The International Center on Deafness and the Arts (ICODA) has released the results of research on a new movie closed-captioning system developed by Personal Captioning Systems, Inc. (PCS). Members of the deaf community overwhelmingly reported that they prefer this new closed captioning system to other systems currently available. The PCS closed captioning system uses a PDA-like display at the patron's seat, supported on a flexible gooseneck adjustable to individual user's preferences and needs, to provide the movie captions. ICODA and other members of the deaf community anxiously await the installation of more of these systems in every movie theater so they can have text captions for every first run movie at every seat at every showing of every film.
Research was conducted at six different showings of first run movies at two different venues. Members of the deaf community were invited to view a first run movie using the PDA-like display and then asked to complete a questionnaire after viewing the film. At three of the showings another closed captioning system was available and the patrons were asked to use and compare the systems. Ninety-six percent of the invited audience (summary of all six viewings) responding to the questionnaire reported that the PDA-like system was easy to use while viewing the movie.
Three viewings provided the opportunity to compare with PCS system with a PDA-like display with another currently available movie closed captioning system. One hundred percent of the invited audience said that their overall impression of the PDA-like captioning technology was positive or very positive, while only 53 percent of the same respondents said that their overall impression of the other captioning technology was positive or very positive. While 100 percent said the PDA-like captioning technology was easy or very easy to use, only 39 percent said the other captioning technology was easy or very easy to use.
Discreet captioning is an emphasis of Personal Captioning Systems, Inc. At the three viewings where the PDA-like movie captioning system was the only captioning system available, 60 members of the general public responded to questions regarding the discreetness of the system. One hundred percent said the captioning system did not interfere with their enjoyment of the movie and 98 percent said the system was not distracting. At the three viewings where the two systems were compared, 100 percent of the invited audience said that they found the PDA-like movie captioning technology a discreet way to view a movie at a theater. Forty-seven percent said they found the other captioning technology a discreet way to view a movie at a movie theater. One hundred percent said they were comfortable using the PDA-like captioning technology among the rest of the movie audience while only 17 percent felt comfortable using the other technology.
The new PDA-like display of movie captioning uses state-of-the-art electronic, computer and optical technology. Prewritten captions of films are formatted to standard captioning with four to six lines per screen and synchronized with the film. The caption signal is transmitted throughout the venue so that an individual can read the captions from a wireless PDA-like display supported by a flexible gooseneck at their chosen seat. Any number of display units can be in service at any given time.
Comments from invited audience included: - I appreciate the good viewing with the new (PDA-like display) captioning technologies - Would highly recommend the use PDA-like display in any theater. I couldn't ask for more. Please make it happen to all the theaters to entertain the deaf audiences to enjoy any movie at any time like the regular audience. - Please make PCS available to every deaf citizen out there. I absolutely loved the movie-going experience that was made possible for me. - Thank you very much for this opportunity. It is very important to have this technology available in theaters.
Individuals who are deaf and hard of hearing are often left out of entertainment activities because captioning is rarely available. ICODA and other members of the deaf community are committed to supporting technologies that provide more opportunities for participation in everyday activities.