captioned movies for people with hearing loss
Movies without captions are generally inaccessible to people with hearing loss.
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 captioning for people with hearing loss will continue to
May 2013 - Invisible Captioning is the
Next Big Idea
May 2013 - Regal to Provide Sony Closed
May 2013 - Regal Installing Captioning
Equipment in Thousands of Movie Theaters
November 2012 - Regal Theaters Provides
Sony Movie Captioning System
July 2012 - Sony's Entertainment Access Glasses Provide
May 2012 - A Review of the Sony/Regal Captioning Glasses
April 2012 - Access Glasses put captions right in front
of your eyes
March 2012 - CaptiView installed in All Empire
Theatres in Canada
January 2012 - Landmark, AMC commit to captioned
December 2011 - AMC Announces Digital Movie Captioning
in California and Nationwide
November 2011 - National organization recognizes
value of access work
October 2011 - Harkins to equip cinemas for deaf, blind
to settle Arizona suit
September 2011 - Sony developing 'subtitle glasses' for
August 2011 - Harkins Theatres To Make All
July 2011 - Washington theaters must show
captioned movies, judge rules
May 2011 - Regal, Cinemark commit to full
May 2011 -
More information on proposed movie captioning
April 2011 - Regal Makes Seattle America's
Most Accessible Movie City
April 2011 - Cinemark to Provide Captioning in
all First-Run Theaters
February 2011 - Regal pledges full nationwide
January 2011 - Cinemark creates nation's first
fully accessible theater complexes
January 2011 -
Feds consider movie-captioning rule
December 2010 - ALDA, Inc. files lawsuit against
Cinemark USA Inc.
December 2010 - Notify DOJ to Support Movie
December 2010 - Movie Captioning Action Comes to
October 2010 -
Captioning Solutions for Handheld Media and
July 2010 - Theater Chains Agree to Increase
Accessibility for Hearing and Visually Impaired
May 2010 - Court Rules ADA Requires Closed-Captioned
May 2010 - Washington Court Says Theaters Must Make
April 2010 - Movie Captioning Lawsuits Update
February 2010 - Arizona Theaters Cry 'Uncle' - But That
May Not Be Good News
January 2010 - Movie Captioning Case Reaches Appeals
January 2010 - Smooth Sailing for Movie Captioning
January 2010 - Nanci Linke-Ellis on Captioning
December 2009 - Enabling the Disabled in Digital Cinema
May 2009 - DeafCode Launches Captionfish.com,
a Captioned Film & Movies Search Engine
January 2009 - NAD Files Brief in Movie
January 2009 - Rear Window Captioning Makes
Digital Cinema Debut
May 2008 - Insight Cinema Shuts Down
2007 - Movies - Any Time, Anywhere, Any Seat
October 2006 - Department
of Education and NAD Renew Captioned Movie Program
September 2006 - WGBH's MoPix(r) system wins daVinci
July 2006 - Closed Captioning for Movie Theaters
2006 - Here's the latest on the New Jersey
discrimination complaint against Regal Theaters.
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!
April 2005 - Apparently
satisfied with the proposed resolution, the Coalition for Movie
Captioning (CMC) has withdrawn its request to intervene in the NJ movie
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!
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.
October 2004 - What a great idea!
open-captioned film festival! Sponsored by InSight Cinema and
Krikorian Premiere Theatres, the event lasts all weekend at two southern
October 2004 -
there's nothing like a good captioned movie at the drive-in. . . .
. At the drive-in, you say? ? ? ? Yup! ! !
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
2003 - The Coalition for Movie Captioning just released a report on
captioned movie status for 2002. Here's the press
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.
December 2002 -
Here's an article about a great idea to help ensure continued access to
captioned movies - Tax Incentives for Captioned Movies?
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.
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
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
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.
August 2000 - An
innovative idea called BeamTitling may be the
movie captioning system that everyone can agree on.
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.
- Digital movies are coming!! What's the scoop on captioning
for digital movies?
April 2000 - A second
lawsuit is filed in Washington DC.
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 the
story. You'll also want to read this story, in which Dot Johnson, one of the plaintiffs in the
Oregon Lawsuit, provides her thoughts on
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
offer continuous captioning.
More on this and related topics
There will be a special attraction for deaf people
in theaters nationwide soon. By the end of this month, Regal Cinemas plans
to have distributed closed-captioning glasses to more than 6,000 theaters
across the country. Sony Entertainment Access Glasses are sort of like 3-D
glasses, but for captioning. The captions are projected onto the glasses
and appear to float about 10 feet in front of the user. They also come
with audio tracks that describe the action on the screen for blind people,
or they can boost the audio levels of the movie for those who are hard of
hearing. This is a big moment for the deaf, many of whom haven't been to
the movies in a long time. Captioned screenings are few and far between,
and current personal captioning devices that fit inside a cup holder with
a screen attached are bulky, display the text out of their line of vision
to the screen, and distract the other patrons.
Raymond Smith Jr. has been trying for nearly two
decades to make the movie industry listen to the needs of the deaf and
hard of hearing. This month, the senior executive at Regal Entertainment
Group will come closer to his goal. His company, the nation's largest
theater chain, will have nearly 6,000 theater screens equipped with
closed-captioning glasses that could transform the theatrical experience
for millions of deaf and hard-of-hearing patrons who have shunned going to
the cinema because previous aids were too clunky or embarrassing to use.
The Knoxville, Tenn., chain has invested more than $10 million in the
glasses, which were developed by Sony Electronics Inc. Resembling thick
sunglasses, the device uses holographic technology to project
closed-caption text that appears inside the lenses, synchronized with the
dialogue on the screen.
The movie industry's transformation to digital
technology has created an opportunity to efficiently deliver closed
caption data to movie patrons. This coincides with large demand from
people with hearing difficulties to watch movies more easily and
enjoyably. Sony has therefore developed entertainment access glasses
utilizing its unique holographic technology: the STW-C140GI Entertainment
Access Glasses with Audio and, as part of this solution, the STWA-C101
Data Transmitter. When wearing this stylish and lightweight seethrough
eyewear, users can see closed caption text seemingly superimposed onto
the movie picture that they're watching on screen - it's a natural
subtitlemovie experience. In addition, as the captioning glasses'
receiver box is equipped with an audio assist function, this solution is
useful not only for people with hearing difficulties but also for people
with visual impairments - both can enjoy movies far more than ever
before. With Sony's entertainment access glasses, a broader range of the
movie-going public can now enjoy exciting movie experiences, and
exhibitors can achieve valuable service differentiation while also
increasing customer traffic.
Regal has been busy working on equal access to
movies! I have heard it is their plan to roll closed-captioning for every
showtime of every movie to all of their theaters. My local theaters
already have this functionality, so I decided to test drive it and go see
Avengers. Upon arrival, you will need to stand in line with the rest of
the world, since the ticket kiosks cannot distribute the glasses. I
exchanged my driver license for some fancy Sony glasses. So first things
first. The glasses really work! Captions are clear, and I discovered
halfway through the movie that I could adjust the position of the captions
vertically (I initially needed to wear the glasses way down on my nose to
get them where I wanted them).
Sony is working with American theater chain Regal
Entertainment to introduce a new kind of glasses technology that can
display closed captions for those with hearing problems. The new Access
Glasses can show text in six different languages, which is then placed
directly in the viewer's field of vision so that they don't have to
constantly look at the bottom of the screen. The information is streamed
wirelessly, and the location of the text can be adjusted to make things
more comfortable. The glasses also include features for the blind or
visually impaired, as they can be used alongside headphones to provide
extra audio detail about just what's happening on screen. Regal - the
largest theater chain in the US - started rolling the Access Glasses out
this month, and expects to have them available in "practically all of its
fully digitized theater locations" by early 2013.
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.
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,
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.
CCS by USL, Inc. being tested by Regal
The CaptiView system
by Doremi Cinemas, LLC, selected by Cinemark
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.