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Audio described cinema and DVD information.

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Cinema audio description is a fantastic service for people with sight loss. The normal film soundtrack comes through the cinemas surround sound speakers in the usual way, whilst a recorded narrator explains what's happening on screen - in gaps in the dialogue - through personal headphones. It's similar to listening to a cricket or football match on the radio - having the action described to you - but with added surround sound, which places you in the middle of the action.

Most popular cinema releases are now available with audio description tracks. Around half of UK cinemas have facilities to read these files, and screen audio described shows. There are tens of thousands of shows around the UK every week. Ask for an A.D. headset at the box office. The audio description is broadcast through personal headphones - only the wearer hears it.



If a cinema in your area does not offer access to its films, via audio description, please speak to the manager and request that the cinema does its best to provide an accessible service, to enable people with sight loss to enjoy the cinema experience. Usually the top ten films at any one time - the most popular films - are available to cinemas with an audio description track.



It's a lot simpler for cinemas to programme audio described (AD) shows these days. All digital-equipped cinemas have ‘access’ facilities built-in. AD can be turned on or off, like a DVD player or Sky box, for scheduled performances (as long as the film has an audio description track available). A narrated soundtrack is broadcast to wireless headphones, to enable people with sight loss to enjoy cinema.

In the UK, almost every multiplex cinema, and many smaller cinemas, regularly screen the latest popular releases with audio description - hundreds of thousands of shows weekly. UK film distributors ensure that most popular films are available to cinemas with audio description tracks. At any one time 9 or 10 of the weekly top ten have AD tracks. Over the last decade thousands of films have been made available, including almost all of the top ten films of each year. Some film distributors, including Disney and Warner Bros, ensure that ALL of their films are accessible to people with hearing or sight loss. Annually, around 85% of wide-release films (the most popular box office films) are released with subtitle and audio description tracks.

Please remind cinemas to include any accessible shows in their regular listings and mailing lists, and let the service know of future accessible shows - we can help publicise them, to help cinemas nationwide build regular, appreciative audiences for accessible shows.

The website makes it easier for people with hearing loss to find audio described shows in their locality.





For the UK film industry, a commitment to diversity and inclusion is not just a social and legal responsibility. It aims to ensure that cinema is accessible to all, regardless of age or ability, by understanding and catering for audiences with disabilities and their diverse technological needs.

People expect shops, restaurants, car parks, cinemas etc. to be accessible to disabled people. Ramps, wheelchair spaces, toilets, loop systems and elevators enable people who need a little assistance to enjoy services. Films are expected to be accessible too.

People with hearing or sight loss are used to having subtitles and audio description on other film platforms - TV, DVD, Blu-Ray, online Netflix, iPlayer etc. In some countries, including North America and Australia, laws have been passed making it mandatory for cinemas to be equipped with 'personal' subtitle/audio description facilities to enable people with hearing or sight loss to enjoy films. It's likely that other countries will follow suit.



Audio description solutions are now available that can receive an audio description (AD) track via a standard headphone socket, so people with sight loss can use their own, familiar, regular headphones to experience the isolated narration track. (Rather than the current choice of cinema-supplied, over-the-ear phones, which can block out the ‘regular’ film soundtrack that’s delivered via a cinemas surround speakers).

These 'access' features are invisible to the rest of the audience. Only the wearer/user hears the narration. In theory, any 'regular' show can also be an audio described show, making all shows inclusive. These solutions are currently being installed in hundreds of cinemas in North America and Australia.

‘Personal' cinema access solutions for subtitles and audio description can enable UK cinemas to offer 100% access to people with hearing or sight loss. But only if film distributors provide 100% accessible content…

UK film distributors ensure that most POPULAR films are available to cinemas with audio description tracks. At any one time 9 or 10 of the weekly top ten have AD tracks. The largest distributors ensure that 100% of their films are accessible. Last year more than 150 films were shown in UK cinemas with audio description. But overall, only around 75% of wide-release titles (the most popular box office titles) are provided to cinemas with AD tracks annually.

Ideally, people with hearing or sight loss would be offered the same choice of cinema releases as everyone else. The only way to totally eliminate exhibitor & distributor scheduling woes, and placate public anger, is to ensure that all cinemas AND films are accessible. Ubiquitous access.



Accessible shows benefit not just our ageing society, but people of all ages with hearing or sight loss. Every day another 100 people start to lose their sight (RNIB). Overall it is estimated that almost ten million people in the UK have some level of hearing loss, and about two million have significant sight loss. With ageing, loss of some hearing or sight is inevitable. Access to film via captions/subtitles and audio description is something that we may all appreciate eventually.

Subtitles/captions and audio description enable people with hearing or sight loss to enjoy, rather than endure the cinema experience. Subtitles/captions are displayed along the bottom of the screen and include the spoken text as well as descriptions of sounds such as 'door creaks', 'footsteps approaching', or 'gunshot'. Audio description is a recorded narration, delivered through wireless headphones, which explains, during gaps in the dialogue, what is happening on screen. For many, cinema is not the out of bounds social activity of the past, but is now a very accessible, welcoming, exciting, day or night out with family or friends.

"SEE the dialogue! HEAR the action! It's the accessible cinema experience!"



Accessible cinema provides social benefits such as equality, inclusion and community integration. It has made a huge difference to the lives of cinema-goers with hearing or sight loss. The positive feedback received from those helped provides the motivation to continue our work. Here's some feedback from people who have discovered - or rediscovered - the joys of cinema-going, thanks to audio description - judge for yourself what a difference it makes:

"Last night I thoroughly enjoyed a film for the first time in my life. The film was Gravity. I had heard it "looks fantastic", "amazing visuals", 'spectacular", all descriptions that are not very useful to person with severe sight loss. But I'm a space-buff, I just had to catch it on a huge screen. I've seen IMAX space films before I lost my sight, so kind of knew what to expect. For Gravity, all I could see on the cinema screen were black and white blobs and mis-shapes of various sizes. But that's more than I can usually see in a film. The contrast of the white suits of the astronauts floating around the black of space made the film clearer than any I've seen in a long time. But without the audio description explaining what was going on the story, with its many long dialogue-free scenes would have been lost on me. It was absolutely gripping. I was on the edge of my seat! I really felt like I was up there with the characters. It was a wonderful experience"

More feedback here:



The listings website & information service is a multi-award winning, non-profit social enterprise. It is fully supported & sponsored by the cream of the UK film industry. Full list of sponsors here: specialises in accessible cinema and has more than a decade of experience in audience development. With the aid of a very popular website and social media, the service encourages people with hearing or sight loss to attend cinema shows, and assists them in doing so. It only takes one or two clicks for people with hearing or sight loss to find all accessible shows in their locality. Once located, people simply bookmark their local page and check it weekly.

Weekly email/social media reminders inform thousands of people nationwide of accessible screenings and help to spread awareness of accessible cinema far and wide. The website ranks No. 1 on 'Google' for many relevant search terms such as ‘audio described cinema'. provides a valuable service to the UK film industry by gathering and maintaining up-to-date market intelligence on accessible films, screenings and audiences in the UK. It provides information and statistics on technological advancements, distribution, exhibition and audience development, to help the industry better understand the economic and social context of accessible cinema, to aid development of policy and strategy. is proud to work alongside colleagues in film distribution, cinema exhibition, technology companies and groups representing people with hearing or sight loss, to help ensure that the cinema experience can be enjoyed by all. Enabling people less fortunate than ourselves to enjoy cinema can be very fulfilling - knowing that a deaf or blind child can follow the latest superhero or animated adventure on the big screen with their friends makes one feel good.











Cinema schedules can change. can take NO RESPONSIBILITY for postponed or cancelled shows. Please check with the ACTUAL cinema or cinemas website before you plan a visit. We recommend that you should always request confirmation that a show is definitely on.

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