Captioned movies for people with hearing loss

Captioned movies for people with hearing loss

Movies without captions are generally inaccessible to people with hearing loss.

It is incomprehensible to me that our society can allow a portion of our population as large as the hearing loss segment to be denied access to something as commonplace as movies. Yet, that has been the reality for too many of us for too long. That appears to be changing, and it looks like movie access for people with hearing loss will continue to increase.

November 1999 – Tripod (the captioning folks) report that some theaters are now dedicating one screen to continuous captioned movies. Read their November, 1999 response to our query about theaters that offercontinuous captioning.

February 2000 – A group of deaf people in Oregon filed a lawsuit against theater owners to require a captioning system called Rear Window Captioning in all movie theaters. While this sounds like a wonderful action that would cause universal acclaim within the hearing loss community, it actually created quite a brouhaha. Find out why in theOregon Lawsuit story. You’ll also want to read this story, in which Dot Johnson, one of the plaintiffs in the Oregon Lawsuit, provides herthoughts on the lawsuit.

April 2000 – A second captioning lawsuit is filed in Washington DC.

May 2000 – The National Association of the Deaf (NAD) states its position on the two captioning lawsuits and on the response provided by the National Association of Theater Owners.

April 2000 – Digital movies are coming!! What’s the scoop oncaptioning for digital movies?

August 2000 – An innovative idea called BeamTitling may be the movie captioning system that everyone can agree on.

January 2001 – Would you pay $10 to watch a movie with the sound turned off? Approximately 28 million Americans with hearing loss must do exactly that. In an effort to draw attention to the accessibility needs of people who are deaf, hard of hearing or late-deafened, the Coalition for Movie Captioning (CMC) has released a strongly worded policy statement asserting the rights of people with hearing loss “to attend any showing of any movie in any theater at any time.” We’ve also included a couple of interesting reader responses in this article.

May 2001 – Tripod Captioned Movies Available in Australia

September 2001 – Britain Tests DTS-CSS Captioning System

February 2002 – AMC Adds Captioned Films to Website

May 2002 – A movie theater that had been showing captioned movies for years stopped doing so. Here are several interesting opinions about why they did so and what people think about it.

May 2002 – CMC Documents Lack of Captioned Movies

October 2002 – For a short review of Rear Window captioning and a list of cities that have Rear Window – equipped theaters, check out the Rear Window Captioning Update.

December 2002 – Here’s an article about a great idea to help ensure continued access to captioned movies – Tax Incentives for Captioned Movies?

February 2003 – The Coalition for Movie Captioning just released a report on captioned movie status for 2002. Here’s the press release.

February 2003 – What’s the status of captioned movies in the US? Well, it’s really pretty dismal. Here’s the CMC’s report for 2002.

January 2004 – You may have heard about a lawsuit regarding the lack of captioned movies in the Washington DC area. It looks like the two sides are willing to settle, and I bet the terms of the proposed settlement will surprise you!

May 2004 – The US District Court has approved the terms of the settlement of the Washington DC area lawsuit regarding captioned movies. Here’s an update!

October 2004 – What a great idea! An open-captioned film festival!Sponsored by InSight Cinema and Krikorian Premiere Theatres, the event lasts all weekend at two southern California theaters.

October 2004 – Yup, there’s nothing like a good captioned movie at the drive-in. . . . .  At the drive-in, you say? ? ? ?    Yup! ! !

January 2005 – Captioning may be the preferred method of communications access at movies. But don’t forget that ALDs can be helpful, as well. Here’s Steve Barber with lots of great information on how everyone can help use this neglected resource.

March 2005 – If you were trying to establish movie captioning policy for New Jersey, one of the first things you’d do is include inputs from the hearing loss community. Right? Seems the NJ Attorney General is opposed to that idea!

April 2005 – Apparently satisfied with the proposed resolution, the Coalition for Movie Captioning (CMC) has withdrawn its request to intervene in the NJ movie captioning lawsuit.

August 2005 – Wonder why we’re seeing more captioned movies lately? Want to know what you can do to get more in your area? Cheryl Heppner’s wonderful article on the SHHH Convention Panel on Movie Captioning is likely just what you’re looking for!

March 2006 – Here’s the latest on the New Jersey discrimination complaint against Regal Theaters.

July 2006 – Closed Captioning for Movie Theaters

September 2006 – WGBH’s MoPix(r) system wins daVinci Award

October 2006 – Department of Education and NAD Renew Captioned Movie Program

December 2006 – AMC chain is sued in bias case

March 2007 – Movies – Any Time, Anywhere, Any Seat

September 2007 – I-Caption device aids hearing-impaired patrons at Adler Planetarium

December 2007 – Woman raises money for movie captioning

February 2008 – All Movies Need Captions

May 2008 – Insight Cinema Shuts Down

January 2009 – NAD Files Brief in Movie Captioning Case

January 2009 – Rear Window Captioning Makes Digital Cinema Debut

February 2009 – Movie theaters face suit over lack of captioned films

February 2009 – Wash-CAP Captioning Initiative Gains Momentum

March 2009 – Rear Window Captioning Success Story in Ottawa

May 2009 – DeafCode Launches Captionfish.com, a Captioned Film & Movies Search Engine

November 2009 – I went out to the movies!

December 2009 – Enabling the Disabled in Digital Cinema

January 2010 – Movie Captioning Case Reaches Appeals Court

January 2010 – Smooth Sailing for Movie Captioning Appeals Case?

January 2010 – Nanci Linke-Ellis on Captioning

February 2010 – Arizona Theaters Cry ‘Uncle’ – But That May Not Be Good News

March 2010 – Stage Set for Washington Captioned-Movie Showdown

March 2010 – Doremi Cinema Introduces New Closed Caption System for Movies

April 2010 – Movie Captioning Lawsuits Update

May 2010 – Court Rules ADA Requires Closed-Captioned Movies

May 2010 – Washington Court Says Theaters Must Make Movies Understandable

July 2010 – Hearing Better at the Movies

July 2010 – Theater Chains Agree to Increase Accessibility for Hearing and Visually Impaired

September 2010 – Small local movie theater to institute captioning

October 2010 – Movie Captioning App for iPhone and Droid in the Works

October 2010 – Captioning for Digital Cinema Systems

October 2010 – Captioning Solutions for Handheld Media and Mobile Devices

December 2010 – ALDA, Inc. files lawsuit against Cinemark USA Inc.

December 2010 – More great coverage of the California captioning case

December 2010 – Notify DOJ to Support Movie Captioning

December 2010 – Movie Captioning Action Comes to California

January 2011 – Cinemark creates nation’s first fully accessible theater complexes

January 2011 – Feds consider movie-captioning rule

February 2011 – Regal pledges full nationwide movie captioning

April 2011 – Regal Makes Seattle America’s Most Accessible Movie City

April 2011 – Cinemark to Provide Captioning in all First-Run Theaters

May 2011 – Regal, Cinemark commit to full captioning

May 2011 – More information on proposed movie captioning systems

July 2011 – Washington theaters must show captioned movies, judge rules

August 2011 – Harkins Theatres To Make All Theaters Accessible

September 2011 – Sony developing ‘subtitle glasses’ for cinema use

October 2011 – Harkins to equip cinemas for deaf, blind to settle Arizona suit

November 2011 – National organization recognizes value of access work

More on this and related topics

 

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Tripod Captioned Movies Available in Australia

May 2001

The National Working Party on Captioning in Australia has announced that open captioned films from Tripod will soon be available in Australia. This action greatly increases movie access for Australia’s 1.7 million people with hearing loss, who have had extremely limited movie access.

Australia’s three major film distributors are committed to showing the captioned films as near to their release dates as possible. The films will initially be screened in Australia’s major cities, including Sydney, Melbourne, Adelaide, Brisbane and Perth. Availability will eventually be expanded to smaller markets. Up to 50 films each year are available from Tripod.

The availability of open captioned films is the result of a complaint by Dr John Byrne of the Deafness Council of Western Australia. In response the Human Rights and Equal Opportunities Commission convened a forum that included representatives of deaf organizations, captioning organizations, and film distributors. After exploring various captioning options, the forum decided on open captions (as opposed to closed captions) because that technology requires no modifications to existing theater equipment.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Britain Tests DTS-CSS Captioning System

September 2001

Editor: Last year we reported on a new captioning system from Digital Theater Systems (DTS). Called the Cinema Subtitling System (CSS), it projects captions directly onto the screen instead of etching them onto the film. It is thus a closed captioning system that allows the film to be displayed with or without captions, as opposed to an open captioning system, in which the captions are a permanent part of the film, and cannot be removed. Also, because the captions are entirely separate from the film, captions in multiple languages can be provided, with the movie theater selecting the language to be displayed. The system also provides for audio description for people with vision loss.

Here are portions of the press release.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The UK cinema industry has decided to trial a digital subtitle system – the DTS-CSS Cinema Subtitling System (prototype). The trials are scheduled to take place this summer in cinemas around the country.

The system planned for the UK is a combination disc player and projector that projects the subtitles/captions onto the screen, and broadcasts audio description through headphones.

Separate CD-ROM discs with subtitles/caption and audio description information still need to be produced and supplied to cinemas with the film. Although most major US releases nowadays include this information, the digital system currently in use there (Rear Window) is not the same format as the one planned for the UK

But even though the ‘systems’ are different, they both use the same innovative DTS technology. The DTS-CSS projects bitmap files, unlike the Rear Window, but these files can easily be reformatted to suit different systems.

Film studios are beginning to produce subtitles/captions and audio description at an early stage in the film making process, as these same files can be used at a later date for video, DVD and TV formats.

Whilst digital technology trials are taking place in the UK, screenings of ‘open’ captioned films, like the recent Hannibal film, will be continued. More films, and more copies of them are expected.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AMC Adds Captioned Films to Website

February 2002

Editor: Those of you who live near an AMC theater that shows captioned films can now access the film schedule on the AMC Theater website. Here are portions of the Tripod Captioned Film’s press release with complete instructions on how to get the information.

Oh yeah, and something about free popcorn!

Contact information for AMC Theaters and Tripod Captioned Films, including their website information, is available in the AMC Listing and Tripod Listing in our Resource Directory.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AMC Theaters has added Tripod Captioned Films to their website. Now you obtain show times a full 7 days in advance for the open captioned
showing of a popular film in your area at an AMC Theatre.

There are several ways to access the site:

1) Go directly to the AMC site: http://www.amctheatres.com

2) Go to the Tripod Captioned Films site; find the film you wish to see: http://www.tripod.org. After you find the film go back to the Captioned Films home page and go to theatre links. Click on “Links to theatres” and then find AMC Theatres.weblink.

Once you get to the AMC site, choose the area in which you live in (i.e. Los Angeles) Now choose the specific theatre where the Tripod Captioned Films is playing (i.e. Burbank Media Center 8). Then click the film title you know is booked at the theatre and then the day. The open captioned Showtime will be designated by an asterisk (*).

Remember, the times will only be listed for the 7 days in advance and they will be updated each day.

We know that this added benefit will be of tremendous help to all of our TCF patrons. Our sincerest “Thanks!!” to AMC for their continued support of Tripod Captioned Films!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Movie Captioning Lawsuit Settlement

January 2004

You may be aware of a class action lawsuit regarding captioning in the Washington, DC area. The suit was initiated by deaf and hard of hearing people against two large movie theater chains. A proposed settlement has just been reached, and it will, if approved, greatly increase the availability of captioning in the Washington, DC area. While the theater chains admitted no wrongdoing, they did agree to add Rear Window captioning capabilities to several theaters and to pay plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees.

This result will hopefully encourage theaters throughout the country to provide more captioned movies.

Here’s a brief summary of the Notice of Proposed Settlement. For a more comprehensive summary, please point your browser to http://www.lawyers.com/simeoneandmiller/MovieTheaterSettlement.jsp

The plaintiffs claim that the two movie theater chains, AMC Entertainment, Inc. (“AMC”) and Loews Cineplex Entertainment Corporation (“Loews”), are violating the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to make movies accessible to people with hearing loss.

The settlement calls for each chain to add Rear Window Captioning (RWC) capabilities to one screen in each of six theaters in the Metro Washington, DC area within 2 years after the court approves the settlement agreement, and to install RWC capabilities for one screen in any newly built theaters. The settlement also requires AMC and Loews to advertise the RWC movies in both newspapers and movie websites. Finally, the settlement calls for AMC and Loews to pay $260,000 for Plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees and expenses.

The court will provide an opportunity for people to comment on the proposed settlement and will conduct a Fairness Hearing to determine if the proposed settlement is fair and reasonable. The Fairness Hearing is scheduled for April 1st, and written statements from those who oppose part of all of the proposed settlement are due by March 12. Following the Fairness Hearing, the court will decide whether or not to approve the proposed settlement.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

AMC chain is sued in bias case

December 2006

Impaired not accommodated, Arizona says

Arizona is suing one of the nation’s largest theater chains, accusing it of discrimination against those with visual and audio impairments. In a lawsuit filed in Maricopa County Superior Court, the state Attorney General’s Office charges that AMC Entertainment Inc. is violating laws that require places of public accommodation to ensure that people with disabilities are not excluded. The lawsuit says AMC does not offer a sufficient number of movie screens that provide captioning for the deaf and descriptive audio services for the blind. Full Story

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I-Caption device aids hearing-impaired patrons at Adler Planetarium

September 2007

Thanks to a new device developed specifically for the Adler Planetarium, hearing-impaired patrons now can enjoy theater programs at the museum. The PDA-type device allows for simultaneous closed captioning and film viewing, theater manager Mark Webb said. “We needed a system that we could update ourselves and that could handle multiple programs,” Webb said. “This system has been used before, but this is the first time it’s being used in a situation where there is more than one show at a time,” he said. The three shows now at the planetarium are Egyptian Nights: Secrets of the Sky Gods, Black Holes: The Other Side of Infinity and TimeSpace. Adler staffers create captions for the films and time them so they are synchronized with the soundtrack. “It sounds more difficult than it is,” Webb said.  Full Story

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Woman raises money for movie captioning

December 2007

I don’t know what it was about this article, but it really set me off. It’s a pretty upbeat story of a woman who wanted to have access to movies, so she set out to raise $12,500 to donate to a movie theater so they could install Rear Window Captioning. The vast majority of movie theaters do NOT provide any access for people with hearing loss. But I guess it took the actions of this woman to make me realize just how wrong this whole situation is.  Full Story

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

All Movies Need Captions

February 2008

Every time I see a commercial for “Juno” on TV I’m reminded that I need to wait about six more months until I see it. I was born profoundly deaf, so if I see a movie in the theater, it’s exactly like watching a TV program on mute. Usually I wait it out and buy the film on DVD and enjoy the captioning or subtitled feature. Current laws require all DVDs and TV shows of a national scale to be captioned as part of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Because of this law, physically handicapped people have wheelchair access to all movie theaters and have designated parking spots in lots that exceed a certain size. Unfortunately, making the movies in theaters accessible to the deaf and hard-of-hearing community is not as simple as providing handicapped access.  Full Story

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Movie theaters face suit over lack of captioned films

February 2009

For most cinema buffs, silent movies went out with the Coolidge administration eight decades ago. But for film fans who are hard of hearing, today’s theaters offer little beyond an indecipherable silence. Captioned showings remain rare, and existing technology that would allow attendees to read along at their seats is rarely used. Now, a small group of Washington residents hopes to change that through a lawsuit filed earlier this month in King County Superior Court. As others have around the nation, the lawsuit’s proponents claim that most King County theaters are violating disability laws by failing to make the movies accessible to people with limited hearing.  Full Story

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Wash-CAP Captioning Initiative Gains Momentum

February 2009

We’ve been following the activities of Wash-CAP for some time now, and it looks like they’re really starting to make things happen. For those who don’t know the group, they are working to ensure that captioning is provided in a variety of venues in Washington State.

Wash-CAP founder John Waldo recently commented on the Arizona movie captioning case, in which the decision was that movie theaters are not required to provide captioning. Wash-CAP filed a friend-of-the-court brief urging the Appeal s Court to reverse. Read John’s comments on the significance of the brief filed by the US Department of Justice at http://tinyurl.com/ce32b2.

The other interesting Wash-CAP news concerns the suit they have filed to force selected theaters in the Seattle area to provide captioned movies. The Seattle “Post-Intelligence” newspaper just published an article about the lawsuit at http://seattlepi.nwsource.com/local/400352_movies17.html – be sure to click on the “SoundOff” link at the bottom of the article to read people’s response to the article. I think you’ll be amazed! I was.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Rear Window Captioning Success Story in Ottawa

March 2009

On Saturday, Scott Simser bought a ticket to see the matinee showing of I Love You, Man, at the Kanata AMC theatre.  He settled into the third row from the main aisle in cinema five, and adjusted the rearview mirror-type device in the seat’s cupholder. A teleprompter on the back wall of the cinema was reflected in the contraption, showing the captions for the movie without obscuring Simser’s view of the screen. Simser is deaf, and the technology, called Rear Window Captioning (RWC), is the only way he can enjoy movies on the big screen. Before he went to the AMC on March 21, it had been nine years since he was in a theatre. When he was living in Toronto, he watched a James Bond film at a Famous Players.  “I wrote a letter to Famous Players, asking for captioning, but nothing happened within six months,” he said, “and so I started a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Commission in September of 2000.” Two other deaf people joined Simser in his campaign, and they added a few more Hollywood film companies to the grievance. Two years ago, a settlement was reached.  Full Story

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I went out to the movies!

November 2009

Who wants to pay a small fortune to sit in a movie theater snacking on high-calorie popcorn, unable to pause the action for a bathroom break, watching a film that’s going to come out on DVD in several months anyway? I do! Because I’m deaf, I couldn’t enjoy most movies in theaters until recently. Now I can, thanks to AMC Loews Waterfront, which has introduced to the Pittsburgh area something called Rear Window Captioning. As much as I love movies, it’s painful to sit through one without understanding everything. It’s no fun if everyone is laughing and I missed the joke. Waiting for movies to come out on DVD sometimes feels like an eternity. Many movies have special effects that are better seen on a big screen. And when my girlfriends talk about going to see a movie together, I feel left out when I can’t join them.  Full Story

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Stage Set for Washington Captioned-Movie Showdown

March 2010

The lawyers have written their legal briefs, and we hope that by the end of next month, we’ll know whether a Washington court agrees with us that our state Law against Discrimination requires movie theaters to show captioned films. Oral argument is scheduled for Friday, April 16, on cross-motions filed by Wash-CAP and by the five corporate entities that operate movie multiplexes in the Seattle area. Our motion is for partial summary judgment. We want the court to declare that under Washington state law, movie theaters are required to do whatever is “reasonably possible in the circumstances” to show captioned films that are understandable and therefore accessible to people with hearing loss of such a magnitude that the volume-enhancing Assistive Listening Devices offered by the theaters are insufficient. Should the court issue such a ruling, we would then undertake discovery into the economic aspects of movie exhibition and determine how much captioning each of the theater defendants can due before the cost becomes an undue burden.  Full Story

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Doremi Cinema Introduces New Closed Caption System for Movies

March 2010

Doremi Cinema is introducing the new CaptiView Closed Caption Viewing System for hearing-impaired movie audiences. The CaptiView system transmits and receives AES-128 encrypted closed captions on a wireless band frequency. With an 80-meter signal range, CaptiView can be used from any seat in the house (unlike existing “mirror-image” systems that limit seat selection). The CaptiView system consists of a small, OLED display on a bendable support arm that fits into the theatre seat cupholder. The easy-to-read screen is equipped with a rechargable Lithium Ion battery that lasts up to 16 hours per charge. The high-contrast display comes with a privacy visor so it can be positioned directly in front of the movie patron with minimal impact or distraction to neighboring patrons. CaptiView is economically priced to allow the cinema owner to outfit 100% of the multiplex. It runs on the existing Doremi digital cinema server, so no additional hardware is required. It supports SMPTE and Cinecanvas packages, and can support up to four languages simultaneously. Learn more at booth 1921.  More . .

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Small local movie theater to institute captioning

September 2010

Bainbridge Cinemas, a locally owned five-screen complex on Bainbridge Island, Washington, has agreed with the Washington State Communication Access Project (Wash-CAP) to begin showing closed-captioned films on a regular basis this fall. Bainbridge Cinemas will equip one of its five auditoriums to show captioned films using the Rear Windows Captioning system. Once Bainbridge Cinemas installs the necessary equipment, it will rotate its films through that auditorium, so that patrons will be able to see two captioned films per week. This rotation plan should mean that most if not all of the movies that Bainbridge Cinemas shows and for which captions are available will actually be shown in captioned form during the first two or three weeks of a film’s release. All showings will be captioned.  Full Story

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Movie Captioning App for iPhone and Droid in the Works

October 2010

I’m all for anything that makes it easier for people with hearing loss to understand movies, and captioning has made that possible. I support both open captioned movies (captions are part of the film and typically display at the bottom of the screen) and movies using the Rear Window system (captions appear on a plexiglass device that the viewer can position under the screen). I’ve never tried a handheld device, but I’ve heard from people who have that constantly having to refocus from the distant movie to the close device quickly causes eyestrain. I imagine it may be more of an issue for us older folks than for those who are younger. Be that as it may, a company is developing a captioning application for the iPhone and Droid that has the potential to make captioning available at a greater number of movies. More information

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Captioning for Digital Cinema Systems

October 2010

A subcommittee of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers/SMPTE has worked for many years now to develop a standard for the inclusion of subtitling/captioning data in digital cinema packages (DCP), as well as inclusion of description as an audio track in the DCP. The Media Access Group at WGBH has participated from the beginning in this committee work. WGBH’s work on this effort was funded by the U.S. Department of Education from September of 2003 to August 2006. WGBH continues to work on ensuring access to digital cinema, and will do so until the nation’s transition to digital cinema is complete. In October of 2009, the standard was finalized for open and closed caption, and open and closed subtitle data in the DCP (how to insert it into the DCP and how it will play out with external devices.) In April, 2010, a movie industry standard for how to recognize and play out captioning files from DCPs across various brands of digital cinema servers was finalized, and a demonstration of beginning support for the standard took place. While there is still some work to be done before all the manufacturers support the new standards, support has been rolling out and should be completed by April 2011. Full Story

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

More great coverage of the California captioning case

December 2010

A column in this morning’s San Jose (Cal.) Mercury News takes another sympathetic look at the lawsuit filed last week in Oakland by the Association of Late Deafened Adults (ALDA) and two individuals against Cinermark theaters.

Author Patty Fisher recounts the frustration people with hearing loss face when trying to go to the movies. Her conclusion: with 36 million Americans having some degree of hearing loss, and that number climbing rapidly, the theaters ought to be doing whatever is required to get people away from their DVD viewers and into the theaters.

Her conclusion mirrors mine. The movie theaters are doing everything possible to create an experience that can’t be duplicated at home — witness the push for 3D movies. Yet they ignore the needs of those of us who are at home with our captioned DVDs by necessity rather than by choice.   Full Story

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Feds consider movie-captioning rule

January 2011

As previously reported, the federal Department of Justice is considering adopting a regulation that would require movie theaters to show half of their movies with closed captions. Because Congress gave the DOJ the authority to adopt regulations interpreting the portion of the Americans with Disabilities Act that applies to movie theaters, a DOJ regulation would become the law of the land, and for that reason, getting it right is really important.

We were pleased to see DOJ finally getting involved with the critical issue of movie captioning. That said, though, we don’t think the proposal for 50% access phased in over five years got it even close to right. In our opinion, there is simply no reason why the major corporate theater owners cannot equip every one of their theaters to show captions for all movies that have had captions prepared. We also think the five-year phase-in is unnecessary, since the major theater chains intend to fully convert to digital projection in far less time, and can easily equip their theaters to show captioned movies at the time they convert to digital. Full Story

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

More information on proposed movie captioning systems

May 2011

We’re thrilled to learn that two of the three largest movie theater chains in the US have committed to providing captioning in all their theaters. We’re not so sure about the captioning equipment choices they’ve made.  Here are the systems being considered.

The CCS by USL, Inc. being tested by Regal

The CaptiView system by Doremi Cinemas, LLC, selected by Cinemark

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Sony developing ‘subtitle glasses’ for cinema use

September 2011

Sony is hard at work building a special pair of glasses for cinema-goers that will display subtitles to the wearer without the words having to appear on the screen. For hearing-impaired cinephiles, the glasses will enable them to pop down to any screening rather than having to schedule their lives around special subtitled showings. “What we do is put the closed captions or the subtitles onto the screen of the glasses so it’s super-imposed on the cinema screen, so it looks like the actual subtitles are on the cinema screen,” explains Sony Digital Cinema, Tim Potter.   Full Story

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Harkins to equip cinemas for deaf, blind to settle Arizona suit

October 2011

The state’s largest movie chain will outfit virtually off its theaters with equipment designed to help those with hearing and sight problems, including those who are totally deaf or blind. In a consent decree filed late Thursday in U.S. District Court, Michael Bowers, president of Harkins Theaters, agreed to install closed caption and descriptive video systems in half of its 25 theaters it operates in Arizona by this coming June 15. And the balance of its theaters will have the equipment by Jan 15, 2013. Only the aging Harkins Arcadia 8 theater, which the company plans to close, and its IMAX theater in Tempe, where there is not yet compatible equipment, will be exempt.  Full Story