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» Film-Tech Forum   » Operations   » Ground Level   » Summary of new US Accessibility Technology Requirements

   
Author Topic: Summary of new US Accessibility Technology Requirements
Harold Hallikainen
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 636
From: Denver, CO, USA
Registered: Aug 2009


 - posted 01-21-2017 01:29 PM      Profile for Harold Hallikainen   Author's Homepage   Email Harold Hallikainen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I've written a summary of the current US accessibility technology rules. It is at http://ftp.uslinc.com/ftp/MultiProduct/Accessibility/NewAccessibilityRequirements_170119.pdf . Please let me know if I should make any revisions.

Thanks!

Harold

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Rick Raskin
Phenomenal Film Handler

Posts: 1068
From: Manassas Virginia
Registered: Jan 2003


 - posted 01-21-2017 03:20 PM      Profile for Rick Raskin   Email Rick Raskin   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Very well written. I'm sure many will find it a useful summation of ADA requirements. I'd recommend posting it in the warehouse.

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Justin Hamaker
Film God

Posts: 2019
From: Lakeport, CA USA
Registered: Jan 2004


 - posted 01-21-2017 04:32 PM      Profile for Justin Hamaker   Author's Homepage   Email Justin Hamaker   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks Harold, this is a good reference. Unfortunately the required number of units FAR exceeds what is needed. My company has about 4 years of data showing that 4 headsets and 3 captioning units are more than adequate to satisfy the needs of our patrons in a 1000 seat facility.

The ruling requires we have 35 headsets, but we have NEVER had more than 4 checked out at a time. Virtually all the use is for assisted listening. We have one regular who uses the descriptive narration, and have had maybe 2-3 other people use it since we were capable.

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Harold Hallikainen
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 636
From: Denver, CO, USA
Registered: Aug 2009


 - posted 01-21-2017 06:28 PM      Profile for Harold Hallikainen   Author's Homepage   Email Harold Hallikainen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Thanks for the comments! The DOJ did not review the ALS requirements, so those still stand (at excessive levels). The captioning receiver requirements are considerably lower. And descriptive audio even lower. NATO had suggested a minimum number of cationing receivers with the number being adjusted upward such that the theater had 150% of the average weekend demand. Looking at my summary of comments ( https://mai.hallikainen.org/org/DojNprm/ ), it appears DOJ adopted the NATO proposed minimums without requiring upward adjustment based on demand. In general, it appears DOJ is looking at the percentage of the overall population that has hearing loss.

In my comments at https://www.regulations.gov/contentStreamer?documentId=DOJ-CRT-2014-0004-0242&attachmentNumber=2&disposition=attachment&contentType=pdf , I said:

Question 10 – Scoping of individual captioning devices. The NPRM proposes setting the number of theater supplied closed captioning receivers at about half the current requirements for assistive listening devices. The NPRM provides no justification for the “about half” or for the existing 2.5% to 4% of the seating capacity specified in the 2010 Standards. We are concerned that theaters may end up having to purchase a substantial number of captioning receivers that are never used. In our experience, it appears theaters are required to have substantially more assistive listening devices than are ever used simultaneously. The NPRM, in section IIC2, states that in the 2010 census, 7.6 million people reported hearing difficulty, and, of those, 1.1 million people report a severe hearing difficulty. The 2010 census reports a total U.S.population of 308.7 million. Based on this data, 2.5% of the population requires some assistance. 0.4% have severe hearing difficulty. The proposed 1.4% to 2% is substantially above the 0.4% that will absolutely need closed captioning due to their severe hearing difficulty. Most of the remaining 2.1% of the population can probably be served with assistive listening devices. In the introduction to question 10, the NPRM describes numerous comments from advocacy organizations as to why these regulations are needed. The comments appear to indicate that the problem they face is a lack of closed captioning at all instead of a lack of devices in theaters that offer closed captioning. Many exhibitors have installed closed captioning equipment in the last several years. They should be able to provide documentation on the actual number of receivers used at any particular time. Percentages based on the total population are probably high since it is rare for every auditorium in a theater to fully sell out. The rules should place a requirement based on demonstrated need with some margin to allow for peaks in demand. The quantities should be revisited on occasion or perhaps tied to census data on disabilities.

Finally, another approach that has been suggested is a “bring your own receiver” approach. With that approach, theaters would be required to transmit closed captions in a standardized method. People needing closed captions could own a receiver instead of the theater providing one. At this point, however,
none of the existing closed captioning systems use the same method or protocol to transmit captions to the receivers. Two systems use digital radio transmission, but different protocols. The USL system uses infrared optical transmission. As previously discussed, SMPTE did establish standards for the electrical
connection between digital cinema servers and closed caption transmitters, but did not address a standard for transmission between the transmitter and the individual receivers. Exhibitors have already made a large investment in existing equipment, so a shift to a “bring your own receiver” method with possible replacement of all the existing closed caption transmitters would be quite expensive. Even without a transmission standard, however, many patrons tend to frequent the same theater. They could, therefore, purchase a device that works in that theater (perhaps purchasing it from the theater). Perhaps theaters could be allowed to sell receiving devices at cost to any patron that requests one as an alternative to a theater having a minimum number of receivers.

A different approach to “bring your own receiver” is to provide closed captioning and audio description to the patrons’ smart phone. This has been mentioned in the comments of Alexander Ford (DOJ-CRT-2014-0004-0215). While not widely deployed in the U.S., a couple approaches are available. The first truly uses the phone as a caption/audio receiver by streaming the captions and audio to the phone over Wi Fi. The phone makes the content available through a standard web browser or through a special application for this purpose. The second approach requires the patron to download the caption and/or audio content ahead of time. An application in the phone synchronizes the caption and audio playback with the in theater playback by analyzing the sound in the auditorium as picked up by the phone’s microphone. See, for example, http://www.mylingoapp.com/ . While aimed at providing the movie dialog in a different language, similar technology could handle audio description and closed captions. There may, however, be concerns by exhibitors about having phones operating within the auditorium. A lit screen may be
distracting to other patrons. It may be difficult to tell whether a patron is using the phone for captions, assistive audio, or movie pirating.

At a minimum, the Department needs to justify any receiver requirements based upon actual usage experience over the past several years that closed captioning equipment has been available. Other commenters have supplied actual usage data.

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Jonathan M. Crist
Jedi Master Film Handler

Posts: 509
From: Hershey, PA, USA
Registered: Apr 2000


 - posted 11-21-2017 06:56 PM      Profile for Jonathan M. Crist   Email Jonathan M. Crist   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Lest any of you have forgotten or overlooked this .... June 2, 2018 is the drop dead date under the promulgated ADA rules for all indoor digital projection theatres to have both (i) Open Captioning Devices and (ii) if your current Assisted Listening Devices do not have two channel audio capability (meaning one channel for standard audio assist and one seperate channel for visually impaired audio description) then you must also have at least two (or more depending on size of theatre) audio description devices.

Anyone who thinks this can be ignored .... be warned .... this captioning and audio assist device requirements are going to be a gold mine for the Plaintiff class action lawyers. For example in my area Hersheypark got sued earlier this year because the height of their toilet paper dispensers did not meet ADA regs.

The latest incarnation of these type of lawsuits was recently filed against Hulu:

BOSTON — Advocacy groups have sued Hulu in an effort to force the subscription streaming service to provide an audio track that helps people who are blind or visually impaired enjoy TV shows and movies. The federal lawsuit filed in Boston on Monday asks the court to declare that Hulu's failure to provide services for the blind violates the Americans with Disabilities Act. The groups say Hulu has refused to do so despite repeated requests from advocates and blind customers. "They want to enjoy Hulu like everyone else in the country," said Meredith Weaver, an attorney with Disability Rights Advocates, which filed the lawsuit on behalf of the American Council of the Blind, Bay State Council of the Blind and a blind Massachusetts couple. A spokeswoman for the Los Angeles-based Hulu didn't immediately respond to an email Tuesday. The groups want Hulu to provide audio tracks that describe a scene, facial expressions or actions during a pause in dialogue. The audio track "describes what a sighted person might take for granted and blind or visually impaired person can otherwise only experience through whispers from a sighted companion," the lawsuit says. The lawsuit also seeks to ensure people who use screen readers can use Hulu's website and applications. Screen readers convey what's seen on a website or apps using audio or braille. Continue reading the main story Advertisement Continue reading the main story "Movies and television are pillars of American culture," said Kim Charlson, president of the American Council of the Blind. "As delivery of such media transitions to video streaming services, it is critical that these platforms be accessible in order to ensure the inclusion of blind and visually impaired individuals in contemporary society." Most major movie companies already provide audio description tracks, and audio exists for many TV shows and movies that are available on Hulu, the lawsuit says. Netflix in 2015 started offering an audio track for the show "Daredevil" that features a blind superhero after fans complained. In a settlement reached last year with the American Council of the Blind and others, Netflix agreed to expand its audio description offering and make its website and mobile apps accessible for people who rely on screen reading software. The Hulu competitor says it now provides audio description for most its original titles and some other TV shows and movies.

Hulu Blind Audio Description Lawsuit

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