: http://www.blindbargains.com/bargains.php?m=15354

Let’s Play videos are a popular trend where gamers will post videos of titles they’re playing so others can watch and follow along. Now, a YouTube poster who calls himself Matt has started a new series of Let’s Play videos which do the same thing, but with audio descriptions of the action. The Games for Everybody YouTube channel currently features several walkthroughs of his first title, Undertail, a role-playing video game nominated for several awards. Matt both describes the scenes that play out during the game and also reads text that appears.
Here’s a short description from Wikipedia: “Players control a human child who has climbed a mountain and fallen into the Underground, a large, secluded region underneath the surface of the Earth, separated by a magic barrier. The human interacts with many monsters while on a quest to return to the surface, with the player making decisions on whether to kill or talk them out of the fight. Some of these decisions are made through the game’s turn-based combat system, in which the player, after navigating through mini-bullet hell segments, can opt to talk or spare monsters instead of attacking and killing them. The choices made by the player affect the outcome of the game, with the dialogue and story outcome changing based on their decisions.”
Follow the source link to watch the videos and follow the game story.

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  • Ruan Carlos

    Discente da disciplina Áudio-descrição, do curso de graduação de Rádio, TV e internet, da Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE).View all article by Ruan Carlos

Bespecular Joins the List of Apps to Help People who are Blind get Sighted Assistance

Originaly pubished at: http://www.blindbargains.com/bargains.php?m=15502

Another app has launched which hopes to be able to provide sighted assistance to people who are blind. Bespecular, is an app which allows you to take a picture, and then record a question regarding that picture either through text or by recording a question via audio. The picture and question will then be submitted to sighted volunteers who can assist with your question. It’s also possible to take multiple pictures of the same item and to get multiple answers regarding the same question. Sighted volunteers will then respond with an audio answer to the question, and you then have the opportunity to rate the assistance they provided. At this time, there appears to be no way to get answers delivered in textual format, though the company stated on its website that this app is now in a public preview format. A source link is to a podcast with a walk-through of the app for iOS. It states that the app will always have a free version, and that it will be entirely free to use until the end of 2016. Bespecular is a free download in the iOS App Store, and is also a free download on the Google Play store It does require the creation of an account before you are able to use it, but this process doesn’t appear to have any issues. Have you used this app yet? Feel free to leave your experiences in the comments section.

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  • Ruan Carlos

    Discente da disciplina Áudio-descrição, do curso de graduação de Rádio, TV e internet, da Universidade Federal de Pernambuco (UFPE).View all article by Ruan Carlos