Poor captioning in the cinema

Deaf audiences are being excluded from fully experiencing the films they see because of issues with captioning – that’s according to research from the University of Sheffield.

The study found that poor quality captions meant deaf audiences couldn’t experience elements like suspense. In some films, the descriptions of sound lacked specific information key to the plot and therefore affected how much suspense deaf audiences felt during the film.

However, good things are possible and have been done on some films or TV series. For example, on the Stranger Things series, the captioners worked with orchestrators to choose the best descriptions of sound to help deaf audiences best experience relevant moments.

The researchers from the University of Sheffield have made six recommendations for the media industry to highlight potential commercial opportunities to improve the accessibility of film and TV programmes. The recommendations have also been submitted to parliament’s Culture, Media and Sport Committee inquiry.

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