Captioned cinema moves forward with new technologies

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Friday, 17 May 2013 15:59pm

Two new accessible cinema developments in the USA and UK have movie fans getting excited about what might be the next steps in captioned movies. Both developments, InvisibleCaptions and the Off-Screen Cinema Subtitle System, present the compromise that can win over both consumers and exhibitors.

That compromise is one that allows exhibitors to screen captioned movies across a wide range of sessions where the captions are seemingly ‘open’ to those that are wearing filtering glasses, very similar to 3D glasses. The glasses do not carry projection equipment making them lightweight and less bulky than current captioned cinema eyewear such as Sony’s.

In the USA InvisibleCaptions is being developed by Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT). The technology uses a specialised UV filter in glasses to see captions that are projected directly onto a panel beneath the main movie screen. RIT is planning to team up with Regal Cinemas in Rochester, New York later this year to trial the technology.

In the UK inventor Jack Ezra is using the same technology to develop the Off-Screen Cinema Subtitling System. Ezra has produced a captioned video demonstrating the glasses.

Cinema has undergone radical changes worldwide with the move to digital and the introduction of access technologies that open up a wider number of movies and sessions to everyone. This transition is not complete though. Digital cinema is still very much in its infancy and so are the various technologies that allow access for people requiring captions or audio description. Finding a middle ground may take a while but developments like these are shaping the way.

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