Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Technical Difficulties at the Open Caption Movie

Last night I took time out of my busy schedule to attend a captioned movie showing at a theater which had recently changed management. Although the available times were rather inconvenient as the only showings were midweek days at 2:00 and 5:15 p.m., the film they were offering, The Adjustment Bureau, sounded intriguing. In addition, I wanted to show support for a friend's efforts to encourage the new owners to continue offering open captioned films. If no one shows up for them, it doesn't motivate the owners to offer them, right? There were 7 people in attendance at the showing last night.

When the film began, I noticed right away that the captions seemed to be positioned a bit higher than normal on the screen. But since I have been to only a handful of open captioned films, I thought that perhaps this was how this one was meant to be. About halfway into the film when the members of the Adjustment Bureau reveal themselves to the lead character, I noticed that their heads were cut off. I leaned over to my companion and said, "I don't like that camera angle!" I thought it was an effect to build suspense. But as the movie continued and even the main characters' heads were chopped off in wide shots, I knew something was wrong. Then I noticed a large black band along the bottom of the screen. I left my seat and went to get the problem fixed.

It was a long walk as our theater was located furthest from the lobby. Fortunately someone was on duty at the service desk and when I told her about the problem, she reassured me it would be a quick fix. So I returned to my seat. A short while later, a theater employee made an adjustment to The Adjustment Bureau and we could now see faces and foreheads. Tops of heads and hats still bled over the top of the screen, though. Sigh.

But that was minor compared to the next problem. About two-thirds of the way through the film, the captions started "jumping" on the screen. That was even more problematic. To read them I had to look at them right as they first appeared because after that they were bouncing up and down. Very annoying.

Naturally the film was in the most crucial parts where you couldn't walk away without missing a key part of the action. I stayed in my seat this time rather than make the long walk again. No one else in the theater went to complain either.

On the way out, I wanted to say something to the manager, but she wasn't at the service desk so I missed my chance. I'm considering writing a note describing my experience. But I want to get the tone just right. I appreciate the fact that the theater is offering open caption films and I don't want to discourage that. On the other hand, shoddy service is shoddy service. I know I'll think twice about coming to the next film because of what happened.

My friend who has persuaded the management to offer these captioned films was also in attendance at this showing. Afterwards, she texted me that she plans to contact the manager and the corporate office about the situation.

What would you do?


moebius said...

Rent DVDs and watch them at home. That's what I'd do.

J.J. said...

Like you say, you are appreciative of them offering service, but shoddy service is shoddy service...

I would write a courteous email sprinkled with some curt words here and there to the manager and end it with expressing that you still desire to be a patron of their theater in the future.

Frieda Loves Bread said...

Definitely write a letter. I have not gone to a captioned movie, but I have left in the middle of a couple of movies and complained about the headsets not working or the movie was not what I'd expected. I've received either additional movie tickets or my money back in those cases. Your movie experience wasn't the best; they should fix the problem and invite you to come again to their theaters.