Actiview - New and Improved + More Movies!
My name is Alex and I'm the developer behind Actiview. We have a new update up on the App Store, with a few bug fixes / feature updates coming this week. For those who don't know, the app provides audio description, amplified audio, closed captions, and more for movies in theaters and, in the near future, the home. The app syncs up with what you're watching and plays back the content automatically.
We have 2 movies coming out this Thanksgiving:
- Disney / Pixar's "Coco"
- Bleecker Street's "The Man Who Invented Christmas"
We're providing audio description, among other services, anywhere the movie is playing! We urge you to come out and try the app. The more users that attend, the more pull we have to get more movies from the Hollywood studios!
The app is free to download and use. We'd love your feedback, ideas and support. Feel free to respond here or message us at firstname.lastname@example.org with anything specific.
I believe Alex's comments should be appended to the accessibility comments in the original entry for this app, and so I will be making that change. However, I wanted to share my preliminary review of the app, and encourage everyone to go out and try it. The only suggestions I would request at this point are a description of the movie along with the running time on the download page for the movie, and slightly better help documentation including describing the lay-out and purpose of all controls on the player screen. It's a great app as is, and 100% accessible.
Take control & enhance your movie experience with Actiview
By Reginald George
Actiview first appeared in the US app store last summer. Several updates later, we have a working app that takes control out of the hands of the theater owners and puts it back where it belongs -- in the hands of the movie goer. It allows you to view current movies in or out of the theater with your iPhone and a set of wired headphones.
I chose to see the movie The Man Who Invented Christmas, an excellent story about Charles Dickens and the inspiration for A Christmas Carol. After leaving my ID at the theater counter, I collected my box and headphones as usual, and also as usual, discovered that they incorrectly programmed the box for hearing impaired amplified audio. After waiting for a correctly programmed box, I sat patiently through the previews, then opened Actiview, chose the movie I had previously downloaded audio for from the list, and using Voiceover, double tapped on the Audio Description and Amplified Audio button. I wanted to make sure that there would not be too much delay on the audio, and that this system would work as well or better than what the theater offered.
Let’s backtrack a little. After downloading and opening Actiview, you’ll create an account. It’s a quick process with just your name, email address, and a password. No proof of disability is required.
This 1 page app has all controls showing, and it’s totally accessible as you would expect. The first two buttons on the screen control how movies are sorted, newest to oldest or alphabetically. An info button provides access to basic help and a place to leave feedback. The two headings on the screen are labeled My Downloads and Available Content. At the bottom is a button to redeem a code, but this is not necessary.
When you open a movie download page, each movie may have up to four services. These include Audio Description, Amplified Audio, both Audio Description and Amplified Audio together, and Closed Captioning. The service you choose downloads a file quite quickly to your phone.
The player window consists of 5 controls. Flicking from left to right they are: the back button, a mute button, a sync adjustment slider which is incredibly helpful, a volume slider, and a resync button in case things get drastically out of sync. The app will also run in the background or with the screen locked.
Syncing with the movie took less than 5 seconds the first time. It uses an acoustic sound print, and sync can take up to 30 seconds if there’s no dialog or music playing when you start the track. When starting the movie, the audio description track was maybe a quarter second behind the one coming out of the theater's box, not enough to notice if you’re only using audio description, however I wanted to hear it with the amplified audio in the headset as well since this is typically not an available choice. When choosing this option the delay is slightly more noticeable, but 9 or 10 flicks up with one finger on the sync adjustment slider allowed me to bring the audio into exact sync with the theater’s speakers.
The Amplified Audio track is mono only.
There are no movie descriptions within the app, so you’ll need to get that information elsewhere.
Actiview won’t allow you to start the movie unless wired headphones are plugged into your iPhone. I was able to make it work with Bluetooth headphones by turning them on after starting the movie with the wired headphones plugged in, then using the sync adjustment slider to move the audio track ahead until it lined up with the sound from the theater’s speakers.
Current movies listed in the app include Just Getting Started, Wonderstruck, Dealt, Coco, Breathe, and The Man Who Invented Christmas. However, not all have Audio Description and they may disappear from the app at any time. To my knowledge, Actiview is only available in the US app store at this time, and only for iDevices.
This app and others like it can provide us with the control of our movie viewing experience that we so richly deserve. No more giving up your identification card and waiting in the lobby for equipment that may not function properly. Your disability need not be disclosed. You simply bring your own technology and enjoy your movie experience like everyone else.
App Store Link: