New movie technology benefits the blind and the deaf communities
EUREKA- Some wonder what it is like watching a movie as a blind person, but Eureka resident James Forbes and President of Humboldt Blind Council says he enjoys movies differently than the way sighted viewers do, in a different king of way using the film’s sound to tell the story,
"I can't even put it into words really," he said.
New technology at the Broadway Cinema in Eureka is the only theater along the North Coast that gives both blind and deaf viewers the ability to enjoy a movie now, by themselves.
Forbes said, “My wife or my kids or whoever I am with do not have to talk to me during the film. I do not have to go with anyone else."
Forbes wife Patty Forbes added, "We tried to go to the movies a few times but being at the theater and trying to describe something in a loud environment is difficult. I have been shushed, and my kids have been shushed trying to tell him," she said.
There are two machines. If you’re deaf or hearing impaired a personal closed captioning machine will display the dialogue from the film, however, if you are blind, a personal set of headphones will describe the movie scene as it unfolds on the screen. Forbes says it describes visuals and scenes in the movie that are not part of the dialogue and that are not obvious to people who are blind or deaf.
One theater within the cinema has these capabilities, but manager Jeremiah Juarez says with proper notice, accommodations can be made,
"We do have the ability with prior arrangements switching around the movies so if the movie they want to see is not in theater number one, we can go ahead with 24-hours notice try to rearrange that."
It has been a five-year process trying to get the machines installed into local theaters, and now Forbes along with others just like him can experience a movie comfortably, in their own special way.
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