Royalty-free and license-free standards define how accessible content is delivered to theatres in an open, interoperable manner. Cinepedia devotes a chapter to distribution practice and accessibility standards. Further information on accessibility standards is available at mkpe.com. Motion picture distributors and equipment manufacturers are encouraged to adopt the accessibility practices and standards outlined.
For those seeking a cinema that offers accessibility for its movies, Captionfish provides such a service in the US.
More information is provided below to educate and clarify the application of accessibility in digital cinema.
- Accessibility in Cinepedia refers to the use of specialized sound tracks and visual aids, enabling a wider audience to enjoy the cinema experience.
- HI is the acronym for “Hearing Impaired” audio. It describes an accessibility audio channel whose dominant content is dialog. This channel may be included in the DCP, or produced in the cinema audio processor as mix of left, center, and right channels, with a 3-6dB emphasis on center (for dialog). It is delivered to the audience member over a personal headset.
- VI-N is the acronym for “Visually Impaired Narrative” audio, often referred to as “video description” or “descriptive narration.” This audio channel provides a narration of the action in the movie. It is delivered to the audience member over a personal headset.
- Closed Captions refers to text that describes the dialog and action of the movie. It is transmitted discretely to an audience member over a personal display, for which several types of devices are now marketed.
- Open Captions refers to text or graphics that describe the dialog and action of the movie. It is delivered on-screen, visible to all audience members.
- CSP/RPL is an acronym for the standardized, Ethernet-based protocol used in digital cinema to synchronize and source content to a 3rd party closed caption display system.
Closed Caption and Accessible Audio Systems
The products below are known to utilize the closed caption standards and/or provide accessible audio for cinema (no warranty or endorsement implied):
- Dolby Captiview closed captions
- Dolby Fidelio accessible audio
- Sony Entertainment Access Glasses
- QSC Accessibility Solutions
- Williams Sound SoundPlus
What Exhibitors Need to Know
- Legacy Rear Window display panels can be directly connected to legacy digital cinema products from Dolby, GDC, and USL. Note that the DTS CSS and DTS XD10 products are not needed for Rear Window operation in digital cinema.
- Learn your distributor’s policies regarding the inclusion of accessibility content in their digital cinema distributions.
What Distributors Need to Know
- License-free and royalty-free standards prescribe how accessibility content can be included in the DCP. The relevant standards are discussed in the Accessibility chapter.
- Interop and SMPTE DCP closed captions will work with all closed caption display systems, including Rear Window systems.