Cinema subtitling technology – could 3D be the better solution?

To quote from my previous blog post:

The UK film industry is currently investigating recently-developed solutions that could improve the cinema experience further for people with hearing loss. For example, ‘personal’ inclusive caption/subtitle solutions are now available from Sony, Doremi and others that, instead of projecting captions on to the cinema screen, display them on wearable glasses or small, seat-mounted displays. So, any ‘regular’ cinema show could also be a captioned show. These solutions are already being rolled out in the US and Australia.

It’s hoped that for audience members with hearing loss, as well as cinema exhibitors and film distributors, the convenience of a personal solution, and the vastly increased choice it can offer, will be more favourable than separate, inconvenient, costly on-screen captioned shows.

SOURCE: i heart subtitles – History of Subtitling and Cinema in the UK

Now, some of these ‘personal’ devices I was lucky enough to trial which you can read about in New Subtitling Technology for TV broadcast and the cinema.

I was hopeful but not massively convinced of the benefits of the personal devices trialled. (When are the CEA going to publish these results?) I was recently alerted to a crowdsource funding campaign from a 3D technology specialist who thinks that a better solution can be found. Designed by Jack Ezra, here is his technological solution:

Indiegogo – Subtitles off screen solution – Please visit this link for more information on the project. I would love to see this project get the funding it needs to move forward. There are several reasons why in principle I favour this idea over other subtitling/captioning ‘personal’ devices solutions:

1) Unlike a second screen or other glasses devices where the subtitles appear on the lenses, this 3D solution appears to best replicate the look and feel and therefore hopefully the more pleasant and relaxed experience of watching open subtitles.
2) The glasses are similar to 3D movie glasses. These are much less heavy, bulky, uncomfortable. Similarly I am assuming you could dispose/get a new pair. With other glasses – these will have been used by others before you at other screening – you just have to hope they are clean and no one sneezed over them! With these 3D glasses you can keep your own, or get a brand new pair on your visit.
3) Stigma. No one likes to admit it but some people will not order technology like second screen or subtitle glasses because they are immediately ‘different’ to everyone else in the cinema and may feel embarrassed about their hearing loss. However there is nothing embarrassing about asking for 3D glasses. Anyone might be asking for them, and they are ‘normal’ request. Wearing these there is no stigma attached as people are used to seeing people wearing them at the cinema anyway.

It seems I am not alone in liking this idea. I received this message from Jack which is a fitting last word for this blog post :

A word from Inventor – Jack Ezra.

Firstly, a huge “THANK YOU” to all of you who have come back to me with these kind words….
“Jack, Congrats – what a terrific Idea this is” and “Jack, you’re so clever”, and
“Jack, this could really change the face of cinema” & “I love this idea so much – can’t wait to see it”.

While I really appreciate all these kind words, this technology will not succeed unless we raise the money. Below is a link to Indiegogo, the crowd-funding site of our choice – this is like KickStarter.
It is here you can go on and contribute some money. Just a few pounds each, from a lot of people will build up the necessary funds for the prototype. Then we can start to put it into the cinemas worldwide.

INDIEGOGO – Off-Screen Cinema Subtitle System