I dragged my dad to the movie theater on Thursday. When we got there, the line for Sex and the City 2 was waiting to get into the theater for the first showing of the day.
But that's not why we were there. What, you thought I would make my dad see SATC2? We went to see Robin Hood -- with captions!
Yep, I went all the way to Iowa so I could go to an accessible movie theater.
Seriously, at home, the closest theaters with either rear window captioning (more on that in a minute) or open captions are in Kansas City or St. Louis. So I only seem to go to the theater when I'm traveling. Good thing I travel a lot, right?
My first experience with rear window captioning was with Ms. Brenda herself in April! We went to see "Hot Tub Time Machine," and came away scarred from reliving the 80s and with side stitches from laughing.
Rear window captioning is fairly new -- to me, at least. I don't get out much, apparently. In theaters that choose to offer this technology (the hardware runs about $12,000), a LED display is at the rear of the theater, to the side of the movie projector. The display board shows two lines of text in a mirror image -- the captions are synchronized with the movie via a CD-ROM.
Viewers like me can request a rear window captioning device at the ticket or customer service counter. Actually, it's a little too low-tech to be called a device. It's just a plastic base molded to fit the theater seat cupholder, with a 20x4 piece of plexiglass attached with a flexible metal cord. Once seated, I can adjust the panel so it reflects the LED captions at the bottom of the movie screen -- and follow the movie dialogue.
I'm sure other theatergoers wonder what the heck I am doing, since they can't see the captions reflected on the plexiglass from their angle. And I'm pretty sure they were like WTH yesterday when my RWC getup fell out of the cupholder during a particularly moving (read: quiet!) scene of Robin Hood. The plastic base didn't *quite* fit in the cupholder perfectly and popped out, making quite a racket when it hit the uncarpeted floor. I got the giggles -- and it's probably a good thing Stephanie wasn't with me because we probably would have been disruptive laughing about it.
I love the RWC. It's beyond awesome to go to the theater -- with my dad, no less -- and sit back and enjoy the movie.