Rear Window Captioning

Mel and I happened to be downtown several nights ago with our friends b+k trying to get last-minute tickets to Wicked at the Orpheum Theater.  After we came up two tickets short, Mel and I decided to catch a movie instead.  So we headed over to Block E and decided to see Rocknrolla.

When we got in the theather, aside from noticing that we were the only people there, we also noticed a large LED display panel on the back wall of the theater displaying words backwards.  Neither of us had ever seen anything like it before.  Since google knows everything, it didn’t take long to figure out what it was.
The Rear Window captioning system (RWC) is a method for presenting, through captions, a transcript of the audio portion of a film in theatres for deaf and hard-of-hearing people.  On the way into the theatre, viewers pick up a reflective plastic panel mounted on a flexible stalk. The panel sits in a seat cupholder or on the floor adjacent to the seat. A large LED display is mounted on a rear wall that displays caption characters in mirror image. Viewers move the panels into position (usually below the movie screen) so they can read the reflected captions and watch the movie. It is sometimes necessary to sit in a certain area of the theater to obtain the best angle for reflecting the backward text emitted from the back of the theater on the panel while also being able to view the movie at the same time.

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