A second multiplex theatre in California has installed Motion Picture Access - a new technology which enables blind, visually impaired, deaf and hard of hearing patrons to further enjoy the film. The technology - comprised of the DVS Theatrical and Rear Window Captioning systems - was developed by Boston-based Media Access Group at WGBH, a division of public broadcaster WGBH.
Loews Cineplex Entertainment has installed the technology in its Universal City Cinemas; previously General Cinemas had installed the technology into a theatre in Sherman Oaks, California.
The technology delivers audio description to blind and visually impaired patrons via infrared headsets, providing narrated descriptions of each scene's key visual elements (characters' facial expressions or gestures etc) during the natural pauses in the dialogue.
For deaf or hard-of-hearing patrons, portable small screen reflectors attached to the armrest of a seat allow them to read captions from a reverse-caption display at the back of the auditorium. The system allows them to read captions without distracting other patrons.
Media Access Group at WGBH consists of WGBH's non-profit access service departments - The Caption Center, a captioning agency for deaf and hard-of-hearing TV and film viewers, Descriptive VideoService (DVS) which provides similar services for blind and visually impaired audiences, and CPB/WGBH National Center For Accessible Media, a research and development unit working to make existing and emerging technologies more accessible.