Have you ever been to a crowded movie and been distracted by the audience? Between the whispering and laughing, popcorn crunching, and sometimes even cell phones ringing, outside noise can really ruin your movie-watching experience. Closed captioning would certainly solve this problem. As of right now, closed captioning is mandatory for virtually all television programs, as required by the FCC. Can movie theaters be far behind?
Consider all the benefits of closed captioning. Most importantly, closed captioning makes TV accessible for the deaf community. It can also be a helpful tool for those who don’t have a good grasp on the English language. Finally, closed captioning is beneficial for any person who just wants to watch their favorite TV show among the distractions of everyday life. Now how would this translate to the big screen?
Of course, all the above benefits would still remain, but with the added element of the crowd. Movie theaters are crowded places. Closed captioning would alleviate those issues and make the experience a better one for everyone. Not to mention the benefits for the deaf community. In fact, ever since silent movies gave rise to the “talkies”, the deaf and hard of hearing community have been excluded from a pastime that almost all Americans enjoy. With the integration of closed captioning, the deaf community would for the first time in their lives be able to enjoy an outing to the movies just as others have done for decades.
So, what strides are currently being taken to bring closed captions into America’s movie theaters? Right now there are three technologies that are sparsely used for close captioning at the movies. They are: open captioning, rear window captioning, and cinema subtitling systems. The National Association for the Deaf (NAD), along with the Coalition for Movie Captioning (CMC) are currently working hard to incorporate these captioning systems into all movie theaters. They are establishing a set of standards for close captioning that must be adhered to, in terms of readability, font size, background, and color. Most importantly, though, they are working on formulating the terms of proposed national legislation to be passed by congress and signed by the President. This legislation would require close captioning for all movie theaters, similar to what the Federal Telecommunications Act did for television.
So just think– perhaps sometime soon, you will be able to enjoy a movie without having to worry about missing critical parts due to distractions in the theater! In the meantime, companies such as Video Caption Corporation continue to provide the best in closed captioning for all television programs, including movies!