Apologies for taking two whole weeks to blog about this – I got married a week ago and things were very hectic at the time!
After writing a Guardian comment article about the poor service deaf cinema fans receive here in the UK (including how few subtitled screenings are scheduled) I was lucky enough to be asked by BBC News to try out some new glasses which deaf people can wear while watching films – which have the subtitles built in.
Here’s the BBC News film – which shows me trying them out.
I have to say, the glasses are great. The subtitles look as if they are on the screen. They’re very clear, and easy to read. The glasses may look bulky, but they’re light, and they can be worn with existing glasses, for people who already wear a pair.
Some people might have misgivings about the appearance of the glasses, granted they do look unusual but since they’ll be used in dark auditoriums, I for one would be willing to wear them and risk looking a tad strange if it means I get to see – and fully understand – the latest releases with the same freedom that hearing people have.
The glasses were developed by Sony and are already set to be used by a major cinema chain in the USA. Depending on whether cinemas buy and install them, they could be available in the UK from next summer.
What the glasses potentially offer is the chance for deaf film fans to go and see a film anytime they like. Currently, deaf people have to plan visits to the cinema carefully, because of the reluctance of cinemas in the UK to display subtitles on the screen when non-deaf people are watching. So subtitled screenings are few and far between, and often at off-peak times.