Caption developments for cinema and the arts

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Tuesday, 29 July 2014 09:45am

The last few years have seen major developments in cinema accessibility alongside the update to digital cinema. Theatre and musical theatre have also benefited from the digital revolution with a variety of new methods available to view captions or listen to audio description.

In an update on last year’s article on the Off-Screen Cinema Subtitling System we’ve learned that testing of this new technology has taken place in a UK cinema with the next stage being to finalise software for cinemas to use. Now known as Invisible Subtitles, the technology makes use of lightweight glasses (they look just the same as 3D glasses) to view captions on a panel mounted directly below the main movie screen.

The benefits of such a system are numerous for both cinemas and movie patrons.

  • Bulky closed caption viewing equipment is replaced by regular glasses, therefore less conspicuous.
  • There is no need for units to be charged prior to use.
  • Replacement and maintenance of glasses is more economical.
  • With an increase in patrons using the technology, staff familiarisation with access equipment may also improve.

While the cinema software is being finalised, Invisible Captions will make another test debut in theatre soon. For anyone near Essex in the UK, the Saturday October 4 matinee performance of The Barry Manilow musical ‘Copacabana’ will have Invisible Captions. Contact Harlow Playhouse for ticket information.

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