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Author Topic: Theater declines request for captioning
Paul Goulet
Master Film Handler

Posts: 347
From: Rhode Island
Registered: Jan 2000


 - posted 04-09-2017 08:33 AM      Profile for Paul Goulet   Author's Homepage   Email Paul Goulet   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
www.projo.com

Deaf and hearing-impaired patrons requested subtitles at ‘Beauty and the Beast’ screening

By Gregory Smith Journal Staff Writer

WARWICK — Disheartened, 18 deaf and hearing-impaired adults and children shuffled out of the Showcase Cinemas Warwick Mall on Saturday without having seen the Disney movie "Beauty and the Beast."

They had arrived unannounced and asked movie theater manager Dave Kuncio to switch on the open-captioning function embedded in the movie and, in effect, screen the 4:15 p.m. scheduled showing with subtitles for their benefit.

"I can’t do it ...," Kuncio told them. "People are already in there" and have not paid to see a subtitled movie.

The ad hoc group of hearing-impaired would-be customers wanted to see "Beauty and the Beast" because, according to organizer Tim Riker, 36, of Pawtucket, the movie has a theme of social inclusiveness. "We just want to go out and have fun," Riker said.

But they also had a point to make. They want the General Assembly to enact pending legislation requiring theaters with at least eight screens to accommodate customers who are hearing- and sight-impaired.

The legislation would require that any movie being screened that is equipped with open-captioning would have to be shown at least twice weekly with open-captioning visible and, for the visually impaired, audio description of the action on the screen.

If hearing-impaired patrons constitute a majority in the screening room, and the theater lacks enough "assistive devices" to serve all who need them, the theater would have to turn on open-captioning if requested.

Eight such assistive eyeglasses were available Saturday, and Kuncio offered them. The group declined because there weren’t enough for everybody, they are too big for a child and they are clunky for someone who already wears eyeglasses.

Kuncio referred questions from a news reporter to theater owner National Amusements. A spokesman was not available Saturday night.

— gsmith@ providencejournal.com

(401) 277-7334

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Leo Enticknap
Film God

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From: Loma Linda, CA
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 - posted 04-09-2017 11:53 AM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
This situation - an organized outing of far more hearing impaired customers than the venue is required to have CCAP devices for - is clearly unusual. Frankly, tbe organizers of the outing should have realized this, and, rather than make a publicity stunt out of it, worked with the theater's management in advance to ensure that enough devices would be available. Given enough notice, they could have borrowed some from another screen or location in the chain for that specific screening, or maybe even rented a set from a vendor.

There is almost never going to be an audience in which HI or VI customers outnumber those who are neither, unless it's an organized event, which is why the new ADA regulations do not require us to have as many devices as there are seats in the auditorium. If it is an organized event, the organizers need to organize it properly, which means working constructively with the theater's management, not trying to guilt shame them.

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Lyle Romer
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From: Davie, FL, USA
Registered: May 2002


 - posted 04-09-2017 02:43 PM      Profile for Lyle Romer   Email Lyle Romer   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Paul Goulet
The legislation would require that any movie being screened that is equipped with open-captioning would have to be shown at least twice weekly with open-captioning visible and, for the visually impaired, audio description of the action on the screen.
So they want theatres to be forced to have 2 shows per week that nobody will want to attend if they aren't hearing impaired when closed captioning devices are available (and required by ADA)?

As if movie theatres don't have enough to deal with trying to stay viable. I would NEVER pay to see an open caption movie.

The point of closed captioning is that people that don't need captions won't have their experience ruined.

BTW, this was clearly planned to make news. I'm sure they knew exactly how many closed captioning devices were on hand and knew that they wouldn't show the movie with open captioning. They showed up unannounced specifically to create a news story and make a point to the politicians.

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Mike Schulz
Expert Film Handler

Posts: 119
From: Los Angeles, CA
Registered: May 2007


 - posted 04-09-2017 03:19 PM      Profile for Mike Schulz   Email Mike Schulz   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Lyle Romer
I'm sure they knew exactly how many closed captioning devices were on hand and knew that they wouldn't show the movie with open captioning. They showed up unannounced specifically to create a news story and make a point to the politicians.
This is what it smells like to me, too. I also don't think they will win their fight to get at least two open caption shows per week, either. Outside of the big cities who have multiplexes with 20 or more screens, the smaller venues (the one in this article only has 8 screens) simply cannot afford to show two open caption shows per week. Those screenings will almost certainly be empty 90% of the time. I bet this group will also want the prime time 7:00pm show to be the one in open captioning, too, since any other time would be an inconvenience for them.

Surely there could be a happy medium for this situation. Oh wait, there is! It's called closed captioning, and it isn't a distraction for all of the other patrons watching the same movie with them.

Any reasonable person or group would assume you'd need to call in advance if you're planning on bringing a bigger group to the theatre. Heck, even groups who don't need captioning devices will sometimes call in advance to make sure there will be enough room for them to sit together.

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Justin Hamaker
Film God

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From: Lakeport, CA USA
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 - posted 04-09-2017 04:27 PM      Profile for Justin Hamaker   Author's Homepage   Email Justin Hamaker   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Paul Goulet
They had arrived unannounced and asked movie theater manager Dave Kuncio to switch on the open-captioning function embedded in the movie and, in effect, screen the 4:15 p.m. scheduled showing with subtitles for their benefit.
Clearly they don't understand how open captioning works. At least with the GDC/NEC systems the OC can not be switched on at a moment's notice. Even if the format is present on the screen it would require stopping the show, building a playlist, and restarting the show. Obviously this creates an undo hardship to the other patrons in the showing.

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Martin McCaffery
Film God

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From: Montgomery, AL
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 - posted 04-09-2017 04:28 PM      Profile for Martin McCaffery   Author's Homepage   Email Martin McCaffery   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Lyle Romer
BTW, this was clearly planned to make news. I'm sure they knew exactly how many closed captioning devices were on hand and knew that they wouldn't show the movie with open captioning. They showed up unannounced specifically to create a news story and make a point to the politicians.

Well, it does say that in the article. It says they are getting publicity for a bill that is in the legislature. There is no way of telling, based on the article, what the bill's chances are, but as a piece of political theatre, this was pretty simple and unobstrusive. The show didn't get shut down and no one was really inconvenienced. And, it was effective - it got the coverage they wanted.

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Frank Cox
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From: Melville Saskatchewan Canada
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Doesn't it require a different key than the regular movie without subtitles? I don't think I actually receive the key for open captions for most of the stuff that I play here.

I've never tried open captions here; I don't even know if it works.

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Mike Blakesley
Film God

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From: Forsyth, Montana
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 - posted 04-09-2017 06:40 PM      Profile for Mike Blakesley   Author's Homepage   Email Mike Blakesley   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We usually get every possible key there is - captions, auro, 3D, 7.1, you name it.

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Justin Hamaker
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Frank, it's a mixed bag for us. Some studios send EVERYTHING, so we need to sort through 16 versions to find the 2 or 3 we need. Other studios will only send the 2D/3D 5.1/7.1, but we just need to call and they will send the OC keys within minutes.

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Marcel Birgelen
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From: Maastricht, Limburg, Netherlands
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 - posted 04-10-2017 03:01 AM      Profile for Marcel Birgelen   Email Marcel Birgelen   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Justin Hamaker
Clearly they don't understand how open captioning works. At least with the GDC/NEC systems the OC can not be switched on at a moment's notice. Even if the format is present on the screen it would require stopping the show, building a playlist, and restarting the show. Obviously this creates an undo hardship to the other patrons in the showing.
This would be true for any playback system out there.

Even if it would be possible to just turn on the subtitles by pushing a button like on your remote at home, it would still not be an option in my opinion. You advertised a show and sold tickets to it on a certain premise to those other patrons. If the theater would be otherwise empty, it would've been a nice gesture, but I totally agree with the manager.

Everybody with half a brain should know that I cannot just show up at the doorstep of a theater and request the show I'm going to be watched to be altered.

The organizer did a piss poor job, maybe on purpose to get the attention. He should've called the theater a week or two in advance and I'm pretty sure he could've gotten an exclusive show, with proper captioning.

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Lindsay Morris
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Posts: 220
From: Darlington, WA, Australia
Registered: Sep 2002


 - posted 04-10-2017 03:04 AM      Profile for Lindsay Morris   Email Lindsay Morris   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Seems like the system in Aust is somewhat different to USA as when I had a couple of partially deaf people in the area badger me to screen OCP titles I thought I would try it out just to see how it worked.
I needed to load a Supplementary file which I understood was something to do with the Fonts & one had to request the Distributor for that file. As others have pointed out it then requires a separate Play List.
Could find NO instructions on how to get that additional file to work with the OCP version & just highlighting & then clicking the button to transfer over on the DSS100 did nothing.
Turned out one had to highlight the file & then drag it to the associated feature & drop it & THEN it worked OK.

The group pestering me claimed that they could rustle up around 30 - 40 for a special screening for them so I went ahead & programmed the screening.
On the night only 12 turned up & was helped by another 5 people from the camping ground nearby who wanted to see the movie (Imitation Game)who had normal hearing & they were not bothered by the captions at all. Not a very good session but not a real problem as I had screened the title 3 nights previous to VG attendances of 350+ a session so my costs were well & truly covered.
I found the captions to be VG & VERY descriptive so a profoundly deaf patron could really enjoy the movie due to the little extra bits added in such as "car door slams" "door bell rings" etc.

Not every title comes with OCP and most distributors here do not know in advance what versions are being released in OZ so getting advance info out to these groups was difficult.

Earlier on when running 35mm I had an irate patron front me demanding to know why his hearing aid could not pick up the "Inductive Loop". Easy. I did not have one & was not really obliged to do so plus being a seasonal operation was a bit of an impost. I got told in no uncertain terms that I was "required" to have such a loop installed & he would be complaining to the authorities that I did not. Never heard another peep so I guess he was enlightened by whomever he complained to.

Just prior to digital conversion the local council Disability Officer called me demanding to know why I did not run Open Caption sessions ??
As I knew that the nearest complex to my site some 14 kms away with 10 screens rarely if ever ran Open Caption sessions,
I suggested that when that complex did run such sessions then I would consider doing similar
[Wink]
I think that the new owner has had similar requests but do not know how he got on numbers wise.

I surveyed many patrons as they came through the door on many occasions as to whether they would like or not like Open Captions for normal sessions and the consensus was NO.

It really IS a bit cheeky for these groups to always expect that a session with OC would be provided and really the only way fairest to all is to organise with the various cinema managements for a group screening and MAKE them drag along enough numbers to make it worthwhile for the venue.
Glad I am out of it now as some of these groups can become quite vocal & stir up virtual hornets nests particularly if the cinema is on FB.

Lindsay

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Peter Foyster
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From: ROLEYSTONE WESTERN AUSTRALIA
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Last year I was approached by Open Captions Australia, an association that promotes open captioning Australia wide, to add my single screen outdoor cinema to the list of those that screened open-caption movies.

I said I would give it a try and, depending on the outcome, consider making open captions a regular event.They also said that they would assist by promoting the screening.

I obtained the open caption version of a DCP that I was screening on a particular weekend, programmed it for the Thursday night and did my usual promotions.

Nobody turned up on the night. That was my first and last open caption screening.

If anybody now asks if I plan to show open caption movies I draw their attention to my failed attempt to cater for the needs of the deaf and hearing impaired.

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Martin McCaffery
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From: Montgomery, AL
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quote: Marcel Birgelen
Everybody with half a brain should know that I cannot just show up at the doorstep of a theater and request the show I'm going to be watched to be altered.
Let's not overestimate the knowledge of the viewing public. How many of them think you can just rewind the film to a certain point and start over? Or think you have a library of films to choose from upstairs? Or that you show DVDs? (admittedly, all of these could be true, to some extent).
A basic selling point of movie's throughout their history is that movies are Magic. You can't expect the public to suddenly stop believing.

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Jim Cassedy
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It's not just the general public, muck-raking journalists and ADA activists
who have no idea of the mechanics of theater presentation technology,but
surprising as it may (or may not) be, even film-makers often don't have a
clue as to how their product gets on screen.

As I've mentioned before, 98.5% of my work are press, preview, & 'quality
control' screening events.

Last month I was doing one of these "QC" check screenings for a fairly
well know filmmaker whose works have been seen in theaters & on PBS.

About 3min before the start of the screening he popped into the booth
(I gotta remember to start locking that door!) and asked me to "turn on
the subtitles", since he said he had paid extra to have the movie closed
captioned,and wanted to confirm that it was done correctly.

I explained to him that there were no captions on the DCP drive I had
been sent, and that I couldn't play what I didn't have.

He was annoyed, and at first implied that I didn't know what I was doing,
and that all I had to do was "push a button", and the captions would
magically come up on screen.

I tried to explain that it's a bit more involved than that.

He called the studio, who then called whatever place made the DCP, and
they confirmed that while there was a captioned version made, the version
they sent me did not have captions, because whoever booked that QC
screening (ie: the filmmaker) did not specifically request the captioned
version. . . . . . . so, not my fault- - end of story.

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Leo Enticknap
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From: Loma Linda, CA
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 - posted 04-10-2017 11:23 AM      Profile for Leo Enticknap   Author's Homepage   Email Leo Enticknap   Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
quote: Jim Cassedy
About 3min before the start of the screening he popped into the booth (I gotta remember to start locking that door!)
I now do this as a reflex action whenever I enter the booth for a shift at which VIPs will be in the building.

In my admittedly limited experience, it's not the VIPs themselves that are the problem. On the rare occasions I've actually met them, they've usually been polite, down to earth, easy to work with, and have accepted my answers to their technical questions without any friction.

The problem is their PAs, hangers on and others in their entourages, most of whom would make Kim Jong-Un seem mild mannered. I suspect that having a serious narcissism problem is pretty much on the "essential" bullet point list for the job description of a high level servant to a Hollywood big name, and boy does it show!

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