Two Thumbs Up! Audio Description and Closed Captioning May be Coming to a Theater Near You

movie theater

Booming sound effects, vivid cinematography, powerful music, and emotional dialogue are all staples of modern movies, and millions of Americans flock to cinemas all over the country to enjoy big-budget blockbusters every year.  However, not everyone is able to participate in the experience, since up to this point availability of services for the sight- and hearing-impaired has been scant at movie theaters.

That may soon change.

Back in July of 2014, the Department of Justice proposed a rule to require all movie theaters with digital screens (with the exception of drive-ins) to provide audio description and closed captioning for the movies they show.  The theaters would therefore be obliged to purchase equipment that can deliver these services to guests with sight or hearing disabilities.  The Final Rule has now reportedly gone to the Office of Management and Budget for review, which is the final step in the rulemaking process.

Both closed captioning and audio description have existed for more than 40 years, though audio description has only become more widely accessible since the turn of the century.  Audio description is narration that gives the viewer concise descriptions of the setting, images, people, and actions on the screen.

With scores of mobile devices and other online media now displaying closed captioning in videos, it comes as no surprise that cinemas may soon avail hearing- and sight-impaired customers with the means to fully enjoy movies like all other movie goers.

NCC, as our original company name of National Capitol Captioning would suggest, has provided captioning services since Day One, and in recent years we have added audio description services.  With this new requirement potentially going into effect in movie theaters across the country, audio description is expanding its reach and popularity, and we look forward to implementing this service into post-production support for our customers.  Coincidentally, we have experience providing captioning services for the silver screen, as we have captioned the annual Screen on the Green summer movie festival at the National Mall in Washington, D.C.

As a company that has provided ADA-compliant services for the past decade and a half, we are pleased that steps are being taken to allow those with sight- and hearing disabilities to fully enjoy the movie experience that many of us take for granted.