It’s always nice to go out and do things with friends and family, also if you have a visual impairment. Until now, going to the cinema together often wasn’t an option. Cinemas had to buy expensive equipment to make films accessible for blind and partially sighted people. This is why Earcatch was developed in 2015 by Soundfocus and Bartiméus Fund: so that also people with a visual impairment have the opportunity to enjoy films in the cinema and to take part in society as independently as possible. Since then, the application has developed further to include AD solutions for television, VOD and theatre.
Audio description makes films, series and performances accessible to people who are visually impaired. In between dialogues a voice describes what is happening visually. This extra explanation makes it a lot easier to follow the story line. For example, elements that are described are characters, facial expressions, location and developments in the story.
A suitable smartphone or tablet and headphones. If you’re going to the cinema or theatre, make sure your device is sufficiently charged.
Earcatch is suitable for both iOS and Android. The minimum requirements for iOS: iOS 12 and newer. The minimum requirements for Android: Android version 10.0 and newer. We advise to update your operating system for the most optimal app experience.
NB: There are many Android tablets on the market that vary greatly concerning price and quality. Earcatch has not been tested on every one of these and cannot be guaranteed.
To download a new audio description file, you need to connect to the Internet. After that, the audio description will be in your Downloads and can be used offline. This also makes it possible to use Earcatch in the cinema. In the theatre, you need to connect to the Earcatch network.
There are no costs: both the app and the available audio description are free for the end user.
Yes, since Earcatch listens to the film sound you are not dependent on facilities in the cinema. With the Earcatch app you bring your audio description with you.
You can find the up-to-date list of the films, series and performances available in your area in the app.
As soon as you hit Play, a unique digital fingerprint is made of the ambient sound. Within a few seconds Earcatch knows exactly which part of the film or series you are watching and it will start playing the corresponding audio description.
Many cinemas do not have Wi-Fi and sometimes suppress the mobile network, so it is useful to download the audio description of the film you choose beforehand.
Definitely. Earcatch only plays the audio description. You will hear the original film sound in the cinema or via your television at home.
No, you are listening to the audio description through headphones or earphones, so it won’t bother others.
Earcatch needs to access your smartphone or tablet’s microphone to listen to the film or series that you’re watching. If you don’t give permission for this, the audio description won’t be able to play. You can give Earcatch permission to use the microphone when you start running the app.
Earcatch continually checks whether the audio description is synchronised. When it does falter, you can always pause the audio description manually and then resume playing it. When the film or series that you’re watching is paused (e.g. for a commercial break), you will have to pause Earcatch yourself.
It’s important that you’ve chosen the correct film or series. If you’ve chosen the wrong title, Earcatch cannot play the audio description.
Sometimes it takes a while for the app to recognise the sound of the film or series. If Earcatch has difficulty recognising the sound, the following might help: - Make sure your device’s microphone isn’t covered by clothing or a case. - Minimise disturbing background noise. - When using the app at home, make sure your television’s volume is high enough.