Regular readers of The Rebuttal will have read several scathing articles about CaptiView. These articles have been motivated by regular feedback coming from users that they simply do not like the system and that it spoils their viewing pleasure. The Rebuttal has made claims and has been accused of being misleading, ungrateful, stirring trouble and avoiding the facts.
Facts are funny things. For example we were all told that Open Captioning was not possible with the Doermi server. Apparently not so. Apparently there are “Keys” which can be purchased that make Open Captioning possible with the Doremi server. Punters were told that CaptiView was the best technology available to be used with the Doremi system. Well this is not the case now. We know that recent developments have made other devices like the Sony Captioning Glasses and Rear Window Captioning compatible with the Doremi system. All you need is those magical “Keys”. The Sony Glasses are not yet compatible but The Rebuttal has been in touch with Sony and Sony expect that the Sony glasses will be made compatible with the Doremi system very soon. What this means is that there are OTHER alternatives to CaptiView that Deaf and hearing impaired cinema goers should be allowed to trial these before CaptiView is tied in to all cinemas.
A big concern has been that Audio Description for the Blind and Vision Impaired will be impacted IF Deaf and hearing impaired have their way and get the roll out of CaptiView stopped. The reality is that this need not be the case. The CaptiView device uses the Doremi system. The Audio Description device, known as Fidelio, also uses the Doremi system. Rear Window is compatible with the Doremi system too and what The Rebuttal understands is that if Rear Window were to be part of the trial Audio Description roll out need not be impacted at all. Other technology CAN be used, this is the bottom line.
The final issue is that there are many, many Deaf and hearing impaired viewers that want Open Captions retained in some form. There is strong resistence from the cinemas to this. At first they claimed this was because Open Captions were not comaptible with the Doremi system. This now appears to not be the case and that with right “Key” Open captions are possible. They also claim that “hearing” viewers dont like Open Captioning. This is an assumption that needs to be backed up with research. The other claim is that Open Caption movies in the past were poorly attended. The Counter claim to this is that Open captions were mostly in off peak times, at limited venues and did not provide a choice of movies. There is a lot to be researched before open captions are dismissed off-hand.
Clearly there are many options and The Rebuttal has long said Deaf and hearing impaired people should have a stronger say. To gauge just how people are feeling author of this piece, Gary Kerridge, conducted a small Facebook Survey. The report of this survey can be downloaded here. The findings are interesting indeed. However, they should not be taken as conclusive, rather they should be seen as “preliminary” findings. The Rebuttal hopes people will consider the findings of the survey report and at least use them to guide further surveys and strategy in the roll out of captioning for Deaf and hearing impaired in the cinemas.