What’s more fun than a trip to the movies? Several technologies are available to make movies accessible for people with vision or hearing loss. This summary is from VSA Minnesota.
Rear Window Captioning displays reversed captions on a light-emitting diode (LED) text display which is mounted in the rear of a theater. Patrons who are deaf or hard-of-hearing use transparent acrylic panels attached to their seats to reflect the captions so they appear super-imposed on the movie screen. The reflective panels are portable and adjustable, enabling the caption user to sit anywhere in the theater without bothering patrons in surrounding seats. The LED display is easy to read.
DVS Theatrical presents concise descriptive narration of visual cues, including actions, settings, scene changes, facial expressions and silent movement, through an FM or infrared system, making movies more meaningful to people with vision loss. The moviegoer hears the narration on a headset without disturbing other audience members and at no extra cost.
The Media Access Group at WGBH in Boston developed Rear Window Captioning and DVS Theatrical. Films equipped with MoPix or motion picture access) technology can be found by calling 617-300-3400 or TTY: 617-300-2489. Their website. Or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Some cinemas use other variations of open captioning, which is a text display of words and sounds heard during a performance, film, video, speech or dialogue. The display is “open” for anyone to see in a particular seating area. The website www.captionfish.com lists cinemas with these access features. Put in your zip code and the site will give current listings of nearby movies with open or closed captioning, an audio description track, or English subtitles in foreign films.
Minnesota theaters offer a variety of services. Contact the theater before attending as options may change.
Science Museum of Minnesota Omnitheater, 120 Kellogg Blvd. W., St. Paul, is showing five new films as part of its Omnifest 2014. The films are shown in daily rotation through Feb. 28. The films are Blue Planet, To the Limit, Great White Shark, Stomp’s World Beat (no access accommodations) and Ring of Fire. Accommodations vary by film, with some offering Captioning as well as Audio Description. Tickets are $8 adults, $7 senior/child (first film, subsequent shows get 15% discount), additional cost to tour museum; members free. Online ordering add $3 service fee.. Omnitheater tickets are $8 adults, $7 senior/child, additional cost to tour museum; members free. See more than one film and get a discount for subsequent shows. Online ordering add $3 service fee. To request accommodations for exhibits, call at least 72 hours in advance, at 651-221-9406. The museum is open Tue-Wed 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., Thu-Sat 9:30 a.m. -9 p.m., Sun 9:30 a.m. – 5 p.m., closed Mon. Phone is 651-221-9444 or 800-221-9444, option 2 for Omnitheater film times, reservations or questions; TTY is 651-221-4585. For accessibility information available here.
Landmark Theatres offer CaptiView Closed Caption Viewing Systems, which allow people to read movie dialogue from the comfort of their seat anywhere in the auditorium, and Fidelio, a wireless audio system that delivers descriptive narration for people with vision loss and amplified sound for people with hearing loss. Patrons can get a compact audio receiver with a plug-in headset at the box office or bring their own headsets. Descriptive Narration and closed captioning availability is subject to the content made available from distributors. All films are available with amplified sound through Assisted Listening Devices. The theaters are Edina Cinema, 3911 W. 50th St., Edina, phone 952-920-8796; Uptown Theatre, 2906 Hennepin Ave., Mpls, phone 612-823-3005; and Lagoon Cinema:,1320 Lagoon Ave., Mpls, phone 612-823-3020. Go here for more info.
AMC Theatres offer accessible films. Eden Prairie Mall 18 Theatres, Auditorium 7, Eden Prairie Shopping Center, 8251 Flying Cloud Drive Suite 4000, Eden Prairie; phone is 952-656-0010. Park in upper level lot between Sears and Kohl’s. AMC Rosedale 14 Theatres, Auditorium 14, 850 Rosedale Center, Roseville; phone is 651-604-9347. AMC Showplace Inver Grove 16, 5567 Bishop Ave., Inver Grove Heights, offers open captioned films generally Wed-Thu; phone is 651-453-1916. General information for all AMC Theatres is 1-888-262-4386.
Regal Theatres offers films with open captioning or descriptive video. Regal Brooklyn Center 20, 6420 Camden Ave N, Minneapolis; phone is 763-560-6300. Regal Eagan 16, 2055 Cliff Road, Eagan; phone is 651-452-8329.
Marcus Theatres in the Twin Cities, St. Cloud and Duluth now offer accessible CaptiView technology for deaf and hard of hearing guests at its digital cinemas. This closed captioning system is available for most movies and can be used at any showing for movies that are captioned using this technology. When purchasing a ticket, a guest requests the CaptiView device (about the size of a large smartphone with a screen to display the captions). Its flexible support arm is designed to fit into the cup holder of the guest’s seat, and the viewing angle can be adjusted. Patrons can also request assistive listening devices at the box office at all film showings. The wireless headphones have adjustable volume. Guests with vision loss can use these headphones as descriptive audio devices when a movie offers a descriptive audio option. Not all films are produced this way, but the number of available films is increasing. Marcus Theatres are Oakdale Ultrascreen Cinemas, 5677 Hadley Ave. N., Oakdale, 651-770-4992; Marcus Lakes Cinema, 4351 Stebner Rd., Hermantown, and Marcus Duluth Theatre, 300 Harbor Drive, Duluth, 218-729-0335.
ShowPlace ICON at West End offers listening devices. The theater is at 1625 West End Blvd., St. Louis Park, 763-515-1177.
The Film Society of Minneapolis/Saint Paul doesn’t currently have audio described or captioned films, but does offer foreign films with English captions, at St. Anthony Main Theatre, 115 SE Main St., Mpls. Phone is 612-331-7563.