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  • iheartsubtitles 12:25 pm on July 24, 2014 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Cinema, ,   

    Invisible Subtitled Live Theatre – Trial in the UK 

    Giojax, the company using 3D technology to create invisible subtitles for use by cinemas have just announced that the same technology is to be trialled in the theatre.

    Originally set up as a crowd-funded business, the now private company with private investors is running a trial of the invisible subtitles technology to subtitle a musical in October this year.

    The principle is the same as for the cinema. Audience members who wish to see the captions running during the live performance can wear 3D glasses and view the subtitles via a box situated on the theatre stage. The subtitles will be in English and is aimed as a solution to provide subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing so should not be confused with translation subtitles or surtitles that you may have seen at opera performances.

    If you are interested in trying this technology out, the trial will take place on Saturday October 4th at the matinée performance at the Harlow Theatre for the Barry Manilow musical Copacabana:

    Her name was Lola, she was showgirl… So begins this tale of romance and stardom that has captivated audiences in the West End, Atlantic City and on-screen across the US. With sensational original songs by Barry Manilow, dazzling costumes and fabulous choreography is a show that will leave you breathless. Featuring hits such as Dancin Fool, Who Needs To Dream, Aye Caramba, and of course the Grammy award-winning Copacabana, this is a show sure to have you humminh the tunes all the way home. Harlow Playhouse is proud to present the premiere of Barry Manilow’s revised version of the original show for 2014.

    For more information on the musical and to purchase tickets visit the Harlow Playhouse website.

    For more information on 3D subtitles technology please visit the Giojax web page.

    And if anyone is wondering, the 3D Invisible Subtitles for cinemas project is still under way, testing took place earlier this year in Milton Keynes and the next stage is to finalise the software for the cinemas.

    • Mamtha 11:04 am on December 6, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      We are experienced in Video/Audio Transcription and subtitling, kindly give us opportunity to work as a vendor for your company.


  • iheartsubtitles 7:34 pm on July 31, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Cinema,   

    Off-screen cinema subtitles 

    Readers who are keeping up to date with subtitling solutions and projects might be pleased to know that the former Indiegogo project for a subtitling solution for cinemas is a project now being developed by GeoJaX Ltd and Mystery Technology LLP.

    Entrepreneur George Georgiou and inventor Jack Ezra have teamed up to form “GioJaX Ltd” and “Mystery Technology LLP”, which will develop an “Off-Screen Cinema Subtitle System” for the deaf and hard of hearing”. The development work will be carried out in Sri Lanka, China & the UK over the coming months with a fully working system hopefully, being tested in October/ November 2013. The Off-Screen Cinema Subtitle System uses a special display under the movie screen which is invisible to the general audience until you wear special light-weight glasses and then the subtitles are viewable to anyone in the audience wishing to see them.

    I was lucky enough to be shown a prototype of the technology last week. Already built as a demo on a laptop I was shown what appeared to be a blank screen. However as soon as I put on a standard pair of 3D glasses (the same kind worn for 3D movies at the cinema now) I could see letters, and numbers displayed across the screen. It was great to see a real working example of the technology I had heard being described as a potential way of displaying subtitles at the cinema that are only viewable to those that wish it. It is the closest experience I have had of using different technology than that of open captions but still gives the same feel as using open captions or switching on the subtitles on the television or on a DVD. The text was easy to read and the glasses comfortable to wear. The next step will be for the company to build a fully working system example and get feedback. I for one will be keeping an eye on the progress with this project. And I am not the only one – industry professionals such as Regal in the USA, and in the UK, the Cinema Exhibitors Association and Cineworld, have offered their help to the new venture in the form of feedback, testing and promotion of the technology.

  • iheartsubtitles 9:15 pm on July 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cinema, , , ,   

    CEA – UK published report on cinema subtitling technology and my experience in the USA 

    Back in March 2013, some, including myself were lucky enough to take part in a trial to test some personalised technology that provides subtitles to cinemas. The trial took place in London and was organised by the Cinema Exhibitors Association and they have now published the results to those that attended. I have summarised the main points below:

    The project was designed to gather:

    • Findings from a demonstration of four of the leading CC technologies for interested industry partners;
    • Initial and headline structured feedback from a small sample of people with varying degrees of hearing loss on their experience of using the systems;
    • And preliminary feedback from an operator perspective on the potential management, practical and technical considerations around each of the systems.

    The suppliers and products involved were:

    • Doremi – Captiview for CC, and Fidelio for audio description (AD) and hearing assist.
    • Sony – Entertainment Access Glasses (SEAG) for CC and connecting headphones for AD and hearing assist.
    • USL – Captionwear glasses and screens for CC and connecting headphones for AD and hearing assist.

    While the AD functionalities of the products were part of the industry showcase, the audience screenings concentrated solely on CC, that being the technology which offers something completely new for customers.

    For more details read the CEA’s published report. Now that this detail has finally been released I can talk more freely about the device I got to test. I was given the Captiview device to watch the movie Wreck It Ralph. The good thing about it was that the subtitles worked, were pretty accurate with the exception of a few letters dropping of the ends of words at the end of a line on the screen. They were easy to follow for someone used to reading subtitles but trying to watch the action on screen is much harder and so the movie experience itself was not as immersive as it would’ve been through no fault of the movie itself. More recently whilst on holiday in the United States I got to use the device again in a real screening for Iron Man 3:

    I got a few strange looks from some people in the cinema who clearly hadn’t seen this device being used before but that didn’t bother me. What did bother me was the fact that I couldn’t get the device positioned correctly. Why? Because the device is supposed to sit in the cup holder on your seat. Except in this cinema it didn’t fit correctly. This made it an even worse experience than during the trial where the device was fitted for me and correctly before sitting in my seat. Again whilst the subtitles were accurate, it’s the practicality of using the device that left me feeling a bit disheartened by it all. For a start, collecting a device at the point that you purchase the ticket, and then having to carry it around. It is not very heavy but it is bulky. Trying to juggle carrying that whilst also purchasing popcorn, and then what if you want a toilet visit prior to being allowed into the cinema to take your seat? What do you do with the piece of kit you are carrying around? (I hope the cinema’s that provide these devices consider hygiene and that they are wiped clean after each use).

    Back in the UK and open subtitled cinema screenings has been a bit of mixed bag. I failed to get to see Star Trek into Darkness with subtitles because the advertised subtitled screening I wanted to go to got cancelled. More recently though I did get to successfully go to a subtitled screening of Man Of Steel. A life long fan of Superman, Man of Steel is actually the first ever Superman-related subtitled cinema screening I have attended. To be able to hear all the dialogue prior to the movies DVD release and turning on the subtitles months after struggling to watch it without is a complete joy and something I suspect hearing people take for granted (I can’t tell you the number of movies I’ve re-watched on DVD with the subtitles on after its cinema release to find myself thinking ‘Oh, so that’s what they said, now I get it!’).

    Will the UK see personalised subtitling solutions in cinemas? The CEA don’t have an answer for that just yet. Since the feedback from the trials was mixed and sometimes conflicting I hope that there are more trials to come before committing to the right technological solution. The CEA have said that if/when there is further progress they will make this known so keep an eye on the CEA website.

    • Richard Turner 10:19 pm on July 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Great blog. I do feel in the future that personalised captioning is the only way that cinema will become fully accessible. However it is work in progress.


  • iheartsubtitles 1:19 pm on May 20, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cinema, ,   

    Guest blog post: A view on cinema subtitling technology 

    I received the following comments from a UK-based reader which they requested be published on this blog anonymously. It concerns subtitling and captioning technology that is currently already in use in cinemas in countries outside the UK. To be clear, there currently is no official word as to whether these personal technology solutions will be integrated into UK cinemas. I am hopeful that the CEA will publish results of the trials carried out in March very soon. For now here is the feedback I received on this topic. What are your thoughts?

    I would like to argue whether personal subtitling devices in cinema is better than nothing and convenient so one can go to the cinema at anytime without disturbing others, but is this the only solution?

    I feel in this case, deaf people are being treated as a second class citizen, make do with second best access provisions to please the majority without gathering real evidence. Even though the feedback have been negative in other countries but yet the cinema industry still pushes ahead for personal subtitling devices despite the protest/resistance from many deaf people who insists that on-screen subtitles is the only and best way forward.

    A friend of mine was there at the event where people tried out one device while watching a film (there were 3 different devices being tested) After watching the film with subtitles glasses for 15mins, my friend developed a headache from switching visions reading the subtitles on the glasses and watching the films. It made me realised that it is very unfair to expect D/deaf, deafened and hard of hearing people have to sacrifice their enjoyment for the benefit of the others. They pay tickets like everyone else. It does feel that the cinema industry is going back to the dark ages and ghettoising deaf people by introducing personal substandard experience for deaf people using personal devices. Also the way the experiment was carried out was rather biased and cleverly controlled.

    The participants did not get the chance to try all the equipment to give a fairer assessment of which was the best devices and neither the right questions asked, i.e. how much of the film visual elements was missed when reading the subtitles on the personal devices as when my friend left the room due to the headache, they went to another screen where the same film with on-screen subtitles was being played but started 10 mins later than the other screens with different devices and my friend realised how much visual information they were missing when using the personal devices in comparison to on-screen subtitles. And strangely enough, my friend’s headache eased after a few minute of reading the on-screen subtitles.

    That made me think, whether there could be another strategy. i.e. have designated screen at a multiplex for subtitled films on. So different films are shown at different times of the day in the week, so the trust is built between the deaf audience and the cinema and the attendance will increase because of the reliability/availability of subtitled screenings.

    I don’t see why this can’t work as after all cinemas never complain if there are under 5 hearing people in the cinema when the film is not popular or day time showing. In fact when you come to think about it, have there been any records of complaints from hearing people in relation to subtitles films? Why hasn’t the cinemas tried to screen a film with subtitles so everyone can go and watch it together instead of having two screens of the same film shown at the same time to make it more cost-effective.

    I think not enough care and thought has been put into this to change the attitudes. Instead they are spending millions to develop new devices which will also cost millions to install and still leave deaf customers with an unsatisfactory experience. With personal devices, it means that many people who are losing their hearing will still struggle to enjoy cinema experience because it is hidden and you have to be in the know about personal devices to use it whereas on-screen subtitles captures the recent deafened or hard of hearing people and enables them to come to terms with their hearing loss much quicker especially if it is visible and widely accepted.

    That is just my two pence worth.

  • iheartsubtitles 3:11 pm on April 29, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Cinema, ,   

    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

    • Me 3:51 pm on May 13, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I am a Deaf person and I have tried those “glasses” at the movies. I do not like them AT ALL. They are uncomfortable all around. I find I have to keep my head straight and I cannot lean my head on the movie seat. My neck and shoulders becomes uncomfortable after the movie is over.
      Why can’t we have open captions in the movie theatre? All of us have gotten used to the disabled toilet stall in the public restroom – it seems to be the “norm”. All of us have gotten used to the wheelchair ramps in various places, such as the sidewalks. All of us have gotten used to the “awareness bumps” in front of stores that are set in place for the blind & visually impaired. So, why not subtitles in movie theatres?? Not only would it benefit the Deaf people, it would also benefit people that are losing their hearing and would appreciate the opportunity to catch a word, here and there, as well as benefit the people that are learning the language the movie is set in.


      • iheartsubtitles 4:23 pm on May 13, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Hi, are you referring to the glasses in which the subtitles appear on the lenses? Those are the only ones that have been trialed in the UK and are available for use in some cinemas in the USA. This 3D glasses solution is different and appeals to me because it would use standard light weight 3D glasses and the subtitles appear close to the bottom of the screen (and not on the lenses making it difficult to focus on the movie).

        I too would prefer open captions at all screenings. I do agree cinema managers could do more here but how to perusade cinema managers when it digs into profit? It shouldn’t be about the bottom line. However cinema’s have to make a profit and they will be reluctant to do anything that hurts this. The best thing you can do to support open captions is to attend as many open captions screenings as you can and make cinema managers aware that this is something you appreciate and is vital to you. I try do this as often as my schedule allows (ironically this is difficult when subtitled screenings are during working hours) I know I am grateful that we even get this option in the UK. No other country has this and I do not want to see it go entirely, I would like the alternatives to be an additional option and not a replacement of.


  • iheartsubtitles 10:33 am on April 28, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Cinema, , ,   

    History of subtitling and cinema in the UK 


The film industry is forever devising new ways to capitalise on technological advancements to attract audiences.

    But back in the 1920s, and on the verge of going bust, Sam Warner, co-founder (with brothers Harry, Albert and Jack) of small studio Warner Bros. introduced some fancy tech that, with the help of jazz singer Al Jolson, unintentionally alienated many film fans for the next 75 years.

Before the Movietone sound-on-film system became the industry standard, the short-lived Vitaphone sound-on-disc system was the most hi-tech audio product available. Originally intended to cut costs of live musicians, the 1.0 non-surround system was responsible for the innovative synchronized mix of Al Jolson’s singing, dialogue and music for Warner Bros’ The Jazz Singer (1927).

Although it contained few spoken words, and played silently in many cinemas that had yet to be equipped for sound, The Jazz Singer launched the ‘talkies’ revolution, taking $3m box-office (spectacular in those days), putting the US touring stage production of ‘The Jazz Singer’ out of business, and confirming its studio as a major player in Hollywood.

    (Sadly, just before the premiere, Sam Warner died of complications brought on by a sinus infection. He was 40).

    Jolson’s next WB musical, 1928’s ‘The Singing Fool’, was an even bigger success (almost $6m) and held the box office attendance record for 10 years (eventually broken by Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs). Jolson become America’s most famous and highest-paid entertainer of the time.

    So how exactly was the cinema experience ruined for many film fans?

The end of the ’20s signalled the end of the silent era as sound and dialogue in movies became standard practice. With ‘talkies’, the essential plot-following device – the caption card – was deemed no longer necessary.

    For people with hearing loss, a cinema visit was suddenly, if unintentionally, no longer enjoyable or accessible. By and large, they stopped going. For 75 years. A major step backwards for equality, inclusion and community integration.

    Which is all the more ironic as Thomas Edison, ‘man of a thousand patents’ and pioneer-creator of the first copyrighted film, was almost completely deaf from an early age. Without captions he wouldn’t have been able to follow many of the new ‘talkies’.

    I often wonder what Edison and Alexander Graham Bell, the two inventors responsible for introducing many of the film, sound and light technologies we take for granted today, would have thought of this ‘talkies’ development, as they chatted over their latest inventions with Étienne-Jules Marey, who was a major influence on all pioneers of cinema, at the Centennial Exhibition in Philadelphia.

    Of course they could never have had such a discussion – Marey died 25 years before ‘The Jazz Singer’, Bell died 5 years before, and Edison 5 years after. (And, er, the exhibition was held half a century before the film, in 1876…)

    But let’s imagine they were all having a chat over a cappuccino, at the same exhibition, held just AFTER the films release. I would expect that they would have been very disappointed at the demise of caption cards.

    A few decades before the release of ‘The Jazz Singer’, Alexander Graham Bell, inventor of the telephone, created the Photophone – a device that enabled sound to be transmitted on a beam of light (the principle upon which today’s laser and fiber optic communication systems are founded).

    Étienne-Jules Marey had combined a camera and a Gatling gun to create a mutant photographic machine-gun/steadicam device, capable of shooting 60fps (more than a century before James Cameron and Peter Jackson attempted HFR).

    Edison came up with the Kinetophone, the first attempt in history to record sound and moving image in synchronization.

    All three pioneers were well aware of the importance of captions – words on screen (or a piece of cardboard).

    Edison – almost completely deaf from an early age – most likely wouldn’t have liked the film. He hated Jazz, preferring simple melodies and basic harmonies, very possibly due to his high-frequency hearing loss.

    Bell had founded and helped run a school for deaf children with his wife, who was also deaf. Caption cards were used to teach the deaf children reading and literacy skills.

    And Marey was a foreigner! (It’s well known that captions/subtitles are beneficial to students studying English as a Second Language).

    Photo of people at the cinema

    Your Local Cinema – lists screening of subtitled and audio described cinema across the UK

    Fast forward to the end of the century, and reality, when caption cards were re-introduced to UK cinemas in the form of on-screen subtitles. Steven Spielberg, an early investor in the sound company, Digital Theater Systems (DTS), championed its new cine audio format – a digital sound-on-disc system – and encouraged cinemas to install it ahead of his highly anticipated new release, Jurassic Park (1993). A decade later, DTS updated its (by now popular) system to include, alongside music and dialogue tracks, multi-language subtitles and a caption track, enabling cinemas to project synchronised captions directly on to cinema screens.

Dolby launched a similar system soon afterwards. Not long after that – probably feeling bad about the Al Jolson episode – cinemas across the UK collaborated with the UK Film Council to install this new ‘access’ technology.

    After 75 years, people with hearing loss could once again enjoy, rather than endure, the cinema experience. Hurrah!

    And, for the first time in the UK, people with sight loss could also enjoy it as an audio description (AD) track – a recorded narration – could also be delivered to wireless headphones. Double hurrah!

    (But sadly, for people with loss of smell, things were not so good. ‘Smell-O-Vision’, introduced in the 1960s, just never caught on).

    As before, Warner Bros. was at the forefront of this quiet revolution in cinema.

The first film to utilise the new digital caption/subtitle/AD system was Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001). (Steven Spielberg, having played his part in re-introducing captions to cinema audiences, had declined an offer to direct – he’d done enough).

    Today, another decade later, UK film distributors routinely ensure the provision of caption/subtitle/AD tracks for most popular titles. More than 1,000 have been produced to date.

    Almost every UK cinema is now accessible in that all d-cinema systems have built-in ‘access’ facilities and can broadcast caption/subtitle/AD tracks. Every week hundreds of cinemas present a total of around 1,000 shows with on-screen captions. Thousands more shows are screened with audio description, received via personal headphones.

But as the number of shows and the audience have grown – by around 20% year-on-year – the current UK caption format has inevitably become problematic. Since captions in UK cinemas are on-screen, inconvenient and costly separate shows are necessary, segregating people and restricting the choice of films and showtimes that a cinema can provide. A limited audience, combined with limited opportunities to attend, ultimately results in limited box-office returns.

For some time, the industry has wrestled with the conundrum of how to provide an economically viable service to people with hearing loss – how to get a good balance between what the public wants and what it’s possible reasonably to provide.

Digital cinema brings with it digital participation – inclusion – which is just as important as digital infrastructures and digital content.

    For the UK film industry, a commitment to diversity and inclusion is not just a social and legal responsibility. It aims to ensure that cinema is accessible to all, regardless of age or ability, by understanding and catering for audiences with physical or sensory impairments, and their diverse technological needs.

    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.

    It is hoped that within the next few years, audiences with hearing or sight loss will be able to enjoy the big-screen experience as never before.

    As Al Jolson (who really should be forgiven by now) famously said: “I tell yer, you ain’t heard nothin’ yet!”

    With thanks to Your Local Cinema for this article. Posted with permission.

    Stay tuned for another follow-up post very shortly to this on subtitling technology for the cinema.

    • Mikel Recondo 2:18 pm on April 29, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      In Spain, there’s a tradition of dubbing all the foreign films into Spanish. It dates back to the dictatorship of Franco, that in 1940 stablished that all movies should be dubbed into Spanish.

      Then the dictatorship ended and some cinemas chose not to dub the movies and run them in their original languages with subtitles. Nowadays, these are the only cinemas that I know of that offer any kind of accessibility services.


    • markbutterworth 7:58 pm on June 30, 2014 Permalink | Reply

      Reblogged this on Mark Butterworth learning journey BSL level 3 and commented:
      History of Subtitles


  • iheartsubtitles 3:11 pm on March 22, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Cinema, , ,   

    New subtitling technology for TV broadcast and the cinema 

    Last week was a bit of subtitles technology themed week for me for two reasons. First I had the opportunity to visit the London offices of Red Bee Media who showed me their current workflows for providing access to broadcast TV for the deaf and hard of hearing, as well as giving me the opportunity to learn about the new bespoke software that they have been working on and are looking at rolling out soon. It is called Subito (which translates as ‘immediately’ in Italian). The hope is that this will result in a signficant improvement in the output of live subtitles which is currently nearly always produced by the process of respeaking (See #Subtitlefail TV). Most of the complaints people have in the UK around TV subtitling is when live subtitles are used. There are times when the process of live subtitling is not ideal because it is a process that can have an inconsistency in accuracy. It is hoped that this new software will result in much better consistency and accuracy of live subtitles.

    Subito allows the subtitler with far more options to prepare text which may come from a number of different sources to use in addition to respeaking the audio output. These sources might be a script or an autocue, or if they themselves type or respeak it and the audio video content is repeated later on (this is common on 24 hour news channels).This text can be accessed to use later on rather than the subtitler having to respeak the same content over again. The text can also be edited if and when required. At the moment the existing software does allow some prepared text content to be included with respeaking content but with very limited options including a lack of control and options for the subtitler to determine the speed of how that prepared text is seen by the viewer at home – it might appear too fast to be read for example as blocks rather than scrolling that you see with most live subtitles. The new software gives the subtitler much more control and flexibility to incorporate prepared subtitles. There are also improvements behind the speech technology used for computers to convert a subtitlers speech into text with accuracy and speed.(Speech technology was never designed with live subtitling in mind. The technology is being used in ways few would’ve thought of when it was first introduced into products the late 80s/1990s.) So why should this new software have a significant impact on live subtitling output? Well it is currently still being trialled. But the hope is that the effect should be twofold:

    (1) The skill of respeaking which is actually very difficult should become a little easier thanks to the improvements in speech recognition technology and further bespoke changes that have been made to the back-end to compliment it use for the purpose of creating broadcast subtitles.
    (2) The greater number of options and flexibility a subtitler will have to get the subtitles out during live programmes to the viewer with speed and accuracy should see an improvement in the output.

    The software has been designed with the end-user – the subtitler in mind. This is actually key for me – who better to know what tools they need to deliver a better output. There has also been thought put in to work out how to automate some of the options available to subtilers such as automatically cueing the text to the screen/viewer once it has been associated to the video content (for repeated segments on 24 hour live channels for example). The benefit is to free up a subtitler to work on something else that they can see is coming up on the live channel that they are subtitling. It should in theory make job satisfaction higher and hopefully slightly less monotonous. As a viewer I look forward to its roll out and the impact on the output of live subtitling on some of the UK TV channels.

    As a side note – last month I met with the manager of STAGETEXT who kindly showed me the software their subtitlers use and the process they go through to provide subtitled theatre. They too have gone down the bespoke software route to ensure that subtitlers or captioners have as much control as possible on the output – both the content and the speed. An awful lot of prep work is done to aid this. In the same way that TV broadcast subtitlers have to react quickly to any changes to audio on live broadcasts, the challenges are the same if an actor or actress goes off script or there are time delays / or increases and the software needs to allow for quick reactions. Those specific details are issues faced by both companies and it is interesting that bespoke software is the solution both companies have chosen.

    I was also lucky enough to take part in a cinema subtitling technology demo in London at the weekend. It was organised by the CEA. They have asked for us not to publicise too much information about what we used and that the CEA would publish public information about the trials results soon. I want to respect that request so the details of the devices we used are deliberately vague in this blog post. I was part of a screening which tested two types of personal devices that allow the individual to see subtitles without any being displayed on the cinema screen. I was allocated one of them. I took part in the focus group afterwards during which the feedback was very mixed for both pieces of technology. For those that don’t know the CEA has already done a lot of work in getting open subtitles screenings in cinemas across the UK which I am grateful for. We are one of the few countries to do this. I am of the opinion that the best technological solution is open subtitles. The UK cinema industry currently does not use any other form of technology to provide subtitles (to my knowledge). There were several different views expressed by different people at the focus group such. I hope that the CEA publish a summary of the feedback soon so it can be discussed in a more open way. As a reminder, you can find listings for subtitled cinema (as well as audio described screenings for those with visual impairments) in the UK at Your Local Cinema. If a subtitled screening is not taking place near you and you own a smart phone then why not try these options.

    • Richard Turner 4:07 pm on March 22, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I agree that open Subtitles are the best option. However I feel in the future the tech that we tested will open up accessibility. I will be interested to see feedback. I would love to go to the Cinema tonight but unfortunately no subtitled films on a friday night. This tech will make my wish possible. great blog !


  • iheartsubtitles 1:14 pm on February 6, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , Campaign, Cinema, Malta,   

    Subtitles at the cinema and on TV – Malta campaign 

    Here’s a campaign video that by not subtitling any of the sign language gives hearing people the chance to understand the isolation felt by those that need subtitles to enjoy audio. The campaign is from Malta, and I hope achieves success in improving access to TV and cinema via subtitles.

    If you are interested in any advocacy relating to subtitling or captioning please consider joining the CCAC which is international in scope and covers all aspects of access via captioning including transportation, healthcare and education.

  • iheartsubtitles 1:31 pm on February 7, 2012 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cinema,   

    Hearing people – it’s time to give subtitles a chance 

    Hearing people – it's time to give subtitles a chance.

    You may well have read this blog post already but I wanted to re-blog because it a sentiment I very much agree with. It is often the case that people forget subtitles are available for TV content – that is apparent on Twitter where I’ve read comments such as “this show needs subtitles” – more often than not its a case of turning them on!

    I am grateful that cinemas in the UK have opted for open subtitles (this is not the case in other countries precisely because they are not popular with the average hearing movie goer, or to put it another way has been considered to have a negative effect on cinema ticket sales). Whilst I accept that these subtitles are not everyone’s cup of tea, I do think that the more people are exposed to them the more accepting they might become of them. This is true of my hearing flatmate who now always has them switched on regardless of whether I am watching or not. So I live in hope!

    • Miss Kat's Mom 12:29 am on February 8, 2012 Permalink | Reply

      We use captions and subtitles 100% of the time, and had for YEARS before my daughter was born (husband and I are 100% hearing. We love it! You “hear more” and follow the story better. People who don’t like captions are crazy!


  • iheartsubtitles 9:37 am on June 13, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: Cinema, ,   

    Subtitles to promote a product 

    Before the main feature, cinema goers in the UK are used to seeing a trailer that reminds the audience not to ruin the movie for everyone by remembering to switch off your mobile phone. These are created by the mobile phone network Orange. There have been many versions over the years, often humerous and tied in with an up and coming movie release. The latest is no exception. And it is relevant to this blog because it uses subtitles in a creative and funny way. It overwrites the original French subtitles to a film with new and incorrect (but funny) English subtitles:


    Potiche as subtitled by Orange to promote it's own product!

    The latest advert…features a tie-in with Potiche, an upcoming French comedy featuring cinematic legends Gerard Depardieu and Catherine Deneuve. Billed as the ‘French feel-good film of the year’, acclaimed independent film ‘Potiche’ represents the ad series’ first break from blockbusters and details the triumphs of a former trophy wife who takes the reins of the family business when her husband is taken hostage – that is, until Orange get their hands on the subtitles.
    With the use of clever editing of the French film’s subtitles, Orange succeeds in disrupting the sophisticated French fare with over the top branding and impeccable comic timing that makes mobile phones the hot topic of conversation.

    The above is a section of the official press release which you can read here. Watch the full advert below:

    • Alan 8:35 am on June 14, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I’m happy to have little access to subtitles for adverts lol I think titling should be selective to worthwhile things, not pizzas whatever… educated advertising, (we can hope !), and about an 90% reduction would be fine too ! There is access and ‘access’ I think,TV has become un watchable the last 10 years.


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