Australian access services and technology innovator The Captioning Studio today announced a new platform set to revolutionise the way people who are blind experience live theatre and events. GoTheatrical-AD™, a world-first mobile app for live audio description (AD), was officially launched today by the Australian Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, the Hon. Amanda Rishworth MP, at the Art Gallery of South Australia.
Audio description is the verbal narration of visual media, such as TV, movies, and live performances and events, and is generally delivered during gaps in the dialogue. By describing visual elements such as scenes, costumes, locations and action, it assists millions of people worldwide who are blind or have low vision, including over 600,000 Australians.
Presently, live audio description is provided using FM radio systems, a technology prone to interference, equipment failure and poor sound quality, impacting significantly on the theatre experience of blind and low vision patrons.
GoTheatrical-AD™ allows live audio description to be accessed via the patron’s own headset and mobile device, or a GoTheatrical-AD™ loan unit from the venue. The patented technology offers high-quality digital audio, reliability, and innovative features for venues, audio describers and patrons.
Alex French, CEO of The Captioning Studio, said: “Existing captioning and audio description technologies used around the world are outdated. We’re delighted that our GoTheatrical™ technologies are available to assist venues worldwide to transform the experience of live events for the millions of people with disability.”
Emma Bennison, CEO of Arts Access Australia and board member of Blind Citizens Australia, commented: “The possibilities which the GoTheatrical-AD™ App offer for bringing audio description to more people, more often, are limitless and very exciting for those of us who are blind or vision-impaired.”
In 2012, The Captioning Studio launched its world-first GoTheatrical™ captioning app, enabling deaf or hard of hearing patrons to access live captions on mobile and tablet devices, complementing its LCD television captioning displays. Highly regarded, GoTheatrical™ captioning is now offered by many venues, including the Sydney Opera House.
GoTheatrical-AD™ will be available to venues as a kit. Patrons will shortly be able to download the app from the App Store and GooglePlay.
Click here to check out the GoTheatrical AD story on ABC News.