Over the past couple months I have been hearing rumors that Regal and Cinemark theaters will be offering captions and access to ‘every movie, every time’ nationwide. Could it be true? Meanwhile, Captionfish suddenly has strange new abbreviations like USL next to its listings. This week, the Seattle area is showing 97 CAPTIONED movies at 19 theaters!! ( NO WAY!!) What’s going on??
Last Saturday night I decided to check it out. After dinner and drinks I suggested to my husband that we hit a movie.
“Nothing will be captioned at this late hour,” he said.
“Let’s just check. I heard they’re captioning everything.”
“Are you kidding? No way.”
There was a theater three blocks away so we swung by to ask. Imagine our surprise when the ticket chick produced two cool pairs of captioning glasses. They looked a lot like these 3-D glasses, only they were black and had a small black box attached with a cord that you wear around your neck.
They came with three controlls on the side to adjust font size, distance, and language. LANGUAGE?? Yes. They’ll be great for people who are learning another language, as well as deaf people whose first language is not English.
As someone who wears graduated trifocals, I was concerned that the glasses might not fit around my frames. OR maybe the words would be too blurry with my sight issues since my reading field is so narrow. Not a problem. Because of the flexibility with font size and distance, I could see the words just fine. I did have to fiddle with the placement of the glasses on my nose a bit to get it just right, but I could see great.
What I loved most about the glasses was that I could move the words anywhere on the screen. This meant the words were never in the way of anything I needed to see. Also, I could move the words under the screen. Frankly I thought that part was awesome. I have often wondered why they don’t put the words under the screen with open captioned and subtitled movies. One of the biggest problems I have had with open captioned movies is when both the words and background are light, they are hard to read. The words in the glasses were lit up similarly to rear-window type captioning, and they were red. They never blended in with anything. So, the words were always visible and clear and never covered any part of the screen. Also, because I wasn’t looking through a panel, as you do when using rear-window captioning, I could move my head around freely without losing the captions. I really liked it. A LOT!
Best of all, we were able to see a first run movie on a Saturday night! This theater has been offering open captioned showings on Saturday mornings or at 10pm on week nights, and other inconvenient times for years. I loved that I could just show up for a first-run movie and it would be captioned, and if that one was sold out, I could choose another, and that one would be captioned too! Gosh, we almost felt like, (dare I say it?) normal folks.
Now that’s what I call equal access!
The other new type of captioning option under the USL listing is Captiview. I haven’t tried it, but the picture below is what it looks like. Seems similar to Rear-window, but maybe improved. I’ve never been crazy about rear-window captions because of my sight issues and the way you need to sit in one spot after adjusting the arm. But hey, if it means they will offer captions every time, I could live with this I think. Word has it that all Regal and Cinemark theaters will be captioning every movie, every time nationwide by the end of 2012. Whether your local theater installs rear-window technology, Captiview, the new captioning glasses, or sticks with open captioned movies, this is big news! See here for more details. Oh– and pass the popcorn!