Category Archives: Entertainment Technology

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How a Toilet Plunger Improved CPR – The New York Times

Is the cost of training and 20K worth saving a client’s life?

The conventional method for chest compressions doesn’t have a great success rate. Doctors are pumping it up with a high-tech plunger.

A CPR device that includes a plunger, hinged support and plastic valve apparatus that fits over a patient's face on a plain white background.
Cardiac arrest patients who received neuroprotective CPR within 11 minutes of a call to 911 were about three times more likely to survive with good brain function than were those who received conventional CPR.AdvancedCPR Solutions

In 1988, a 65-year-old man’s heart stopped at home. His wife and son didn’t know CPR, so in desperation they grabbed a toilet plunger to get his heart going until an ambulance showed up.

Later, after the man recovered at San Francisco General Hospital, his son gave the doctors there some advice: Put toilet plungers next to all of the beds in the coronary unit.

The hospital didn’t do that, but the idea got the doctors thinking about better ways to do CPR, or cardiopulmonary resuscitation, the conventional method for chest compressions after cardiac arrest. More than three decades later, at a meeting of emergency medical services directors this week in Hollywood, Fla., researchers presented data showing that using a plunger-like setup leads to remarkably better outcomes for reviving patients.

Traditional CPR doesn’t have a great track record: On average, just 7 percent of people who receive it before getting to the hospital are ultimately discharged with full brain function, according to a national registry of cardiac arrests treated by emergency medical workers in communities across the country.

“It is dismal,” said Dr. Keith Lurie, a cardiologist at the University of Minnesota Medical School who treated the plunger patient in 1988.

The new procedure, known as neuroprotective CPR, has three components. First, a silicone plunger forces the chest up and down, not only pushing blood out to the body, but drawing it back in to refill the heart. A plastic valve fits over a face mask or breathing tube to control pressure in the lungs.

The third piece is a body-positioning device sold by AdvancedCPR Solutions, a firm in Edina, Minn., that was founded by Dr. Lurie. A hinged support slowly elevates a supine patient into a partial sitting position. This allows oxygen-starved blood in the brain to drain more effectively and to be replenished more quickly with oxygenated blood.

The three pieces of equipment, which fit into a backpack, cost about $20,000 and can be used for several years. The devices have been separately approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

About four years ago, researchers began studying the combination of all three devices used in tandem. At this week’s meeting, Dr. Paul Pepe, a longtime CPR researcher and the director of Dallas County’s emergency medical services, reported results from 380 patients who could not be revived by defibrillation, making their odds of survival particularly bleak. Among those who received the new CPR method within 11 minutes of cardiac arrest, 6.1 percent survived with brain function intact, compared with just 0.6 percent who received traditional CPR.

He also reported significantly better odds for a subgroup of patients who had no heartbeat but had random electric activity in their heart muscles. The typical odds of survival for people in those circumstances are about 3 percent. But the patients in Dr. Pepe’s study who received neuroprotective CPR had a 10 percent chance of leaving the hospital neurologically intact.

Last year, a study carried out in four states found similar results. Patients who received neuroprotective CPR within 11 minutes of a 911 call were about three times as likely to survive with good brain function as those who received conventional CPR.

“This is the right thing to do,” Dr. Pepe said.

A couple of years ago, Jason Benjamin went into cardiac arrest after a workout at a gym in St. Augustine, Fla. A friend took him to a nearby fire department, where trained workers deployed the neuroprotective CPR gear. It took 24 minutes and multiple defibrillations to revive him.

After he recovered, Mr. Benjamin, a former emergency medical technician himself, was amazed to learn about the new approach that had saved his life. He read the studies and interviewed Dr. Lurie. The three-part procedure had several complicated names at the time. It was Mr. Benjamin who came up with the term neuroprotective CPR “because that’s what it’s doing,” Mr. Benjamin recalled, adding that “the focus was on protecting my brain.”

Dr. Karen Hirsch, a neurologist at Stanford University and a member of the CPR standards committee for the American Heart Association, said that the new approach was interesting and made physiological sense, but that the committee needed to see more research on patients before it could formally recommend it as a treatment option.

“We’re limited to the available data,” she said, adding that the committee would like to see a clinical trial in which people undergoing cardiac arrests are randomly assigned to conventional CPR or neuroprotective CPR. No such trials are happening in the United States.

Dr. Joe Holley, the medical director for the emergency medical service that serves Memphis and several surrounding communities, isn’t waiting for a larger trial. Two of his teams, he said, were getting neurologically intact survival rates of about 7 percent with conventional CPR. With neuroprotective CPR, the rates rose to around 23 percent.

His crews are coming back from emergency calls much happier these days, too, and patients are even showing up at fire stations to thank them for their help.

“That was a rare occurrence,” Dr. Holley said. “Now it’s almost a regular thing.”


What to Know About Heart Health

Heart attacks and strokes are among the leading causes of death around the world, but there are ways to protect yourself.

Italian Premiere of “Avatar: The Way of Water” ARCADIA Cinema Melzo, PLF Energy Screen  

View profile for Laura Fumagalli

From LinkedIn

Tuesday, December 13th 2022

Arcadia as Avatar 2Avatar Water on 30 meter screenArcadia Avatar Pre-show crowdArcadia Avatar Pre-show crowd 2

What an A.M.A.Z.I.N.G evening!

Special thanks to The Walt Disney Company for choosing PLF Energia Screen for the premiere. Our huge theatre lobby has been transformed into Pandora.

Guests were first treated to WOW experiences in the huge lobby and then in PLF Energia Screen with a special 3D screening, dual projection on Christie Digital Systems 4K digital projectors both with laser light source by CINEMECCANICA SPA, lighting up our 30 meters wide screen, with Dolby Atmos™ immersive sound on largest configuration of Meyer Sound audio system.

Breathtaking Cinema experience on the Big Screen, the way it was meant to be seen.

Our kudos to James Cameron to his amazing 5 years production work which can now be finally screened to audiences worldwide. It is an honor for us to offer to our patrons to seat together, to dream together with their eyes wide opened to the big screen, to let them journey back to Pandora together. Arcadia as Avatar 1Unmissable Unique experience to be remembered for decades to come. 💙 More photos and video on our @arcadiacinema IG page.

Barco looks back at 8 years of LIPA leadership

Kortrijk, 14 December 2022 – Ahead of the upcoming annual general meeting when he will hand over chairmanship to his successor, Goran Stojmenovik looks back at 8 years that have changed the laser industry and where he thinks it might go.

The 2022 annual general meeting of LIPA (Laser Illuminated Projector Association) will mark a turning point for the body. When Dr. Goran Stojmenovik retires as chair, it will see the end of Barco’s eight-year run heading the industry body. The previous chair, Jan Daem, was also from Barco. A founding member of LIPA in 2011, Barco still intends to play “a very active role” moving forward.

Barco LIPA presentationEducating the market

LIPA’s role is to present the world with a single industry voice when it comes to rationalizing laser regulations. One example is the governmental regulations that put onerous and costly requirements on the cinema exhibitors that integrate laser engines into their projectors. LIPA has had some success with better explaining the industry’s position, noting that regulators prefer that the industry stakeholders speak with a single unified voice.

Stojmenovik’s tenure was marked by what he calls “market education”, providing science-based responses to regulatory issues. These have included articles, interviews, webinars, white papers and blog articles. “This body of work now constitutes a bank of material for rationalization and education around technical and regulatory topics,” according to Stojmenovik.

LIPA also worked the optical hazard department of the FDA in the US. This led to the easing of some requirements for laser illuminated projectors, notably reducing their minimum height from 3 meters to 2.5 in some cases. “The goal was to avoid people getting the light in their eyes from too close,” he says. “The requirement is there for safety purposes, which we understand. But it also has to be rational.”

“Engaging with the community”

The Covid restrictions also provided a challenge, with LIPA struggling to continue “engaging with the LIPA community” during lockdown. The annual general and board meetings of 2020 and 2021 were moved online. Webinars kept people in touch and the ten-year celebration of LIPA was done online.

Aptly, Barco’s eight-year chairmanship of LIPA will close with the 2023 board and annual general meetings that it will host at its campus in Kortrijk, Belgium.

Looking ahead

Over the last four years, LIPA’s membership fluctuated with comings and goings but has remained stable overall. Stojmenovik can still see lots of work for the body over the next four years. “All the standards governing laser projections – notably cinema – are up for review. So it’s important the industry’s voice is heard.” He compares it to the early days of LIPA when legislation and standards were being written worldwide. Now new standards are appearing, notably in emerging markets. “We need to follow these developments. A lot has changed in the laser market, so it’s not easy to predict what will happen.”


About Barco
Barco is a global technology leader that develops networked visualization solutions for the entertainment, enterprise, and healthcare markets. Our solutions make a visible impact, allowing people to enjoy compelling entertainment experiences; to foster knowledge sharing and smart decision-making in organizations and to help hospitals provide their patients with the best possible healthcare.

Headquartered in Kortrijk (Belgium), Barco realized sales of 804 million euro in 2021 and has a global team of 3,000+ employees, whose passion for technology is captured in +500 granted patents. Barco has been listed on the Brussels Stock Exchange since 1985. (Euronext: BAR; Reuters: BARBt.BR; Bloomberg: BAR BB)

Get the latest market and trend insights in our brand magazine ‘Bright Insights’. And visit us on, follow us on Twitter (@Barco), LinkedIn (Barco), YouTube (BarcoTV), Instagram(barco_nv) or like us on Facebook (Barco).


© Copyright 2022 by Barco


CineEurope 2022, Barcelona: 21 June 2022 – The International Union of Cinemas (UNIC), the trade association representing cinema operators and their national associations across 39 European territories, has today published its Annual Report on key cinema trends in the region in 2021/22.

The report – available online here – provides an in-depth look at recent trends and developments in the European cinema industry, one of the most diverse, innovative and dynamic in the World.

Having faced the unprecedented challenges of the COVID pandemic, 2021 saw cinemas across the globe move swiftly along the road to recovery. European cinema admissions increased by an estimated 36.4 per cent in 2021, with almost 590 million visits across the region. Box office reached €3.7 billion, an increase of 40.8 per cent on the previous year. At EU level – including the UK – close to 400 million tickets were sold in cinemas, worth an estimated €3.0 billion at the box office – an increase of 31.1 per cent and 38.4 per cent respectively. All this when most screens across the region were shut for the first six months of the year and operating for the remainder under limited occupancy and/or additional restrictions.

The relevance of local European releases was never clearer than during these challenging times, with countries such as
France (40.6 per cent), the
Czech Republic (38.3 per cent),
Serbia (37 per cent),
Denmark (37 per cent) and
Norway (28.1 per cent)
leading the way in terms of national films’ market share. In 2021, several European and International titles managed to break box office records at national and international level, all the more astonishing given their challenging release context.

The hugely impressive figures featured in the UNIC report – and the predictions for 2022 – provide ample demonstration of the resilience of the cinema sector, underpinned by the insatiable public appetite for the cinema-going experience. With the cinema industry now firmly set on the path of recovery, we are confident that it will get back to the record- breaking results of 2019.

Commenting on the report’s publication, UNIC President Phil Clapp said:

“While the numbers shown here for 2021 are very positive, it remains the case that these remain challenging times for the European cinema sector. As a consequence, all industry stakeholders and policy-makers need to continue to pursue efforts aimed at ensuring the survival of local cinemas, whatever their size and location.

The only way to achieve this is to focus on ensuring both sustainability for all stakeholders in the value chain as well as the availability of films to the benefit of audiences.

2022 will be a pivotal year for the industry. UNIC members are confident that the cinema industry will come back stronger from this crisis, and that, as before, the audience will continue to enjoy films together, on the Big Screen.”

Many of the trends examined in the Annual Report will also be discussed during the week at CineEurope, UNIC’s official convention and Europe’s premier gathering of cinema exhibition professionals from the region and beyond.

Notes for editors

The 2022 UNIC Annual Report is available online here.

The International Union of Cinemas (UNIC)

The Union Internationale des Cinémas/International Union of Cinemas (UNIC) represents the interests of cinema trade associations and cinema operators covering 39 countries in Europe and neighbouring regions.


CineEurope 2022 is taking place 20-23 June at the Centre Convencions Internacional Barcelona (CCIB) in Barcelona, Spain. CineEurope is the longest running and most successful European convention and trade show for major, regional, and independent cinema professionals. CineEurope will feature exclusive screenings and product presentations of upcoming films, sponsored events, timely and informative seminars, and the CineEurope Trade Show. CineEurope is the Official Convention of the Union Internationale des Cinémas/International Union of Cinemas (UNIC).

The Film Expo Group

The Film Expo Group is the premier organizer of events in the motion picture industry. The Film Expo Group produces CineEurope, held in Barcelona; ShowEast, held in Miami; and CineAsia, held in Bangkok.

Further enquiries

[email protected] / +32 488 08 51 95 | @CineEurope | @UNIC_Cinemas

Union Internationale des Cinémas | International Union of Cinemas | UNIC
Av. des Arts 10-11 boîte 11 | 1210 Brussels (Saint-Josse-ten-Noode) | Belgium 
Twitter: @UNIC_Cinemas | Facebook: @UNIC.Cinemas


The National Film Authority of Ghana and GM Group, organisers of the META Cinema Forum, today announced the launch of Africa’s first ever cinema industry event dedicated to the development of cinema infrastructure in Africa, the META Africa Cinema Forum, scheduled to take place on 21st and 22nd November 2022 in Accra, Ghana.

The Forum is set to explore the significant growth opportunities for cinema exhibition and the film industry in Ghana and across the continent, which remains a largely under-screened region with less than 1.700 screens for a population of 1.3 billion inhabitants (representing one screen per 787.402 people). Yet the wider African film industry is currently attracting unprecedented levels of inward investment. A recent UNESCO report on the potential of the African film sector valued the currently $ 5 billion industry to be worth $ 20 billion.

Yaa Asantewa Asante at META Cinema Forum

The META Cinema Africa Forum aims to bring together cinema operators from across Africa and abroad, national film bodies and regulators, film distributors, producers, investors, vendors and equipment integrators – as well as the creative community – to develop strategies for a thriving cinema exhibition landscape in Africa.

Juliet Yaa Asantewa Asante, CEO of the National Film Authority, comments:

“We invite the African and international cinema community to join us in Accra in November for this much needed convention. Ghana is proud to position itself as the cinema gateway opening the doors to the continent in its strategic bid to the World of cinema investors, exhibitors and builders. A vibrant cinema infrastructure will ease the distribution headache of the continent and encourage more investments into high-quality content.

Leila Masinaei, Managing Partner of GM Group, comments:

“We are thrilled about our partnership with the National Film Authority of Ghana and extremely excited about the development potential of cinemas in Ghana and the continent. Our experience of running the META Cinema Forum in Dubai as well as 

having executed numerous events in Ghana in the past years positions us well to create a unique industry event with NFA, one that is taking into account local circumstances and trends as well as open to industry collaboration with cinema colleagues from around the World.”The Forum will also include a content market – the ‘African Film Market’ – of which more details will be made available in due course.


The National Association of Theatre Owners today announced the formation of The Cinema Foundation. The new organization—a donor-supported 501(c)(3) charitable non-profits—dedicated to promoting the essential cinema exhibition industry by developing future diverse workforces and growing moviegoing communities through research, education, and philanthropy.

The Cinema Foundation expands on NATO’s mission by adding new participants, including technology companies, food and beverage leaders, members of the creative community, and other individuals and companies that share in our vision and passion for the future of cinema.

The Cinema Foundation’s founding Board of Directors draws members from across the industry, including Jackie Brenneman (NATO), President; Tori A. Baker (Salt Lake Film Society), Vice President; Brian Schultz (Look Cinemas), Secretary; Eduardo Acuna (Cinépolis Americas), Treasurer; and Directors Adam Cassels (Cinionic); Michelle Maddalena (Dolby Laboratories); and Katherine Twells (The Coca-Cola Company).

“The future of the cinema industry is being determined right now,” said The Cinema Foundation President, Jackie Brenneman. “The Cinema Foundation is designed to bring together key industry stakeholders from business, technology, and the creative community to be the leading voice in what that future will be.”

Currently in its initial fundraising and hiring phase, the key priorities of The Cinema Foundation include:

  • Cinema Careers, Education and Diversity: Promoting the industry as a great place to work via recruitment campaigns, training programs, and opportunities for career growth.
  • Moviegoing Promotion and Creative Community Involvement: Building on NATO’s relationships with the creative community to grow audiences, promote the industry and diversify content options.
  • Center for Innovation and Technology: The Center will work to ensure the industry’s technology is future ready and meets standards that help key stakeholders including filmmakers, manufacturers and exhibitors while also avoiding costly barriers that do not enhance the theatrical experience.
  • Industry Data and Research: Data will be the key to effective industry messaging, promotion and innovation going forward and The Foundation will prioritize a data-based approach across all initiatives.
  • Industry Charities: Working with existing industry charities to expand their impact.

“I firmly believe in The Cinema Foundation and its important role in contributing to the magic of moviegoing,” said Brian Schultz of Look Cinemas. “The Foundation will create dynamic employment opportunities for the industry’s future workforce and develop programs that ensure a healthy exhibition industry that brings economic and cultural vibrancy to communities everywhere.”

Adam Cassels, of Cinionic, added, “Our industry has a long heritage of innovation, connecting a diverse ecosystem to further the cinematic experience. The Cinema Foundation creates a space to continue innovating and collaborating to meet the needs of moviegoers, the creative community, and cinema professionals across the exhibition landscape.”

To sponsor, donate, or learn more visit




Brussels: 7 February 2022 – The International Union of Cinemas (UNIC), the body representing European cinema trade associations and operators, has today released preliminary 2021 box office and admissions estimates for the territories covered by the organisation.

While the figures below are based on initial estimates, the overview provided by UNIC represents the first wide-ranging assessment of the performance of the European cinema sector in 2021. More detailed final data on the performance of each individual UNIC territory will be released later in Spring 2022. For additional information on specific territories, including periods of closure, please consult the UNIC research on the topic or reach out to [email protected].

Audiences return to the Big Screen across Europe

European cinema admissions increased by an estimated 38 per cent in 2021, with over 590 million visits across the region. Box office reached an estimated €3.7 billion, an increase of 42 per cent on the previous year. These positive results amply illustrate the industry’s resilience and the eagerness of European audiences to return to the Big Screen.

At EU level – including the UK – over 400 million tickets were sold in cinemas, worth an estimated €2.9 billion at the box office, all this when most screens across the region were shut for the first half of the year and operating for the following six months under limited occupancy and additional restrictions. 

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the European cinema industry remains significant. Compared to results for Europe in 2019, a particularly successful year for the sector, 2021 admissions were still lagging 56 per cent behind, while box office was down by an estimated 57 per cent. Comparing results for the second half of 2019 with the same period in 2021, box office revenues for the territories where data is available were on average 35 per cent below pre-pandemic levels. Major territories such as France (-22 per cent for H2 2021 compared to H2 2019), the UK (-26 per cent), Russia (-29.5 per cent) or Poland (-24.3 per cent) nevertheless serve to demonstrate the strength of the sector’s recovery in recent months.

As has been the case in the past, box office was mainly driven by major international titles including Spider-Man: No Way Home, No Time to Die, F9: The Fast Saga, Venom: Let There Be Carnage and DuneSpider-Man: No Way Home in particular served as further evidence of cinemas’ capacity to attract audiences and create global events even during challenging times, with over $1.77 billion grossed at the global box office as of today – the sixth biggest result of all time.

At the same time, and as was witnessed in 2020, local titles have played a key role in the recovery process. National films’ market shares were higher than normal years across the region, most impressively in France (40.8 per cent), Czech Republic (38.3 per cent) and Denmark (37.0 per cent). The Serbian biopic Toma managed to outperform Spider-Man: No Way Home, dominating at the box office in Serbia and neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina.

It is only with the support of local and international distributors that cinema operators will be able to confidently recover from this incomparable period of challenge. A strong and diverse film slate will be key to attracting audiences to the Big Screen.  

The broad range of support mechanisms that have been made available to the sector in Europe have also been crucial, protecting livelihoods and covering some of the significant losses incurred by industry. But now is not the time for policy makers to ease those efforts aimed at ensuring the survival of local cinemas, whatever their size and location. 

2022 will be a pivotal year for the industry. Leading industry analysts Gower Street Analytics have forecasted a tentative estimate of $7.8 billion (+75 per cent on 2021) and $33.2 billion (+55 per cent) for EMEA and global box office respectively. UNIC members are confident that the cinema industry will come back stronger from this crisis, and that we will continue to enjoy films together, on the Big Screen.


Table with tentative market performance indicators for 2021 (where available).

Notes for editors

UNIC is the European trade grouping representing cinema exhibitors and their national trade associations across 39 European territories. More information available on


UNIC members. Complementary information from Comscore, CZ (Unie Filmovych Distributoru), BG (Национален филмов център), EE (Eesti Filmi Instituut & Baltic Films Co-operation Platform), FR (Centre National du Cinéma et de l’Image Animée), GR (Ελληνικό Κέντρο Κινηματογράφου), HU (Nemzeti Média- és Hírközlési Hatóság), IE (Wide Eye Media), LV (Nacionālais kino centrs & Baltic Films Co-operation Platform), PT (Instituto do Cinema e do Audiovisual), RU (Russian Cinema Fund Analytics, Nevafilm Research), UA (Media Resources Management).


International Union of Cinemas (UNIC)[email protected]

Union Internationale des Cinémas | International Union of Cinemas | UNIC
Av. des Arts 10-11 boîte 11 | 1210 Brussels (Saint-Josse-ten-Noode) | Belgium
Twitter: @UNIC_Cinemas | Facebook: @UNIC.Cinemas

Signing In Cinema

Closed Caption Reading Device

Movies at the cinema, a cultural phenomena that involves a blend of technology and groups of people, is taking one more step into Inclusiveness. The imperfect solutions for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing, the Blind and Partially Sighted are more and more part of every cinema facility – either special glasses that present words in mid-air or equipment that places words on at the end of bendable post, and earphones that transmit either a special enhanced (mono) dialog track or a different mono track that includes a narrator who describes the action. [At right: One of two brands of Closed Caption reading devices.]

Work is now nearing completion on a required new set of technologies that will help include a new group of people into the rich cultural experiences of movie-going. The tools being added are for those who use sign language to communicate. As has been common for the inclusion path, compliance with government requirements are the driving force. This time the requirement comes from Brazil, via a “Normative Instruction” that by 2018 (the time schedule has since been delayed) every commercial movie theater in Brazil must be equipped with assistive technology that guarantees the services of subtitling, descriptive subtitling, audio description and Libras.

Libras (Lingua Brasileira de Sinaisis) is the acronym for the Brazilian version of sign language for their deaf community. Libras is an official language of Brazil, used by a segment of the population estimated at 5%. The various technology tools to fulfil the sign language requirements are part of the evolving accessibility landscape. In this case, as often has happened, an entrepreneur who devised a cell phone app was first to market – by the time that the rules were formalized, cell phones belonging to the individual were not allowed to be part of the solution.

The option of using cell phones seems like a logical choice at first glance, but there are several problems with their use in a dark cinema theatre. They have never been found acceptable for other in-theatre uses, and this use case is no exception. The light that they emit is not designed to be restricted to just that one audience member (the closed caption device above does restrict the viewing angle and stray light), so it isn’t just a bother for the people in the immediate vicinity – phone light actually decreases perceived screen contrast for anyone getting a dose in their field of vision. Cell phones also don’t handle the script securely, which is a requirement of the studios which are obligated to protect the copyrights of the artists whose work they are distributing. And, of course, phones have a camera pointing at the screen – a huge problem for piracy concerns.

The fact is, there are problems with each of the various accessibility equipment offerings.

Accessibility equipment users generally don’t give 5 Stars for the choices they’ve been given, for many and varied reasons. Some of the technology – such as the device above which fits into the seat cup holder – requires the user to constantly re-focus, back-and-forth from the distant screen to the close foreground words illuminated in the special box mounted on a bendable stem. Another choice – somewhat better – is a pair of specialized glasses that present the words seemingly in mid-air with a choice of distance. While these are easier on the eyes if one holds their head in a single position, the words move around as one moves their head. Laughter causes the words to bounce. Words go sideways and in front of the action if you place your head on your neighbor’s shoulder.

[This brief review is part of a litany of credible issues, best to be reviewed in another article. It isn’t only a one-sided issue either – exhibitors point out that the equipment is expensive to buy, losses are often disproportionate to their use, and manufacturers point out that the amount of income derived doesn’t support continuous development of new ideas.)]

These (and other) technology solutions are often considered to be attempts to avoid the most simple alternative – putting the words on the screen in what is called “Open Caption”. OC is the absolute favorite of the accessibility audience. Secure, pristine, on the same focal plane, and importantly, all audience members are treated the same – no need to stand in line then be dragging around special equipment while your peers are chatting up somewhere else. But since words on screen haven’t been widely used since shortly after ‘talkies’ became common, the general audience aren’t used to them and many fear they would vehemently object. Attempts to schedule special open screening times haven’t worked in the past for various reasons.

And while open caption might be the first choice for many, it isn’t necessarily the best choice for a child, for example. Imagine the child who has been trained in sign language longer than s/he has been learning to read, who certainly can’t read as fast as those words speeding by in the new Incredibles movie. But signing? …probably better.

Sign language has been used for years on stage, or alongside public servants during announcements, or on the TV or computer screen. So in the cinema it is the next logical step. And just in time, as the studios and manufacturing technology teams are able to jump on the project when many new enabling components are available and tested and able to be integrated into new solutions.

These include recently designed and documented synchronization tools that have gone through the SMTPE and ISO processes, which work well with the newly refined SMPTE compliant DCP (now shipping!, nearly worldwide – yet another story to be written.) These help make the security and packaging concerns of a new datastream more easily addressable within the existing standardized workflows. The question started as ‘how to get a new video stream into the package?’ After much discussion, the choice was made to include that stream as a portion of the audio stream.

There is history in using some of the 8 AES pairs for non-audio purposes (motion seat data, for example). And there are several good reasons for using an available, heretofore unused channel of a partly filled audio pair. Although the enforcement date has been moved back by the Brazilian Normalization group, the technology has progressed such that the main facilitator of movies for the studios, Deluxe, has announced their capability of handling this solution. The ISDCF has a Technical Document in development and under consideration which should help others, and smooth introduction worldwide if that should happen. [See: ISDCF Document 13 – Sign Language Video Encoding for Digital Cinema (a document under development) on the ISDCF Technical Documents web page.]

One major question remains. Where is the picture derived from? The choices are:

  1. to have a person do the signing, or
  2. to use the cute emoticon-style of a computer-derived avatar.

Choice one requires a person to record the signs as part of the post-production process, just as sub-titling or dubbing is done in a language that is different from the original. Of course, translating the final script of the edited movie can only be done at the very last stage of post, and like dubbing requires an actor with a particular set of skills who has to do the work, which then still has to be edited to perfection and approved and QC’d – all before the movie is released.

An avatar still requires that translation. But the tool picks words from the translation, matches them to a dictionary of sign avatars, and presents them on the screen that is placed in front of the user. If there is no avatar for that word or concept, then the word is spelled out, which is what is the common practice in live situations.

There has been a lot of debate within the community about whether avatars can transmit the required nuance. After presentations from stakeholders, the adjudicating party in Brazil reached the consensus that avatars are OK to use, though videos of actors doing the signing being preferred.

The degree of nuance in signing is very well explained by the artist Christine Sun Kim  in the following TED talk. She uses interesting allegories with music and other art to get her points across. In addition to explaining, she also shows how associated but slightly different ideas get conveyed using the entire body of the signer.

Christine Sun Kim at her TED talk about The Enchanting Music of Sign Language


Embed Code from Ted Talk

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Link from Ted Talk


Nuance is difficult enough to transmit well in written language. Most of us don’t have experience with avatars, except perhaps if we consider our interchanges with Siri and Alexa – there we notice that avatar-style tools only transmit a limited set of tone/emphasis/inflection nuance, if any at all. Avatar based signing is a new art that needs to express a lot of detail.

The realities of post production budgets and movie release times and other delivery issues get involved in this issue and the choices available. The situation with the most obstacles is getting all the final ingredients prepared for a day and date deadline. Fortunately, some of these packages can be sent after the main package and joined at the cinema, but either way the potential points of failure increase.

In addition to issues of time, issues of budget come into play. Documentary or small movies made, often made with a country’s film commission funds are often quite limited. Independants with small budgets may run out of credit cards without being able to pay for the talent required to have human signing. Avatars may be the only reasonable choice versus nothing.

At CinemaCon we saw the first of the two technologies presented by two different companies.

Riolte Sign Language System InterfaceRiole® is a Brazilian company which developed a device that passes video from the DCP to a specialized color display that plays the video of the signing actor, as well as simultaneously presenting printed words. It uses SMPTE standard sync and security protocols and an IR emitter. Their cinema line also includes an audio description receiver/headphone system.

Dolby Labs also showed a system that is ready for production, which uses the avatar method. What we see on the picture at the right is a specially designed/inhibited ‘phone’ that the cinema chain can purchase locally. A media player gets input from the closed caption feed from the DCP, then matches that to a library of avatars. The signal is then broadcast via wifi to the ‘phones’. Dolby has refreshed their line of assistive technology equipment, and this will fit into that groups offerings.Dolby Sign Language System Interface

Both companies state that they are working on future products/enhancements that will include the other technology, Riole working on avatars, Dolby working on videos.

There has been conjecture in the past as to whether other countries might follow with similar signing requirements. At this point that remains as conjecture. Nothing but rumors have been noted.

There are approximately 300 different sign languages in use around the world, including International Sign which is used at international gatherings. There are a lot of kids who can’t read subtitles, open or closed. Would they (and we) be better off seeing movies with their friends or waiting until the streaming release at home?

This is a link to a Statement from the WFD and WASLI on Use of Signing Avatars

Link for “Thank you very much” in ASL

What is it with Covid in a Cinema?


Is it because everyone is facing forward and the typical air conditioning system is pushing the air away from people’s faces?

Is it the extra cleaning cycle between each movie, some facilities spraying down each arm piece of each chair and hand-rail?

Is it the new HEPA Filters that many cinemas installed? 

Is it that most people are still wearing masks? …that they were checked at the entrance for being vaccinated? 

Several studies have been done, as noted in Celluloid Junkie, by UNIC, by Deadline one early in the plague’s cycle in the heavily tracked South Korea, and one later in a more general manner – both reaching the same conclusion. No One can point to an incident of Covid being traced to the cinema theater.

CJ Analysis: The Number of COVID-19 Outbreaks Traced to Cinemas is Zero


German Study Demonstrates Low COVID-19 Infection Risk in Cinemas

The Other-Abled, and You

Hey! Hi. This page has been duplicated with updates at the Training Courses site: The Other-Abled, and You.

Please use this new site, since it will be the most up to date and it will come with new features. Thanks!

There’s a funny thing on the internet that lets people in public service jobs know how to deal with those who are disabled – those poor disabled people who have no ability to use Braille or sign language in this case!

What to Do when You Meet a Sighted Person

Sighted people tend to be very proud and will not ask directly for assistance. Be gentle, yet firm.”

Calmly alert the sighted person to his or her surroundings by speaking slowly, in a normal tone of voice. There is no need to raise your voice when addressing a sighted person.”

OK;  jokes aside. We are in a service business, and we get a lot of practice dealing with people who can walk strait to the proper line without assistance, but we don’t get a lot of practice dealing with people who need different kinds of assistance.

Does that blind person get a benefit from using Closed Caption equipment? Uhm…probably not. Audio Description equipment? Yes! Probably, yes. Should you ask? Good idea.  Continue reading The Other-Abled, and You