L.A. theater makes special Audio Description headsets available to non-sighted patrons
DEALT, the new film about renowned card 'mechanic' Richard Turner, opened in Los Angeles Friday, months after claiming the audience award at SXSW.
Luke Korem directed the documentary on Turner who became one of the great sleight-of-hand artists in the world, despite losing his sight at age nine. The director and his team partnered with the Arena Cinelounge in Hollywood to provide Audio Description (AD) headsets for non-sighted patrons to experience the film.
“AD is an amazingly powerful tool, which every filmmaker and platform should embrace,” Korem said in a statement. “It’s just as essential as Closed Captioning (CC), but oftentimes is neglected because it’s widely unknown. With AD we can create a more rich, colorful, and immersive film experience for those who are visually impaired.”
It turned a one-dimensional audio experience into a wonderful visual journey within my mind's eye.
"The verbal description of action, scenery, text, and other visual elements can increase our enjoyment," Mark Riccobono, President of the National Federation of the Blind said of AD technology in a statement. “We appreciate that the makers of DEALT are committed to ensuring that everyone can equally and independently enjoy all aspects of this powerful film.”
In a press release, the filmmakers provided further details on how the technology works.
"When used by a moviegoer, the AD track will play into the headset via bluetooth, with the prerecorded secondary audio track describing the multiple visual elements, time coded and precisely placed between dialogue."
The film is now streaming on VOD via Sundance Selects. The AD track can be accessed through iTunes, according to the filmmakers' press release.
For a demonstration of Turner's remarkable skill with cards, watch the trailer below.
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.