Cut the Glasses: Capture the screen

Goal: Increase the number of available On-Screen Captions for movies in the Theater, regardless of the number of Deaf people attending the movies.

More and more deaf people have stopped going to the movie theater because they feel different than the regular visitors.  Because they have to wear the big bulky glasses, Deaf people do not receive equal access. They feel different compared to those who don’t need them. They usually prefer On-Screen captions. Regal Theatre says the ones who do not desire open captions gave negative reactions, even if the captions were below the screen.  Something is wrong here. Regal did not say how many or discuss a plan to educate the community.  Because there are already many negative reactions toward off screen devices (glasses or Palm devices), they are deemed unfit by Deaf people and this allows others in the audience to “stare at them or give funny looks.”  Those who are hearing and Deaf that tried the glasses claimed that:

  • Going to a movie and having to request glasses that don’t always work are not ideal
  • Not knowing if the devices are sanitary, or cleaned was a problem
  • Only half of the movie was captured, because the devices did not work and only half of the words appeared which is not acceptable
  • Off screen caption devices made viewing movies difficult and it was uncomfortable to watch the captions and screen at the same time
  • Glasses cause an Eye Sore, because they both physically hurt the eyes from straining to read the captions, and because they are so huge and bulky

On-screen captions will reach out to a larger crowd of both hearing and Deaf audiences without needing an additional device. If Regal switches to on screen captions, they will save money because glasses are expensive. For example, each pair of glasses is over $2,000 each.  At the same time, Regal claimed that they lose over $300,000 in broken glasses.  In Henrietta, NY, Regal, they have only a maximum of 30 pairs where most theatres have less than 15 pairs.  When they run out, Regal will say, “too bad, first come and first serve.”

Regal Headquarters said that in the last 20 months, the glasses have been used over 90,000 times nationwide. There are over 600,000 people that are Deaf or have hearing loss in the United States, which means only 7% of this population is going to the movies. Regal Headquarter said 98% of the screens are digital projections and have captioning abilities.

Today, movies should be updated to the 21st century where the screens can have simple accommodation solutions where the captions can be placed below the screens.  This not only benefits the customers in the way they all come in and go device free, but it will also allow the theaters to bring in new money for a combined fight for equality to see the movies together. Why are they not using the On-Screen caption that will help the hearing audience capture information that is missed due to thick accents or loud background noise?  Aren’t you wondering?

Our recent visit to
try the caption glasses.


Do any of the images make you feel comfortable?

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