What Marvel and Chris Pratt have to teach us about respect

Guest post by Lucy Crabtree

My mom and I were walking into a movie theater when she brought it up. “So,” she said, “I think I missed something. Did Chris Pratt start some kind of brouhaha?”

I laughed. “Uh, just a little!” I replied, tongue in cheek.

I filled her on what had happened—how last month, Marvel made a short clip starring Chris Pratt to promote their latest offering, Guardians of the Galaxy 2. The clip started out with subtitles, but a few seconds in, Pratt urged viewers to turn up their sound and ignore the subtitles, and motioned as if to wipe the subtitles off the screen. The subtitles disappeared. The rest of the clip continued without subtitles, and did not provide an option to turn them back on. Fans objected, saying that such a move was insensitive toward those who rely on subtitles to understand videos, and Marvel took the clip down.

The next day, Chris Pratt issued an apology video in Instagram, using sign language to express his regret over the Marvel clip and acknowledging the insensitivity of turning the subtitles off. “I have people in my life who are hearing-impaired,” he said in his Instagram post, “and the last thing in the world I would want to do is offend them or anybody who suffers from hearing loss or any other disability.”

Captions are not optional

For many of us, captions are not optional. They grant us access to the most prized commodity of all: information. Information is how relationships are built, purchases are made, and jobs are landed. Even when the information is entertainment, as in a movie trailer, it is still a hot commodity. For better or worse, movies, television, and other media give us cultural reference points and an opportunity to connect with others over these. When Pratt “wiped off” the subtitles in the original video, I literally gasped. “He did NOT just do that!” With a simple sweeping motion, I felt like he was pushing me away from the screen, pushing me away from a community I have just as much a right to as anyone else.

I’ll say again—captions are not optional, and not just for people who are D/deaf or hard of hearing. The universal nature of closed captions means that they assist English Language Learners in synchronizing spoken and written English, foster literacy for children and adults who are learning to read, and make information accessible for everyone, regardless of their degree of hearing. I even learned recently that people with cognitive processing issues rely on captions. Captions, then, should be the norm and not the exception. Marvel was wrong to treat them as optional. I’m grateful for Pratt’s apology and that Marvel acted swiftly to remove the offending video.

An updated vocabulary

Not only do we need captions, we need an updated vocabulary. Several online news outlets, including Variety, People, ET Online, and Yahoo, reported on Chris Pratt’s apology by using “hearing impaired” in their headlines—a phrase Pratt himself used in his Instagram post.

“Hearing impaired,” however, is an archaic term that many people who are D/deaf or hard of hearing have long abandoned. That alone should be reason enough to stop using the phrase—out of respect for and to show hospitality to people who have historically been marginalized. The fact that Pratt uses “hearing impaired” suggests that he does not interact with many D/deaf or hard of hearing people. He does refer to having “hearing impaired” people in his life, but that makes me think that he is either not close enough to them to choose a more respectful term, or that the people in question are from a different age when the term was more acceptable. “Hearing impaired” conveys a sense of being “broken” or incomplete, and puts our hearing loss first instead of our personhood. 

A posture of respect

This “brouhaha,” as my mom called it, is ultimately about respect. Providing or turning on captions and subtitles, and being intentional with vocabulary, shows respect and care for people who are deaf and hard of hearing—who could very well be your neighbors, your kids’ friends, the people in line in front of you at the grocery store. Words, whether they are displayed on a screen during a movie or used to describe someone else, reflect and shape how we think about people who are different from us. Marvel and Chris Pratt will, I bet, be more careful going forward. The rest of us would be wise to follow suit.

Convention 2014 Hearing Loss Association of America – Austin Texas June 26-29

Will You Meet Us in St Louis for HLAA Convention June 25-28, 2015?

I went to Austin and hope to see many people reading this blog article at the convention next year in St Louis.   Why should we join HLAA and go to St Louis convention?   I can give you ten reasons why to join HLAA. The mission of HLAA is to open the world of communication for 48 million Americans with hearing loss through information, education, support and advocacy. HLAA’s programs and services include:

  • Hearing Loss Magazine Published bimonthly to your address & digital format
  • Discounts on Hearing Aids & Assistive Listening Devices (ALDs)
  • Discounts to HLAA Annual Convention
  • Training: Hearing Assistive Technology (HAT) Training Provides a train-the-trainer course in the use of assistive technology.
  • Hearing Loss Support Specialist Training (HLSST) An online, distance-learning program teaching core knowledge about hearing loss to consumers
  • Discounts on Cell Phone Plans
  • Hearingloss.org People find information about hearing aids, hearing loss management, advocacy, cochlear implants and other technology, resources and communication strategies for family and friends.
  • Webinars Educational webinars. See hearingloss.org/content/webinars  for details and schedule of upcoming webinars.
  • National Support Network Includes 175 HLAA Local Chapters across US..
  • Public Policy and Advocacy Staff advocates for consumer issues such as the hearing aid tax credit initiative, captioning, affordable hearing health care, insurance coverage, cochlear implant reimbursement, newborn infant hearing screening, and telecommunications compatibility. HLAA has representation on corporate advisory boards, government agencies, coalitions, educational institutions and nonprofit organizations.

I want to make your 11th reason to join HLAA to help support our sister city, St Louis, in making next year a great time and well attended by many Kansas Citians gathering all under one roof together.   When you attend HLAA conventions you are in a world of communication with everyone who has been touched with hearing loss providing information, education, support and advocacy and having fun at the same time!

This is my second time to attend a HLAA Convention. This year I was very excited to go as our chapter’s delegate. I took a two-legged trip in June. I started in Kansas City to California for a week to visit family and friends. As I was waiting in Oakland CA airport to board to Austin, I found some friends from last year’s HLAA Portland convention were in the terminal.   We made fast friends with others we didn’t know yet. By the time we boarded we all sat together on the plane. We can find each other with our “FACE ME” buttons or some are signing. After landing in Austin at the baggage claim, I ran into more Tennessee HLAA people I met last year when their plane did a stop in KC to pick up people on the way to Portland.   It is nice everyone is always looking out for old and new friends to stay together to the hotel.

Next day I picked up my convention bag at registration desk. Inside the bag are some nice brochures, a convention T-Shirt, 1 GB flash drive and 60 page Convention 2014 Program and Exhibit Guide.   I will refer to pages of Convention 2014 Program and Exhibit Guide in this article. I had already planned all the workshops I wanted to attend before I left Kansas City with my Mobile Convention App and 2014 Convention Workshop Schedule which is provided online prior to leaving for my trip. I wanted to be ready for face time with friends and not have my nose in the guide trying to plan my schedule after I reached Austin.

The links are provided above for as long as the links stay live to give you opportunity to review all the workshops and events, plus nearly fifty exhibitors (page 27), plus List of Exhibitors with Company Descriptions (pages 28-35) and Convention 2014 Sponsors. You can choose 1 to 4 days to attend the convention. If you never thought of going to a convention because of the distance, St. Louis may be close enough to attend. You will have fun all the while you are learning so many cool things! Did you know all sessions have Communication Access Realtime Transcription (CART)?   Sign language interpretation was available for Opening Session, Research Symposium and Banquet. The convention has most all meeting rooms looped and one with infrared for people with T-Coils.

Exhibit Hall

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Thursday, at the first special workshop “The Wireless Industry: Finding the Cell or Mobile Devices to Meet Your Needs”(page 38), I sat next to an unfamiliar person who happened to be looking for a chapter near Kansas City.   He lives in Lawrence KS. Such a small world and he later connected me to others that live in Lawrence who were attending the convention.

The Wireless Industry: Finding the Cell or Mobile Devices to Meet Your Needs Workshop

The Wireless Industry: Finding the Cell or Mobile Devices to Meet Your Needs Workshop

At this workshop I learned there are 335 million wireless subscribers, more phones than there are people! There are 5 million apps out there. 87% of seniors, 65 and up have a mobile phone and 29% use smart phones.

As of January 2014:

90% of American adults have a cell phone
58% of American adults have a smartphone
32% of American adults own an e-reader
42% of American adults own a tablet computer

Panelists from T-Mobile, Sprint, Verizon and AT&T answered questions and took a lot of feedback (some not so happy comments) from audience about each carrier’s phone stores and services.   All comments were well accepted from the panelists and they are anxious to address the suggestions with their companies.   It was a great experience for people with hearing loss to ask questions and give constructive feedback. The audience could tell panelists showed appreciation knowing they have heard and will make improvements.

Cellular Telecommunications Industry Association (CTIA) showed several videos about hearing aid compatibility (HAC) with wireless handsets.   AccessWireless.org is the most complete website, which has 5 portals designed to help people with disabilities, seniors and their families to find a cell phone and service!

Kevin Green from Verizon stated 911 texting is available in areas where it has been requested and it is in rolling out stages right now. FEMA is training and 911 texting is about a 6-month process to implement in your area.   If you want to find out if 911 texting is available in your area, please call the non-emergency police number and make suggestion, not complaint of your wishes.   If you live in apartment, location is more difficult.   Landline is copper wired and it is recommended to keep landline if you can. Kevin says Amazon sells a cell phone converter to landline, which I cannot give details, as I am not familiar with this device.   You also do not have to have GPS for voice 911 to have locator working.

PhoneScoop.com is a comprehensive resource for mobile phone shoppers, users, enthusiasts, and professionals, focusing on the U.S. market. Features include database of mobile phone information on web, user reviews, search-and-compare tool with side-by-side comparisons and online forums. Database is fully searchable using Phone Finder. Check out PhoneScoop for up-to-the-minute market and industry news.

“Hearing Loss and Memory Decline as We Age” workshop (page 39) was not exactly “fun”, but felt I should face my fears. Some spoken lines I felt worth taking notes on were: “Hearing loss is more visible than your hearing aids” and another was a joke, “I said I ordered hamburgers for 2 hungry people, not two hundred people”.   Research is showing a potential casual link that untreated hearing loss actually speeds up cognitive decline. Here’s one to pay attention to: You are two times more likely to have cognitive issues if not wearing hearing aids.

“Communication Strategies for Surviving the Workplace or Job Search” workshop (page 39) was presented by Valerie Stafford-Mallis.   She was informative on laws asking for accommodations and tips to make professional life and job search easier.   She pointed out the January 2014 Hearing Loss Magazine on page 32 is excellent resource for information. This digital issue of this is available to paying HLAA memberships.

During the discussion we learned many of us have strengths for being more symphathic towards others with disabilities, which often clients will seek a person such as that to reach out for their needs within the company you are working for.   I enjoyed learning that if you were to lose your office’s quiet environment to transfer to a cubical with lots of surrounding office noise; it is okay to request your needs without jeopardizing your job.

Ask Job Accommodation Network – AskJan.org provides free, confidential technical assistance about job accommodations and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). National Association of the Deaf mission is to preserve, protect and promote the civil, human and linguistic rights of deaf and hard of hearing people in the United States of America. Valerie states it is a resource for reviewing lawsuits.   Valerie also suggested using Association of Late Deafened Adults resources for work related issues.

Wrapping up the day filled of workshops was the Opening Session presentation sponsored by INNOCaptions. HLAA Board of Trustee, Valerie Stafford-Mallis greeting all with a big Texas welcome and recognition of 2014 sponsors, delegates, State/Chapter Leaders, HLAA volunteers, distinguished guests and the Board of Trustees.   HLAA President, Anna Gilmore Hall presented National Access Award to Consumer’s Electronics Association (CEA) and two awards to James Snow, JR., M.D and Frank Lin, M.d., Ph.D. Richard Einhorn gave keynote address of A Life in Music After Hearing Loss.

 

HLAA’s new exhibitor and sponsor, INNOCaptions, showed a film of users demonstrating incoming and outgoing calls using INNOCaption’s new, free app. The app functions with nearly any smartphone that utilizes Android or iPhone operating systems available with virtually any network provider. The app is intended for people with hearing loss who want to use their voice on their smart phone, but need assistance hearing the third party. The smart phone must have a voice and data plan. INNOCaption uses a patented technology in conjunction with live steno writers.

HLAA President, Anna Gilmore Hall presented National Access Award to Consumer’s Electronics Association (CEA) and two awards to James Snow, JR., M.D and Frank Lin, M.d., Ph.D. Richard Einhorn gave keynote address of A Life in Music After Hearing Loss.

Later Thursday evening everyone attended a Get Acquainted Party sponsored by Caption Call from 8:30 – 10:30 to kick off the convention to meet up with old friends and meet new friends. Lite appetizers and cash bar got everyone off to a great time.   Those that stayed at the main hotel also continued catching up with friends in the lobby after the party was over.

IMG_3865Friday’s big event was “Emerging Technology for People with Hearing Loss” (page 44). The moderator, Steve Ewell from the CEA Foundation, supports seniors and people with disabilities through innovative programs. This session was about companies who have developed devices to help individuals with disabilities, which certain people with hearing loss had no answers to help make life easier for them.

One of the speakers, Bruce Borenstein, won the Consumer Electronics Association’s 2013 Innovation Entrepreneur Award as Small Business Executive of the Year. Bruce is President and CEO of AfterShokz.  AfterShokz wireless stereo headphones use vibrations to conduct sound off of your cheekbones and deliver it straight to your inner ear. It bypasses the eardrum. It can be worn with or without hearing aids to hear environmental sounds. It does not work with cochlear implant users as this device works with people who have good cochlears.   People with sensorial loss also cannot wear the wireless headphones.   It is T-coil compatible.

There were also three other presentations.   Etomotic Research, Inc. had Dr Mead Killion and Dr Gail Gudmundsen present two assistive technologies: The Companion Mics and the BEAN – Quiet Sound Amplifier.   They have a saying, “if friends don’t want you to hold a mic to talk to you, then you should get some better friends”.   Maybe we all should check out their website, right?

Panasonic Corporation presentor, Tony Janionowski, presented Viera Accessible HDTVs that have voice Interaction to operator the TV, change settings and conduct online searches with verbal commands. It also has text-to-speech capability and can read aloud to you from on-screen web page content or SNS messages.

On Friday evening several bus loads traveled to feast on Texas BBQ at Historic Scholz Bier Garten, sponsored by Sprint CapTel, as some lively HLAA folks line-danced to sounds Hot Texas Swing Band. It was a lot of fun!  There was one lucky convention attendee who won two American Airline gift cards in the raffle drawing.   After the dancing, some convention attendees stay up long hours talking at the hotel.

 

Saturday schedule was another full day of another 20 workshops and 6 demos to choose from.   I attended several State/Chapter workshops, which I shared with our HLAAKC steering committee.   Saturday night’s banquet featured Gael Hannan – Where’s the Music.   Everyone had lots of laughs and Music by Kenny Luna playing songs from the last five decades.

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Sunday morning there was a Worship Service for anyone who wished to join and if we sung off key, no one would notice, would they?   Lastly, I attended the Awards Breakfast and Ceremony sponsored by Cap Tel Captioned Telephone.   It was good food and company with new friends around the table.   It is truly amazing listening to all the 75+ fancy awards given to so many who have excelled in contributing to Hearing Loss Association of America. All recipients deserve the recognition of their time and talents.

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After the awards, many went on their way back to their home.   Some of us stayed and toured Austin. We went to I Fly Austin, an indoor sky diving adventure. Our family also went bat watching on Lady Bird Lake.   We explored a 1968 special exhibit at the Bullock Museum and toured the Texas Capital.

 

Other benefits I received from attending were stopping at my manufacturer’s cochlear implant exhibit booth to find out new technology devices that are compatible with my implant. Sometimes your audiologist does not have enough time to cover every aspect of technology.   Exhibits are also a great place to compare brands of listening devices, phones, etc. all under one roof. At my manufacturer’s booth, I had a chance to catch up with Jacob Landis of Jacob’s Ride who is planning his next plight to reach his goal of $1 million to help those who could benefit from a CI, but cannot avoid one.

Another notable cherished moment was when I found another person who has a similar hearing loss story to mine who wears the same manufacturer of my cochlear implant.

Still another grateful reason has been connecting to a professor who was scheduled to present a slideshow at the convention.   It has been wonderful networking with her professional background to pursue new insight to hearing the best I can.

These exciting and unexpected networking opportunities can happen to you and all those attending who are connected to someone with hearing loss. I enjoyed meeting other people who have no hearing loss and know they equally enjoyed being there. Perhaps a hearing spouse or friend would enjoy themselves and get involved.

So, why not begin enjoying the top ten reasons to join HLAA now and my 11th reason to see many Kansas Citians in St. Louis next June?  Kansas City HLAA members also enjoy our popular annual spring picnic and vendor event, educational presentations, ice cream & coffee socials, special social events and annual Holiday party.   When you join HLAA (previous link) the headquarters will automatically enroll you as a member of the nearest HLAA Chapter by your zip code.   So, for most readers of this blog, your membership at the national level includes your membership to the HLAA KC Chapter.

It is my hopes that you have learned at least one new thing from my experience at 2014 HLAA Convention.   My decision to post this is to reach more people in the convenience of their home verses a one-time only presentation at a fixed date and time. There were more convention workshops I wanted to attend, but often very desirable workshops were scheduled at the same time and I had to choose. As you can tell, there was so much more to do than I have covered here. For a complete wrap up of this years convention watch for the Sept/Oct Hearing Loss Magazine which is a benefit for members. So, why not join HLAA now?

Some people earn HLAA Scholarships to the convention, posted by mid November and deadline is February 20, 2014.   By attending the 30th HLAA 2015 convention, you will come back richly rewarded with new information, have up-to-date information on all the laws which help us have equal access to communication and make new friends from all over America!! Keep in the loop with the latest news on HLAA’s 30th Convention in St. Louis June 25-28, 2015 and look forward to seeing you there!

If you have any questions, please send us email at hlaakc@gmail.com!

Open-Captioned Movie at The Alamo Drafthouse – Friday, Sept. 27 at 7pm!

2013 has been a great year for open-captioned movies in Kansas City! First, there was Monsters University open-captioned at The Boulevard Drive-In Theater in July, followed by the double feature, Planes/The Lone Ranger in August at the same location. A huge thanks to JJ Jones, The Whole Person and CinemaKC for their hard work in bringing open captions back to KC!

This month, HLAAKC is happy to be part of the effort to encourage local theaters to show open-captioned movies. As part of Deaf Awareness Week, we are thrilled to announce that the movie Rush will be shown at 7pm on Friday, Sept. 27 at The Alamo Drafthouse in downtown Kansas City (1400 Main St., Kansas City, MO 64105 – formerly AMC Mainstreet)! Click here to reserve your tickets online – this will help you select and reserve your seats! Order them today!

rush

The Alamo is a dine-in theater, so you can order your dinner and snacks right from your seat — servers will bring you your food and drink! Doors open at 6:15; join us at 6:45 for a special pre-show presentation from Cady Macfee from Hamilton Relay, who will be presenting the Deaf Community Leader Award.

alamo

Afterwards, hit up the Power and Light District with your friends – the fun doesn’t have to end when the movie’s over!

A few notes about The Alamo:

— No talking/no texting policy is strictly enforced – enjoy the movie free from distractions!
— Patrons must be 18 or older, or accompanied by a parent/guardian.
— Click here for directions and parking info

Thank you, Alamo Drafthouse, for providing an accessible movie for those of us with hearing loss!

See you Friday, Sept. 27!

Click here for more information about Deaf Awareness Week.

Open-Captioned Drive-In Movie event a great success! August 30 event coming up

The Boulevard Drive-In Theatre was packed on the evening of July 11, 2013. Cars lined up right next to each other, row upon row of cars, filling the entire parking lot.  People brought out lawn chairs and blankets, and drinks and snacks as they awaited the start of the “Monsters University” movie.  People from all over the Kansas City area gathered to watch an open-captioned movie on the big screen in the beautiful outdoors.  This was the appeal of the movie, where deaf, hard-of-hearing, and hearing individuals could all enjoy a drive-in movie theatre, with captions included.

Although there are indoor movie theaters that have caught on to the importance of captions to be used during movies, the drive-in theaters have been slower to adapt to new technology. Thanks to The Whole Person and Cinema K.C. partnering to make this event happen, more than 500 people came to watch the open-captioned movie.

Because the event was so successful, a DOUBLE FEATURE open captioned movie at the Boulevard Drive-In Theatre will be held on August 30 at 9 p.m. “Planes” and “The Lone Ranger” are the movies featured. The address for the movie theatre is 1051 Merriam Lane, Kansas City, KS 66103.  Ticket costs are $10 a person to watch two movies for the price of one!  Kids under 11 can go for FREE.

(Image posted on https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10201342091450250&set=oa.187866078040275&type=1&theater)

Below is a link to the Youtube video about the previous event on July 11. Feel free to check out more what this is all about!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5rq5prTl6o

Hearing Assistive Technology workshop recap

 By Andy Chandler

A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of attending a Hearing Assistive Technology (HAT) workshop sponsored by HLAA and the Consumer Electronic Association Foundation (CEA).  CEA paid for the attendees’ hotel rooms and meals during the workshop (thanks, CEA!).  All I had to do was get myself to Bethesda, which I was able to do, thanks to Southwest Airline points (thanks Southwest!)

As you might guess from the title, the weekend workshop centered on using technology to address the challenges of hearing loss. It was like a mini-HLAA convention, which means the very best part of the workshop was meeting people from all over the country, including Hawaii!  There were about 25 of us, some old hands with assistive technology, and some brand new to the topic.

The workshop was presented by Brad Ingrao, an audiologist from Florida, and a frequent speaker at national HLAA events. You might recognize Brad’s name from the HLAA magazine, where he writes a monthly column. What I like about Brad is that he can be a curmudgeon about his profession. It’s not all peaches and roses, as some hearing aid and CI manufactures claim. Brad made two key points about hearing aids and cochlear implants:

  • They make bad hearing less bad (notice it doesn’t say, “make bad hearing good”).
  • They work well, up to 6 feet away from the source of the sound.

So that’s why we use assistive technology — to make hearing better beyond six feet. How do we do that?  That’s what we covered in the workshop, learning about technologies such as:

  • Looping, FM and infrared systems
  • Television and telephone amplification
  • Telephone relay services
  • Personal listening devices (which sometimes can work as well as hearing aids, and are a lot cheaper)
  • CART and captioning (my personal favorite!)
  • Smartphones and the Internet

We talked a lot about loops and telecoils. A lot of people think it’s outdated technology, as it’s been around for a while. In reality, it’s gotten better over the years, and it’s one of the most accessible and effective technologies — as long as your aids/CI have a telecoil. But to loop a space correctly, whether it’s a ticket booth or an auditorium, takes some audio engineering, and should be done by an experienced professional.

Of course, the best part of any HLAA gathering is the people you meet, and the gatherings that take place outside the official workshop events. There is something life-affirming about meeting others who share a hearing loss. At the workshop, at HLAA conventions and meetings, we are the majority. We understand what it means to live with a hearing loss and the challenges thereof. And darn if we weren’t going to do whatever was needed to understand one another!

photo

Here’s a picture of a few of us enjoying one of Bethesda’s finer restaurants (I’m the guy on the right, in blue). I’m sure the wait staff had never seen so many hearing aids, CIs and ALDs at one table!

The reason CEA and HLAA sponsored this workshop was not just for the benefit of the attendees. In return for providing a “scholarship” (i.e, paying for lodging and food), attendees agree to take the information back to their local communities.  So if you or your organization(s) are interested in learning more about Hearing Assistive Technology, I would be delighted to share what I learned. Just contact HLAAKC at hlaakc@gmail.com or give me a shout at aqchandler@gmail.com.

If you are interested in attending a HAT training weekend, the next one is September 6-8 in Sarasota, Fla. For more information, including how to apply for the class, visit HLAA’s website. The deadline to apply is Tuesday, Aug. 13. 

Our Amazing Captioning Panel

By Terri Shirley

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HLAAKC’s event, Captioning Panel, held Monday, April 29th, was chock full of surprises and educational for everyone.  With all our energy to change the world one idea at a time, we soaked up knowledge and exchanged suggestions between the audience and the expert panelists.

20/20 Captioning & StenoCART – Real-time Captioning

The first panelist, the lovely and interesting Jeanette Christian, Founder & President of 20/20 Captioning & stenoCART, explained her chosen profession of real time captioning, also called Communication Access Real-Time Translation (CART).   As Jeanette spoke, our attendees never missed a word as conversation was relayed remotely from a captionist located in Raytown.

For all of our speakers that evening, their spoken words translated into typed words behind the speaker on a projector screen.   Our audience questions were also transcribed into written words on screen at front of meeting room, behind the speaker.  CART can also be displayed on personal electronic devices if projection screen is not available or not desired.

Jeanette engaged our audience with real stories of her work helping the hearing connect with the people who have hearing loss through the use of captioning.  She helped a medical student who has very little hearing.   Jeanette’s real-time captioning remotely came right into the surgery room.  With an iPod hanging from an IV-pole and an iPod hung around an interpreter’s neck, the student could understand the details of the surgery with CART.

If you need TV captioning or CART at work, school, conferences, place of worship, courtroom, graduations, weddings or even funeral services, go to http://www.2020captioning.com/contact  for information.

Theater League – Captioning Tablets

Our second panelist, Mark Edelman, Executive Director from Theater League, proudly displayed his new equipment consisting of a sleek thin captioning tablet programmed to display the dialog of actors.  Mark also presented a snazzy, new compact stand which the captioning tablet can clamp onto the stand to keep it secure.  The captioning tablet is a big upgrade from the older, heavier Mobile Demand device, which sat on a music stand. With the new upgraded system, software is downloaded onto the captioning tablets or your own personal entertainment devices (PED’s), such as iPads, or even smart phones.

There are five captioning tablets available now and soon there will be a total of ten tablets available for each performance.  If you would like to spoil yourself with a live Broadway performance, please contact Catherine Cone from Theater League at catherine.cone@theaterleague.org with any questions or for reserving a captioning tablet.

After years of not attending live theater, I am elated to have season tickets for the upcoming year to see Wicked, Sister Act, War Horse, Bring It On and Rat Pack Show.   Season tickets are not required to be able to reserve a captioning tablet.   Come have some fun at a Broadway performance soon!

Regal Cinema – Sony Entertainment Glasses

The third panelist, JoAnna Mattson, General Manager for Kansas City Regal Cinemas, brought the Sony Entertainment glasses.   She discussed the closed captioning features the glasses deliver to movie patrons, even with 3D movies.   Many new people in the audience had never seen these stylish devices that can also help those with loss of vision with its audio assist function.

Welcome, Trivia, invisible CAPTIONS & Finale

We had open question and answer time between audience and panelists.   We marveled over these high technology devices that help bridge those with hearing loss to enjoy life more fully at the movies, conferences and live theater. During this open time, we learned from listening to our audience and those that actually need captioning.  One member introduced us to invisible CAPTIONS, a potential new invention that features glasses that users can wear which could be lightweight and more durable than current captioning products used in the movies.

Coming from the years when captioning was non-existent, to the 1980’s of the Sears Telecaption Adaptor box, to what we experienced that evening at our Captioning Panel was very moving. It is a beautiful thing to have captioning professionals mesh ideas with people who have hearing loss and share in our hopes and dreams for the future.

Thank you Jeanette, Mark, and JoAnna, for taking time to show us your devices and your dedication to our deaf and hard-of-hearing community. Also, I give a special thank you to April Dunlap for interpreting and Emily Goldman of Photos4Good for donating your time to photograph our captioning panel event for our non-profit organization.

Our next social will be Saturday, June 8th from 4-8pm at Shawnee Mission Park, Shelter #8.   Please see our Facebook page for details and keep an eye on our emails.

Thank you everyone for joining us!

HLAAKC Committee - Anna, Lucy, Andy, Minda and Terri

HLAAKC Committee – Anna, Lucy, Andy, Minda and Terri

Viewing song lyrics on your iPhone

NOTE: this post refers to iTunes and Apple products (iPhone/iPad/iPod). It is not all-inclusive information for all smart phones or music players. Additionally, there are tons of lyric apps out there that are great to use. This is just the method I find the simplest.

Music love = lyric love

I love music. No, I LOVE music. And I really love being able to read the lyrics of a song while it’s playing. It makes it so much easier to understand what’s being sung, and to learn the song! When I was in high school, I used to make mix tapes and CDs. I’d also make my own CD sleeves/linear notes and print out all the lyrics for the songs that were on that mix.

Nowadays, you can carry your entire music library with you on one tiny device. Nobody carries CDs and linear notes around anymore. Heck, nobody makes mix tapes anymore!! So now, If I’m playing a song on my iPhone and I want to see the words, I look them up on my phone’s browser, or use an alternate app to find them. These are both perfectly satisfactory means of finding lyrics, but you have to perform these motions every time you want to see the words. A bit of a hassle, eh?

Recently, I was surfing around the vast internet and discovered a very cool, very simple lyric tool that has been around for AGES. For whatever reason, it’s not a well-known one. Well, at least to me. In case the rest of you are living under a rock just like me, here’s the coolest thing I’ve seen since they invented bread (and that’s saying a lot for me).

Viewing the lyrics

Let’s use a Johnny Cash song for an example. If you view the current playing song via the lockscreen of your iPhone, this is what you normally see [see figure 1]. This is good because it allows you to quickly view the album artwork and what song is playing.

figure 1

figure 1: lockscreen showing the song that is currently playing.

If you unlock the iPhone and view the current song from the music app, this is where you’ll see the lyrics overlaying the album artwork [see figure 2]. In this screen, you can scroll up and down to read all the lyrics as the song plays. Isn’t this the COOLEST thing since sliced bread?? I tried to tell you!

figure 2

figure 2: viewing the current song in your music app – the lyrics overlay the album art.

How to add lyrics in iTunes

Now, this isn’t an automatic service that is provided. You have to add the lyrics to songs yourself. So how do you achieve this? By placing the lyrics to the song in iTunes! Here’s the manual song-by-song method of achieving this:

In iTunes, click once on the song you want to add lyrics to so it’s highlighted [see figure 3]. Go to File – Get Info (or click command+I on a Mac).

figure 3

figure 3

You’ll see several different options in the dialogue box that opens. Go to the Lyrics panel and you’ll see a blank box. Here is where you can put the lyrics to the song (or any other information you want). I look up the song lyrics online and copy and paste them into this box [see figure 4].

figure 4

figure 4

Close the box, and sync your phone. The next time you open the song on your iPhone, the lyrics will be there! (Side note: you can put any kind of text you want in this box, whether it be lyrics, notes, writer’s notations, etc. It can be anything you want!)

How to add lyrics – a second option

Now, if you’re anything like me, you’ve got THOUSANDS of songs in iTunes. Who wants to sit there and manually copy and paste lyrics to a thousand songs?? Not me! I went and found an application that will grab lyrics for you, saving you a ton of time. Get Lyrical is a free download that you can install and using with iTunes.

In order to make this work, you select a range of songs, or an album or playlist, in iTunes. Then, in Get Lyrical, you have a couple of options to tag a song with lyrics [see figure 5]. You can tag what you have selected, the current song playing, or set up an active tagging script that will tag songs as you play them. Whatever you prefer to do! See Get Lyrical‘s website for more information.

figure 5

figure 5: Get Lyrical’s application

Comments?

Got a question or a comment? I’d love to hear it! Feel free to comment on this post, or drop me a line!

 

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Disclaimer: I was not asked to review any of the products or services in this post. This review and tutorial is based on my own experiences and observations. Additionally, technology is always changing and these applications/methods may change in the future. I am not responsible for any potential discrepancy in methodology.

Live theater captioning comes to Kansas City!

I grew up in my own little world of musicals. My alone time was often spent lip-syncing to “Sixteen Going on Seventeen” from The Sound of Music, or sashaying around my house mouthing the lyrics to “If I were a Rich Man” from Fiddler on the Roof. If I was lucky and no one else was home, I would belt out my favorite solos in my own not-just-tone-deaf-but-deaf-and-unable-to-carry-a-single-tune voice. Even now, if I spend a weekend catching up on the last season of Glee, I’m prone to spend the rest of the week singing to myself and passé-ing – not walking – around my house.

What I’m trying to say is – I love Broadway musicals. I love song-and-dance numbers. I love the emotion, the choreography, the soul, the solos – all of it. But my own experience with live theater is relatively lacking. Growing up, watching a live stage production was just too much work for me. Sign language interpreters helped clue me in to the dialogue going on onstage, but watching the interpreter meant missing the stage action. Opting to watch the actors instead of the interpreters meant I missed out on important lines. I preferred to stick to videos and later, DVDs, so I could enjoy the story with captions and subtitles.

Then last summer, something wonderful happened. At the 2011 HLAA National Convention in Washington, D.C., HLAA arranged for convention goers to attend a captioned live performance of the musical Wicked. I was a little skeptical – accustomed to sign language interpreters, I could not wrap my head around using captions to understand something that was going on live in front of me. I am so glad HLAA introduced me to live theater captioning – thanks to their efforts and the cooperation of the John F. Kennedy Performing Arts Center, I was able to fully enjoy a live theater performance for the first time! I watched the captions in conjunction with the stage performers, much like I use CaptiView to watch a movie. It took a bit getting used to moving my eyes from the captions to the stage, but since I am used to captions on the TV, it was much easier transition for me than I thought it would be. I left the convention with one goal in mind: Bring live theater captioning to Kansas City.

Earlier this year, I found out that Les Miserables, one of my favorite musicals, would be coming to Kansas City and immediately started asking questions. Could it be captioned? Who would caption it?  How do I contact the theater? The production company? After a few months of dead ends and wild goose chases, I happened to see a billboard advertising Les Miz being brought to Kansas City by the Theater League. I sent the Theater League and email and discovered they already had a captioning device available. Mark Edelman, Executive Director of the Theater League, graciously invited members of our HLAAKC Steering Committee to check it out.

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Mr. Edelman and his team, recognizing the need for captions of live performances and understanding that not all deaf or hard of hearing patrons are able to understand American Sign Language, developed the device to assist their guests. “We wanted to come up with an audio description system that could be utilized at any performance and did not require familiarity with ASL,” he said.

The Theater League currently has two Mobile Demands that use PowerPoint to display captions for the theater patron. A transmitter set up in the theater controls the flow of the captions so that all the patron has to do is sit back, relax and enjoy the show.

“We ask the producers of each Broadway show we present to send us a copy of the script in some sort of digital form (usually MS Word). We pay to have that format re-written in PowerPoint,” Edelman explained. “I go through the PowerPoint and make changes consistent with the flow of the show. The PowerPoint is transferred to the Audio Description System’s dedicated lap-top. We hook up the transmitter in the theater, hand out the receivers, explain the process and we’re ready to go.”

The Mobile Demand can be placed on a music stand for hands-free viewing during the show, or be held in the patron’s lap. Using the music stand requires specific, accessible seating; holding the device enables the patron more freedom to sit where they like. Once you are at the performance, Edelman explains, the “Presentation Manager will come to your seat, give you the device, explain its operation and turn it on for you.”

All of Theater League’s shows are available with captions, with the exception of shows that have no spoken dialogue or lyrics (such as Tap Dogs, Stomp or Blue Man Group). Click here for a complete list of upcoming Theater League shows in Kansas City.

If you would like to see a show from the Theater League, using the captioning device, simply contact the Theater League with the name of the show and the date(s) you are available to attend. With only two captioning devices available, it’s possible that you may need to choose alternate dates if the devices are in use somewhere else or otherwise spoken for. Catherine Cone, the Director of Ticketing for the Theater League, will help you purchase the appropriate seat for your needs.

Catherine Cone
Director of Ticketing
Theater League
9140 Ward Parkway, Suite 220
Kansas City, MO 64114
816-559-3863 (direct phone)
816-421-4979 (fax)
catherine.cone@theaterleague.org

The Theater League also offers audio description for visually-impaired guests. For more information about the Theater League, please visit their website or email Mark Edelman at tlmedelman@gmail.com.

Thank you, Theater League, for helping make the arts more accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing community in Kansas City!

Do you know of other captioned live events? Let us know in the comments or send us an email at hlaakc@gmail.com.

Show Us the Captions – come to the movies with us!

Show Us the Captions is almost here! This nationwide advocacy campaign is the brainchild of Sarah Wegley, the social chair for the Chicago chapter of the Association for Late Deafened Adults. Sarah blogs at Speak Up Librarian and tells the story of how Show Us the Captions was born here. The campaign is sponsored by Collaborative for Communication Access via Captioning.

You can find out more information about the national campaign by checking out the Show Us the Captions Facebook page, or by checking out CCAC’s “Show Us the Captions!” page on their website.

HLAAKC is proud to be part of this advocacy effort; movie captioning is a subject near and dear to our hearts! If you would like to see a movie with friends from HLAAKC, some of our volunteers will be at the following theaters and times on Saturday, Nov. 17:

AMC Studio 30 – Olathe, KS – noon
Cinemark 20 Merriam – Merriam, KS – 2pm
Cinemark Palace at the Plaza – Kansas City, MO – 2pm
Regal Kansas City Stadium 18 — 4pm 

AMC 30 and both Cinemark theaters offer CaptiView devices, and will have several movies and times to choose from. If you would like to join us at one of the theaters listed above, please sign up on our event page on Sign Up Genius. This allows us to ensure that there will be enough CaptiView devices available for everyone for that time period.

If you are interested in seeing an open-captioned movie, Regal 18 will be showing the movie Skyfall open-captioned at 4pm. You do not need to reserve a captioning device for this showing, but please sign up so we know how many people to expect. Friends and family are welcome – the more, the merrier!

And if you can’t make it to the movies with an HLAAKC group, no worries! Please feel free to attend whenever you can make it – we simply want to thank the theaters for their accessibility and increase public awareness of movie captioning. So grab a friend or two and go to the movies!

If you would like to see a movie on your own, here are links to the theaters in Kansas City that have told us they have captioning available for their movies. Captioned content and movie times are subject to change, so be sure to check with the theater before you go.

 AMC Studio 30
12075 S. Strang Line Road
Olathe, KS 66062

AMC Barrywoods 24
8101 Roanridge Road
Kansas City, MO 64151

Cinemark 20
5500 Antioch
Merriam, KS 66202

Cinemark Palace at the Plaza
526 Nichols Rd.
Kansas City, MO 64112

Regal Kansas City Stadium 18
3200 Ameristar Drive
Kansas City, MO 64161

If you have any questions or are having trouble signing up, shoot us an email at hlaakc@gmail.com. We’re happy to help!

See you on November 17!

Moonrise Kingdom Captioned at AMC 30

HLAAKC would like to thank steering committee member Terri Shirley for her efforts to bring more captioning options to local movie theaters.  Terri recently worked with AMC to bring a captioned movie of her choice to AMC Studio 30 and we hope you are as encouraged by her efforts as we are. Terri’s experience is a great example that with respect and a little persistence, advocacy can be successful for all of us!

During my recent trip to California, I had the opportunity to see this delightful movie called Moonrise Kingdom. The film is about two misfit 12-year-olds lovers who run away from their charming New England town, which has far-reaching affects on their little community. This romantic, dramatic comedy kept me chuckling throughout the entire movie. The full house audience gave it a standing ovation at the end.  I looked forward to watching it when I got back home to Kansas City with my family and friends.

The theater in California had CaptiView and other listening devices like our KC movie theaters do. I assumed because our local theaters used the same technology that I would be able to see this captioned in KC also. To my surprise, the movie was not captioned at any of our local theaters.

Disappointed, I spent a week contacting area theaters, trying to find one that would caption this movie. The manager of AMC Studio 30 agreed to have Moonrise Kingdom captioned by Friday, July 6.  This was not as simple as it sounds as he explained that the week of Friday, June 22, Studio 30 began a process of upgrading much of the networking to their projection systems. This upgrade is not yet complete and had resulted in the reduced ability to offer more movies captioned. At present, Studio 30 has approximately nine screens that are CaptiView-enabled. When the upgrade is complete, Studio 30 will return to having nearly every one of their 30 screens capable of supporting closed captions. Even with the theater in the middle of these upgrades, the AMC 30 manager was able to modify their movie schedules to provide Moonrise Kingdom captioned for the Kansas City community.

I plan to see this movie and invite you to join me in showing AMC 30 that their efforts are needed and appreciated. The movie is rated PG-13 and was given 8.3 stars on IMDb. If you are in need of using captioning or listening devices and are not familiar with how to use them, please go to the customer service counter.  Allow at least 15-30 minutes to get settled in with the device.  We encourage you to invite your hearing family and friends so they can understand the captioning will not interfere with enjoying the movie.

Thanks so much for your support!

LiveStrong Stadium improves its captioning board

It’s been a great summer of Sporting Kansas City games. I’ve enjoyed it immensely. The new stadium is absolutely gorgeous. And, as of Saturday, SKC is first in the Eastern Conference MLS rankings! Playoffs, here we come!

Now, what I really wanted to show you was an incredible improvement that the LiveStrong stadium has made. Remember this post?

Well, LiveStrong Stadium has made a big change! The captions are now two lines tall, and very easy to read even from the farthest corner of the stadium. I’m thrilled!!

Here’s a view of the screen at 100%, no zooming, from where I was sitting at Saturday’s game. (Click on the photo to get a full view)

And here’s a zoomed shot of the screen.

See how big it is now? It’s so much better than before. Great improvement. Kudos, LiveStrong!

Cinemark gave me the freedom to choose

When I was a child, I didn’t have a lot of options when it came to my hearing loss. I could only choose from the few analog hearing aids available. Going to see a movie in the theater was the stuff my dreams were made of. Talking on the phone was out of the question. I could only be accommodated as much as technology would allow.

Today, I get to choose. My hearing aids have gone digital, my CapTel phone gives me the freedom to chat and – at long last – my movie dreams are being fulfilled. I heard that Cinemark added a new closed captioning device called CaptiView to their Plaza location and decided to give it a try. My friend and I went to an evening showing of Rise of the Planet of the Apes. We ordered our tickets and received the equipment without incident (though one of the employees didn’t seem quite sure what we were asking for… the manager came along and helped us out, though).

I didn’t get a chance to take a picture while the movie was playing, but I did snap this one after the movie was over. This is the CaptiView screen:

The screen attaches to a bendable “neck” which is connected to a solid “anchor” that fits in your cup holder. If you’ve ever used Rear Window Captioning (RWC), the general design is similar. Unlike RWC, the CaptiView system is much steadier – the screen mostly stayed in one place when I adjusted it. However, the anchor part had a hard time staying in the cup holder – I think the CaptiView could use a minor redesign so that the screen part isn’t heavier than the anchor. I ended up holding the anchor in place so I could enjoy the movie without moving the screen every few seconds.

The captions run on a different technology than RWC and do not reflect captions from a screen at the back of the theater the way that RWC does. Instead, the captions run on a “wireless band frequency” and I will tell you right now that means nothing to this former English major. 😉 What it does mean is that I did not have to sit in a specific area of the auditorium in order to reflect any captions – I got to choose where I wanted to sit!

The CaptiView screen is not very large, less than a foot wide and a few inches tall (I hope you appreciate my precise measurements there… again, former English major. I don’t speak numbers.). There are three slants that divide each line of dialogue. The CaptiView information sheet explains that this is to ensure privacy and minimize disruption for neighboring patrons. The slants did not bother me too much but because the CaptiView would tilt slowly (even while I was holding the anchor), the slants would obscure some of the text, so I would have to fidget with the screen every now and then.

The text itself was easy to read and I was able to (mostly) position the CaptiView device so that it was, from my perspective, right underneath the screen. While following the movie wasn’t quite as effortless as it would have been with open captions (seeing all the action and dialogue on the same screen), it still was a much more seamless experience than my past encounters with RWC technology. The text size was not an issue for me, but it was definitely much smaller than open captions or TV captions are. Some people may find it helpful to bring their reading glasses or be prepared to adjust the screen so that it is closer or further away.

When we dropped off the devices after the movie, I was able to chat briefly with one of the customer service representatives. She confirmed that the Plaza location has eight CaptiView devices and – my favorite part – ANY movie that is offered in digital format is available with captions (the only caveat is that 3D movies are currently not available with captions)! This means any movie, any showing (just be sure you are looking at the digital showings and not the standard format showings)… can you hear the Hallelujah Chorus right now?! Because I certainly can! 🙂

There were, however, a few downsides and some of them just boil down to my personal preference and perception. I’m not crazy about the extra work required for someone who is deaf or hard of hearing to see a movie. Requesting the equipment sometimes creates an awkward exchange if the employee behind the counter isn’t sure what you’re talking about. Walking through the theater with the device and then fidgeting in my seat to adjust the screen draws a bit of attention and I’m a shy lady… so feeling a few more eyes on me is not the most comfortable experience. I found it hard to get “lost” in the movie because I kept flickering back and forth between the CaptiView and the movie screen and had to adjust it every once in a while… I had to think about what was going on in the movie AND whether or not I was getting all the information. I’m still pining for the days of open captions, but I think that the CaptiView system is a valiant effort to fill the gap between RWC and open captions.

Overall, I had a good experience with Cinemark and CaptiView and would definitely go again because I have so many more options… I’m still trying to wrap my head around any movie, any time! 🙂

If you’re interested in seeing a movie at Cinemark on the Plaza, you can check their website, give them a call at 816-756-5877 or email them at E271@cinemark.com.

Join Us April 16th for *Free* Captioned “Narnia” Movie

 
Join us next Saturday, April 16th, for a *free* KC HLAA Chapter Captioned Movie Social. The fun will be from 2:00-5:00pm at The Whole Person, 7301 Mission Rd # 135, Prairie Village, KS. The movie is “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” rated PG and closed captioned. Complimentary popcorn and bottled water will be provided. Feel free to bring your friends, family members (kids welcome), and favorite snacks for this exciting event!
 
Here is a synopsis of the “Voyage” movie:
 
             Lucy and Edmund Pevensie return to Narnia with their cousin Eustace where they meet up with Prince Caspian for a trip across the sea aboard the royal ship The Dawn Treader. Along the way they encounter dragons, dwarves, merfolk, and a band of lost warriors before reaching the edge of the world.
 
Questions? Contact us at hlaakc@gmail.com.

How to find captioned movies in Kansas City

With AMC’s recent addition of RWC systems to its theaters, deaf and hard of hearing Kansas Citians have more choices than ever before for enjoying a captioned movie! The links below will help you find show times at local theaters. Let’s thank AMC for their efforts by enjoying a captioned film at one of their six locations:

Mainstreet 6
1400 Main Street
Kansas City, MO 64105
(816) 474-4545

Ward Parkway 14
8600 Ward Parkway
Kansas City, MO 64114
(816) 333-1300

Barrywoods 24
8101 Roanridge Rd.
Kansas City, MO 64151
(816) 505-9199

Town Center 20
11701 Nall Avenue
Leawood, KS 66211
(913) 498-8696

Studio 30
12075 So Strang Line Rd.
Olathe, KS 66062
(913) 393-2262

You might also find the links below helpful in determining movies and show times:

Captionfish shows you all the accessible theaters in your area and what movies are playing for the date(s) you select. While we can’t guarantee the accuracy of the show times listed on Captionfish, it’s a great one-stop site to let you know what’s playing at accessible theaters in your area. In Kansas City, this means that Captionfish should list information for both AMC and Regal theaters. To ensure accurate show times, however, please check with the theater listed.

AMC Accessible Films shows you all the captioned films playing at their theaters for the date(s)  you select. According to the website, all six Kansas City AMC theaters have some kind of captioning capability. Mainstreet, Barrywoods, Independence, Town Center and Studio 30 all have RWC devices and Ward Parkway occasionally offers open captioned movies. Contact the theater directly for questions about show times and RWC equipment availability.

Regal Cinemas Open Captioned Films will link you to the show times for open captioned films being shown at their theater.
3200 Ameristar Drive
Kansas City, MO 64161
(816) 454-7921

Let’s get out there and show our support! Ready? Annnnnd…. ACTION! 🙂

More AMC theaters offering captioned movies

If you’ve been following our blog for a while, you know we’ve been working with AMC to bring more captioned movies to Kansas City. Thanks to efforts by HLAA’s Terri Shirley and Shanna Groves, AMC has installed RWC (Rear Window Captioning) in additional theaters and closed captioned films are now available at the Barrywoods, Independence and Olathe locations. Below is the latest update from Melissa Johnson, Director of Guest Services at AMC:

“Thank you for your continued interest and understanding as we have worked through the many technical issues involved in delivering captioned content after our conversion to digital cinema.  AMC is committed to improving access to movies for deaf and hard of hearing guests at our theatres and understands your frustration with the delays.  We are pleased to inform you that the Rear Window Captioning (“RWC”) systems at our Barrywoods, Independence and Olathe locations are once again operable.

AMC has long been an industry leader in providing access to closed captions, installing more than 160 RWC systems throughout the country.  We have not significantly expanded the number of RWC installations in recent years due to the planned conversion of our theatres from traditional 35mm to digital projection technology which commenced on a large scale last year.  RWC systems were not compatible with digital cinema and we anticipated that the digital projection technology would provide a platform for new closed captioning systems that would be both more cost-effective and provide a more user friendly experience for our theatre guests.

Unfortunately, new digital captioning technologies did not develop as quickly as we had hoped and as we commenced conversion of our theatres to digital projection, our existing RWC systems became inoperable and there were no digital based captioning systems commercially available.  AMC technicians have been working diligently with our technology vendors to find a solution to allow continued showing of closed captions at our digital theatres.  We believe we now have the necessary hardware and software configurations to provide a bridge between the digital servers and the existing RWC displays.  As mentioned above, this has allowed us to bring the existing RWC systems back online at our digital theatres in the Kansas City area.

In addition, we are evaluating various new digital closed captioning systems.  These systems will broadcast captions into the theatre auditorium to a display device (likely either a seat mounted LCD device or special eyeglasses) used by the theatre guest.  We are in the process of installing prototypes of these systems at several auditoriums in our Kansas City theatres (including 6 additional auditoriums at Studio 30 in Olathe) for further evaluation.  The systems are technologically complex and require compatibility across hardware, software and digital files from multiple providers.  However, we expect to have these systems operational within the coming weeks.

We anticipate selecting a digital captioning system for our theatres in the coming months based on the results of our tests.  After that, it is our intention to commence installations that will significantly increase the availability of captions at our theatres.  The exact number of auditoriums to be equipped with captioning systems will depend on a number of factors including equipment selection and cost, guest preferences and demand, technological compatibility, and captioned content availability.  At this time we cannot commit to you that captions will be available for all movies at all showings.  In particular, it should be noted that captions are not provided by the studios and distributors for all movies shown in our theatres.”

Many thanks to AMC for their professional and courteous responses to our requests!