Tuesday, May 15, 2012

5 years of ASL classes - DONE!

I simply cannot believe that five years has blown by like a freight train.  It seems like yesterday I walked into that beginning class and took like 2 minutes to finger spell my 5-letter name.

It has been a wonderful experience, and I have met some people I hope to know the rest of my life.  Even after five years, I still feel like somewhat of a noob.  I guess I have to keep remembering that many of the people I meet have been signing all or most of their lives.  Nonetheless, I am ultimately thankful for my new ability to successfully use an interpreter!

I hope I can attend, or even help set up some more local casual events.  There don't seem to be many right now, and it would be great to use my ASL more with fluent signers.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Regal Captions All Movies With Special Glasses - A Review

Regal has been busy working on equal access to movies!  I have heard it is their plan to roll closed-captioning for every showtime of every movie to all of their theaters.  My local theaters already have this functionality, so I decided to test drive it and go see Avengers.

Upon arrival, you will need to stand in line with the rest of the world, since the ticket kiosks cannot distribute the glasses.  I exchanged my driver license for some fancy Sony glasses.


So first things first.  The glasses really work!  Captions are clear, and I discovered halfway through the movie that I could adjust the position of the captions vertically (I initially needed to wear the glasses way down on my nose to get them where I wanted them).

When looking at the screen, the captions are bright green and pretty clear.  They aren't too big or too small.  It's kind of a weird feeling, if you're used to captions, because the captions move with your head.  For example, I could face the side wall of the theater and still have captions.  I removed the glasses during the movie and looked at them from all angles, and I was unable to detect any light sources, so these aren't going to bother other movie-goers.

Now for the areas they could be improved.  They definitely feel bulky, and even at only 3 ounces, they felt very heavy by the end of the movie!  Sony claims that a removable attachment makes them 3D capable, but Regal doesn't have any 3D movies captioned yet, no sure why.  Finally, since these are almost guaranteed NOT to fit over a normal pair of glasses, I don't see how they could be used by someone with vision problems bad enough to not be able to watch a movie without their glasses.

One slightly annoying characteristic, is that the captions are not on the same focal plane as the movie.  What I mean by this, is that unlike normal captions/subtitles that appear ON the screen, these float in space much "closer" to your face than the screen.  So you have to switch focus quickly and often.  Imagine holding your hand one foot from your face, and switching focus from your hand to the screen for every sentence.  Eye fatigue!

Overall, a great success brought to you by the folks at Sony and Regal.  I can't wait to see the future products that will b made possible by refining this technology, or finding a better way!