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Why is Open Captioning the Best Solution for Movie Theaters?

I am writing a follow up to my article, Fire Alarm to Protest Against a Captioned Movie? – where I mentioned about a 30-something man pulling fire alarm to protest against the open-captioned Avengers at a movie theater in Maryland last year.

Also, there were complaints from hearing Brits complaining last year about The Artist movie because it had no dialogue – as if they did not know what silent movie means? Also, weren’t they even a bit curious to experience what it was like in the early days when there was no sound in silent movies?

Many hearing people do not realize how much they take for granted the ease of attending movie theaters at any time they want without worries about accessibility issues. If they do not mind watching subtitled foreign movies, they should not complain about same language captioned movies – especially that deaf and hard of hearing people did not have access to movies for so many years.

Sheena, a deaf American, shares her experience using Sony’s captioning eyeglasses at a theater which she did not find very comfortable. She says: “We look forward to a day when we can recieve the FULL movie experience that most hearing people take for granted.” She also wonders: “With much reflection, why are we, Deaf people, continuing to adapt? Why aren’t the hearing people adapting? Do not give me “They’re the majority” or “The captions on the screen is bothersome.” excuse. They can get everything on the fly.”

Americans with hearing loss are not the only ones complaining about being forced to use closed-captioned devices instead of enjoying open-captioned movies. There are also many angry and frustrated deaf/hoh Australians who got upset that theaters reduced the number of open captioned movies and complain about CaptiView devices. Gary Kerridge (an Australian) says in his article, CaptiView: a raw deal for deaf cinema goers: “The latest innovation in cinema access for Australians who are deaf or hard of hearing is proving to be more of a nightmare than an access solution.” As a result, there were many deaf/hoh people in Australia protesting against theaters a month ago.

Recently iDeaf News made a video where Sandra Waala the reporter interviewed Roger Claussen about the issue of theaters reducing the number of open captioned movies and increasing the number of closed captioned devices (CaptiView, Rearview, Sony’s captioned eyeglasses). Roger stated that over 98% of deaf/hoh people prefer OPEN captions when watching movies at theaters.

Open captions also apply to all plays in theaters. Below are examples of what open captioned plays look like – one provided by TDF in NYC and another provided by StageText in London:

(YouTube video: Open Captioning “The Crucible” at Trinity Rep (Open Captioned) – by TDF)

(YouTube video: Captioning in theatre – by Stagetext)

(YouTube video: – Open Captioning by Stagetext by TDF)

If you care about making more movies at theaters OPEN captioned, please fill out the survey. Actually, theaters would get more patrons if their movies are open captioned because it is universal access


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