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!

11 comments:

J.J. said...

I also tried them for the first time while seeing the Avengers (great flick, BTW). I liked them A LOT. My other two friends..not so much.

PLUSES:

-You can move your neck around.

-You have TWO cup holders now!

-Sit practically ANYWHERE in the theater.(I wonder if they will even work while going to the bathroom?)

MINUSES:

-You get "usher's syndrome" and cannot see out the side of your eyes. (problematic when you want to chat in ASL during the previews)

-Heavy towards end of the movie, but was OK.

-Captions everywhere...if you focus on a part of the screen you still see captions, but with RWC/Open Captions you look up/down quick...kinda weird, but can get used to.

=============

You can adjust them to be near, mid, or far sighted..as well as the brightness of the captions.

I also think you can fit glasses under them very easily, no? There was a lot of space between my eyes and the lens?

-JJ

Aaron said...

They should give out FAQ cards with them. I had no idea you could adjust in all those other ways!!!

The "usher syndrome" bugged me too. I felt like I was inside a box!

J.J. said...

Yeah, there were 3 buttons on my "battery thingy":

1.) Menu

2.) +

3.) -

And I just pressed menu..then +/- to select the mode and brightness.

Aaron said...

Haha the lady told me not to touch it!

BGramer said...

There is a setting that lets you view the captions in Near, Middle, and Far mode. Push the button to see which viewing mode is most comfortable for your eyes. It will ease the eye strain.

Tim Festa said...

I tried them yesterday. I learned all most the same as what you know now. Yes I agree that they should come with an instruction card. I could not see the captions in till I moved it way down on my nose. It's an option but not the best. I feel like a horse and I'm blinded on the sides. I'll take the CV if they make an adjustment so you can blur the text to make it look like it is on the screen. Got tired of forcing back and forth. I'm not sure what or if anything we say will matter. They are going to do what they think is best for THEM. But we still need to post our thoughts. As with anything plastic, it will get scratched and dirty and we will suffer at the end. I really think we should have open caption shows so we can totally enjoy our movie going experience like everybody else. Even a limited time is ok. BUT not just Tue, Wed and Thur. We have to have at least 1 show on Fri, Sat and Sun

Michael Hill said...

It's the best! The future of Movie Captioning has gone leaps and bounds with CCG! Right now, it's baby steps for all of us to get used to this. I have experienced it by watching The Avengers in Mount Juliet, TN(Providence 14) on May 6th. CC sure does works like a DVD setting. One cool aspect of this is that CC 'moves' with you as you move your head around on the screen. I just fell in love with it and I'm looking forward to seeing movies again in theaters!!

Shanna Groves said...

Michael - Thanks for posting info about captioning glasses. As moderator for the Facebook group Kansas Citians Want Movie Captions, I am pleased to follow your blog. Please follow my blog at http://LipreadingMom.com. Blessings!

Shanna Groves

Anonymous said...

The Sony Access Glasses would be very useful for people with hearing loss in the UK. Although most cinemas now have facilities to screen the latest films with English-language subtitles & audio description for people with hearing or sight loss, there are only around 1,000 subtitled shows every week around the UK. That may sound a lot but it’s only around 1% of cinema shows. In the UK, subtitles are on the cinema screen, for all to see, so require separate screenings.

Subtitle glasses would increase the choice of subtitled films and shows tenfold. People would very much appreciate such a service from cinemas. Take a look at this page of feedback from the cinema-going public: http://www.yourlocalcinema.com/quote.html

Film distributors ensure that most popular cinema releases are routinely subtitled in many European languages, as well as captioned and audio described. Large-capacity DCP hard drives can easily accommodate a digital film and multi-language text/audio tracks.

A multi-language/caption/narration solution like the glasses would enable under-served, untapped audiences Europe-wide to enjoy the cinema experience. Not only people whose first language is not the local language, but also people with hearing or sight loss.

The potential reach is huge. Hundreds of thousands of Europeans would benefit from experiencing films in a variety of languages. And of course people with hearing or sight loss would benefit immensely. Each year tens of thousands of children are born across Europe with significant hearing loss. Every day thousands start to lose their sight. Millions, including more than a hundred thousand children, have significant hearing or sight loss.

With ageing, loss of some hearing or sight is inevitable. Access to film via captions/subtitles and audio description/narration is something that we may all appreciate eventually.

Derek Brandon
Twitter: http://twitter.com/yourlocalcinema/favorites

Chloe said...

Wow, it's funny, not even a month ago, my friends and I were talking about The Avengers and I was talking about how I wished there could be captions in movie theaters (yes, I'm hearing impaired as well). I don't think those are available in my local theaters, but I'm glad something is being done. I can't wait to actually try something like this!

Tim Festa said...

I tried it again last weekend. It worked good. It had 2 adjustments. Brightness and focus. The focus is only near and far. I changed it but did not see much difference. One thing I did notice, it would sometimes not show the captions. Don't know why but I saw them talking but no text. Not too back but I saw it at least 3 or 4 times. But it is nice to move your head and still read the captions. It's a good start.