Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Cinema Watch - week 1#1

For months I've been looking at the website of my local cinema to see if A) they've got an Audio Described (AD) film on this week and B) whether it's worth going to see. The closest one to me is quite a big establishment at the O2 Centre on Finchley Road here in North West London.

Here is the page I look at. It details audio described what and subtitled movies are available at VUE in the UK.

If you followed the link today, you'd see what it says against Finchley Road VUE cinema:

"Sorry, no audio description or subtitled screenings this week."

I think they had a kids film on the week before last but most weeks of late I've seen the above apology.

Context:

* Approx 8 out of 10 films have audio description.

* Usually only one screen per cinema has the AD technology installed.

* This week VUE are showing films that definitely come with an AD disk ... but they're choosing to show them in the screens that don't have the AD technology that broadcasts to the headphones of visually impaired people in the audience.

Cinemas are kicking up that visually impaired people just aren't turning up. It's not surprising when they either show really crappy family oriented PG films every week in the AD screen (lowest common denominator and thus usually the most visual and less rewarding even if described) or don't show any at all.

How about showing 16 blocks? I'd quite like to see that.

Q: Hey Damon, what about traveling somewhere else in London, another VUE cinema perhaps?

Great idea! Only if you check the page you'll see that VUE have pulled the same stunt in most of their London cinemas this week.

Fulham - sorry no audio description

Shepherd's Bush - the website says they're showing CRAZY with AD ... but apparently Crazy doesn't actually have an Audio Description disk! Is the ice cream seller shouting out the missing narrative, then?

West End - Sorry, no audio description or subtitled screenings this week.

Islington - Sun 17.30 Tue 19.30 ... two opportunities in the week to go and see it. Why isn't there AD on all the time? Unlike subtitles you don't need special screenings because it's delivered via headphones and no one else is interupted. Maybe they've gone and mistaken AD for subtitles again? They do it regularly apparently.

Acton - Sorry, no audio description or subtitled screenings this week.

Croydon, Grants - Ice Age 2 is on Sun 13.55 Tues 18.05 ... just the two showings of a family animation? Is this real info or, as discussed, are they mixing it up with subtitles again? It's hard to tell.

Croydon, Purley Way - Sorry, no audio description or subtitled screenings this week.

Croydon is a bit out of London anyway ... but perhaps I'd have been willing to travel if they were showing a really good film? NO chance buster.

Dagenham - bit out of town but ya know maybe I could make it for a great film: Sorry, no audio description or subtitled screenings this week.

Harrow - middlesex but only half an hour by taxi ... they're showing Ice Age 2 just the once on Sunday at 14.30

North Finchley - Sorry, no audio description or subtitled screenings this week.

Reading - Maybe a trip via train but Sorry, no audio description or subtitled screenings this week.

Staines - Sorry, no audio description or subtitled screenings this week.

Thurrock - Sorry, no audio description or subtitled screenings this week.

Watford - Sorry, no audio description or subtitled screenings this week.

FOR CHRIST SAKE'S VUE CINEMAS! This is London. It was a Bank Holiday weekend. What on Earth was going on?

Looking at the choice of films showing around the rest of the country it was a bit pityful compared to the amount of films that have AD disks available.

Something is going very very wrong with the way this happens. There is no cohesive system. No one is thinking about AD customers in a logical way.

More next week in Cinema Watch week #2

4 comments:

Alice said...

Now that just sucks royally. It does seem that they are not realising the diff between subtitles and AD, doesn't it? Did like your bit about the ice cream vendor.

Only marginally related, and I will blog about it soon when I am more fully awake: my city of 55,000 people is crowing that they now have FIVE new buses for public transport. Mind you, these are really only large vans, not real city buses, about 20 passengers, I believe. This is the first time in over forty years that this college town has provided any sort of public transportation. I was considering moving away because I know the day is coming when I will no longer be driving.

Probably the only reason they have the service now is that a huge new mall has recently opened, and we must get the poor folks to the mall, right? Never mind getting them to the freaking hospital or grocery store!

BloggingMone said...

In Germany Great Britain is pictured as being heaven on earth when it comes to audio description and subtitling. Seems we have to do some re-thinking... But keep checking the pages for an AD version of "16 Blocks". It's a great movie!

Katie said...

Hi Damon!

Afraid that happens in most places where they show films, but I reckon they should show more films with AD on them.

My nearest cinema is Stevenage Cineworld, and judging by Stevenage Cineworld's webpage, no films are being audio described this week!!!! Pah!

At least disabled people have facilities for them in Cineworld though, and the Stevenage one is a good one, I enjoy going to.

Kev said...

Vue....grrrr. Even if they are showing a film you want to see, and it has AD, don't think for a moment you've won the race. I have lost count of the number of free tickets we have been offered by Vue, simply as a result of turning up (and latterly, even calling in advance to let them know we are coming), and the AD still not working. I don't know what the deal is. One would think it would be straightforward enough, but the staff seem untrained and unaware. And then quite condescending when you suggest (for the umpteenth time) that it might be something to do with them or the system, rather than you, the user, just not using the equipment properly. They usually get it working eventually...about half way through the film. Great, eh? As I said, grrrr.