A new service for people with failing eyesight which will help them enjoy the cinema again is now available at Mareel.
The service, which is called “audio described” (AD) movies, involves a narrator speaking in between the existing soundtrack and dialogue of a movie. The viewer, using a provided wireless headset, can then hear everything from the movie plus a separate description of actions, facial expressions and scenes, described by the narrator.
Audio description is available on any screening and about 90 per cent of movies have AD available.
Phil Hibbert of local charity Vision Shetland said that recent studies have shown that very few people were aware of the benefits of AD, but when they try it, most people give extremely positive reviews. He has tried it out at Mareel, together with Lerwick man Neil Anderson, who is blind.
Mr Anderson, who listens to everything from books to documents for meetings as audio files, described the experience as being very easy to follow. He was impressed that he could listen to the entire atmosphere created by the soundtrack of the film, as well as all the dialogue and descriptions.
In addition, for only £5 a year, people can buy a card from the Cinema Exhibitors Association which allows a free ticket for someone accompanying a registered blind or partially sighted person, or has a qualifying benefit.
For more information contact Vision Shetland.