Picture this: online audio description

Movies can be a bombastic visual spectacle, so having difficulties with your sight would rather diminish the experience. But imagine if blindness or partial sight wouldn’t be such a hindrance to enjoying visual content. How, you ask? By perfecting the next best thing, we reply! Because sometimes, a word can be worth a thousand pictures.

In 2015, Bartimeus Sonneheerdt and Soundfocus launched the Earcatch, an app offering audio description (AD) for movies and television to the blind and partially sighted. Prior to our efforts, there was no AD content available in the Netherlands. Now, Earcatch has a library of over sixty film titles, three TV shows and much more to come. It is our goal to keep expanding the availability of AD, in more countries and on more platforms. Thus, the next step in our mission is to introduce AD for online video content on platforms like Youtube and Vimeo, similar to the optional subtitles already available.

We have developed an online academy where, through webinars, enthusiastic creators can learn how to professionally and proficiently describe images according to international guidelines, and how to make AD compatible with video platforms. This will guarantee quality AD for online video content, and therefore revolutionise accessibility for the blind and partially sighted. In order to launch and further develop this initiative, we co-operate with organisations worldwide. Ultimately, this will lead to the further inclusion of blind and partially sighted people in the entertainment world.

Eveline Ferwerda

Eveline Ferwerda is a project manager for Bartiméus Sonneheerdt, a Netherlands-based NGO which focuses on furthering social participation and inclusion of people who are blind or partially sighted. With her background in the cinema industry, Eveline strives to incorporate people with various visual limitations into the cinematic experience to the fullest extent possible.

Eveline studied Media Management at the University of the Arts in Utrecht, obtaining a Bachelor of Arts degree, and in 2009 she received her Master’s degree in Management in Media from The Open University in Milton Keynes. Since then, Eveline has participated in numerous cinematic projects for various companies, including the Dutch Exhibitors’ Association, Eye Film Institute, Cinema Digitaal and MACCS International.

Her current work for Bartiméus Sonneheerdt allows her to unite her passion for cinema with her objective of helping people. In addition to this, she is also a board member for the ADLAB Pro Advisory Board, a project funded by the European Union dedicated to the development and implementation of audio description in European society.

Eveline currently resides in The Hague and enjoys travelling in her spare time. Her most recent project is the introduction of an international platform, which offers audio description for online videos found on YouTube and Vimeo.