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A trip to the movies will never be quite the same for Ray Haines, who is hearing impaired, after taking the first-ever run with a new closed-captioning system at Peru Mall’s Carmike Cinemas. The Captiview device, which mounts in a drink holder, allows hearing impaired viewers to watch captions along with the feature film; but the screens are enclosed to prevent other patrons from being distracted.
Ray Haines walked out of Peru Mall’s movie theater this week with two big thumbs-up.
One of the approving digits was for the film he’d just seen, “Non-Stop” starring Liam Neeson. The other thumb was raised for a new device that enabled Haines, who is hearing-impaired, to follow Neeson’s exploits through personalized closed-captioning.
The device in question is the CaptiView Closed Caption Viewing System, an LED display screen that lets hearing-impaired viewers follow closed-caption dialogue at a movie theater — and without distracting other patrons.
Haines had tried other, less-satisfying accommodations for the hearing impaired and pronounced Captivew superior to all.
“No more guessing what movies are about,” gushed Haines, an Oglesby resident who watched with wife Elizabeth. “We can enjoy hot-buttered popcorn at the theatre instead of microwave popcorn and Redbox movies at home.”
Haines isn’t the only one pleased. Carmike Cinemas had only tested the Captiview system and were eager for feedback from Haines, the first hearing-impaired patron to try it out. Complex manager Phil McDowell said he was delighted to hear Captiview worked well.
“I’m so happy we have something that will help people who maybe couldn’t enjoy movies before,” McDowell said.
Illinois Valley Center for Independent Living was no less pleased.
“This is an innovative way to ensure that deaf patrons can experience movie-going along with their hearing friends and family,” said Rachael Mellen, IVCIL’s executive director. “IVCIL will be presenting the management of the Peru Carmike Cinema with a certificate of appreciation for increasing access to recreational activities for people with disabilities in the Illinois Valley.”
Carmike has acquired four units to accommodate people who have trouble following along with mainstream releases in the theater.
The CaptiView works by transmits and receiving encrypted closed captions on a wireless band frequency, according to a product description by manufacturer Doremi. The devices will receive closed captions from seat in the house — unlike existing mirror-image systems that limit seat selection — and come affixed to a bendable support arm for patrons to adjust the screens to their liking.
McDowell noted the units include horizontal slats across the screens to keep the images within the user’s field of vision but without distracting other patrons. Haines offered enthusiastic feedback to two of McDowell’s assistants, neither of whom heard a word of complaint from other members of the “Non-Stop” audience.
Actually, Haines did have one complaint about his cinematic experience: He’d like for people to turn off their phones, please.
No, Haines couldn’t hear any annoying ring-tones; but he sure noticed people tapping the illuminated screens of their phones while he was trying to watch “Non-Stop.”
“My message for hearing-impaired movie goers and regular movie goers is, ‘Please do not text during the show so everyone can enjoy the shows. Thank you.’”