November 5, 2010
Press "5" to Hear More of Toy Story 3
WGBH Brings Toy Story 3 Accessible DVD to Blind Audiences
WGBH is proud to announce that Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story 3 is now accessible as an at-home experience for blind audiences and/or people who have low vision. Both the Blu-ray ™ and DVD versions of the film include the video description track WGBH's Media Access Group created for the original theatrical release, along with a special remote control short cut to select the alternate track.
Video description provides narration of key visual elements--characters' appearance, settings, costumes and scene changes--during natural pauses in dialogue making films come alive for kids and adults with vision loss. Description fans normally need to wade through layers of on-screen menus to get to the disc set-up menu, where English Audio Description or DVS® can be chosen. While description is much loved, the hurdles on-screen menus present to blind or visually impaired users are challenging, often requiring navigation assistance from a friend or family member. Pressing "5" or "5" + "Enter" on a Blu-ray/DVD player's remote control for this disc speeds users directly to the described version of the Disney•Pixar's Night & Day short, and then right into the described version of Toy Story 3.
Carrie Francis, an enthusiastic description fan, sums up the appreciation of blind and visually impaired movie fans when she says,
"I was never more happy, relieved or grateful to WGBH when I read about the 'easy-to-use' short cut which will be included on Disney•Pixar’s Toy Story 3. I have purchased other movies on DVD with DVS, and, while I have enjoyed each of these movies immensely, it has been frustrating for me to access the DVS track through the on-screen menus. I look forward to watching this movie totally independently. I know setting up this short cut was not easy."
This chapter of Toy Story opens as Andy gets ready to leave for college. Woody, Buzz, Jessie and the rest of the gang wonder if this is the end of the line. When a mix up lands them in the Sunnyside Day Care Center, they meet 14 new toys and soon discover that a wild adventure is just beginning. Here's a sample of the video description from the scene where the familiar toys meet the new toys at Sunnyside:
Slinky, Hamm and Barbie shake hands with an octopus; Rex meets dinosaurs; and a brawny insect-man helps Missus Potato Head. [film dialogue: "OH, MAY I?"] She feels his bicep. The aliens spot a crane with a claw on it. ["THE CLAW!"] A plush, pink bear with friendly eyebrows and a round belly rides up in a toy dump truck. He uses a little mallet like a cane.
While this section of description paints a picture of what's happening on the screen, it also illustrates what WGBH's talented description team is careful not to do— introduce character names before they've actually been revealed in the movie's main dialogue. The goal of WGBH's describers, editors and narration talent is to provide a seamless experience for the viewer.
Disney•Pixar’s Cars Toon: Mater' Tall Tales, a collection of animated episodes based on characters from the movie Cars, is now also available on Blu-ray and DVD with an optional DVS track. These discs also feature the short cut straight to the described version.
Toy Story 3 and Cars Toon: Mater's Tall Tales join a growing list of mainstream Blu-ray and DVD Discs with optional DVS tracks from studios such as The Walt Disney Studios, Sony Pictures, Universal, Twentieth Century Fox Films and Paramount. Since 1997, WGBH has captioned and described over 800 movies for theatrical release via our Motion Picture Access, or MoPix effort, and we always encourage studios to migrate the captioning and description to the home version of movies (on disc or online).
A recently enacted law will soon require approximately four hours per week of description on the major commercial broadcast and basic cable networks. The Media Access Group already provides description services for PBS, CBS and Fox, who all describe a select number of programs voluntarily. More than 180 PBS programs are available on DVD with description. The Media Access Group maintains a full list of accessible DVDs at www.describedmovies.org. Each includes a click-through-to-purchase link to amazon.com.
About the Media Access Group at WGBHThe Media Access Group at WGBH, which includes a Services division and a research and development division--the Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media--has pioneered and delivered captioned and described media for nearly four decades to people in their homes, classrooms, at work and in the community. And the Media Access Group continues to develop new solutions to access challenges as technology, and the way we all consume media, evolve. Members of the group's collective staff represent the leading experts in their fields and their success is exemplified by a history of accomplishments and continuous growth, the integration of innovative products and services into society at large, and the enthusiastic support of the audiences served, including 35 million people who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind or have low vision. More information about the Media Access Group at WGBH can be found at: http://access.wgbh.org.
Contact: Mary Watkins