At the cinema

Going to an accessible movie session

Many cinemas are making it easier for people with a hearing or vision impairment to go to the movies. Here’s what you can expect:

  1. Decide on which movie you want to see.
  2. Find out if the session is accessible: accessible sessions are advertised by the cinemas online as closed captioned (CC) or audio described (AD).
  3. Ticket prices are the same as non-accessible movies with standard discounts for concession card holders, including seniors.
  4. Purchase your ticket at the cinema box office, online or at ticket kiosks within the cinema complex.
  5. Once you have purchased your ticket you will still need to ask the staff at the box office for a caption or audio description unit when you get to the cinema.

Most cinemas will ask to see some identification (ID) and to copy the details to make sure the equipment is returned. This is standard practice for valuable equipment that is loaned to customers across a variety of services. Any government-issued license (for example a driver’s license, passport or pension card) or a Blind Citizens Australia membership card is acceptable.

Instructions on how to use AD and CC units are below. Remember, the box office staff are there to ensure your experience is enjoyable so if you have any questions or difficulties be sure to ask for assistance.

How to use audio description equipment:

  • The box office attendant will give you either an over-the-head headset or a separate small receiver with plug-in earphones. You can bring your own earphones if you like.
  • The box office attendant will show you the basic controls of the unit, including volume controls.
  • Inside the cinema you can sit in any seat to hear the audio description.
  • Note that advertisements and movie trailers are not audio described.
  • The audio description will start from the opening credits of the movie onwards.
  • After the movie is finished you will need to return your headset to the box office unless instructed otherwise.

How to use closed caption equipment:

  • The box office attendant will hand you a captioning unit. They’ll show you the basic controls of the unit and point out instructions you must follow to display the captions when the movie begins.
  • Some cinema staff might give you  the captioning unit at your seat and help you set it up but usually you will be handed the unit at the box office to set up yourself.
  • In this case, once you’re inside the cinema you can sit in any seat to receive the closed captions. Depending on the unit, it will either sit in the cup holder of your seat or clamp onto the cup holder.
  • Move the screen on the flexible neck to a position that’s comfortable for you to see the text. There is often some basic text on display prior to the movie that helps you to do this properly.
  • Advertisements and movie trailers prior to the main feature are not captioned. The captions will recreate the soundtrack for you to read from the opening credits of the movie onwards.
  • After the movie finishes you will need to return the unit to the box office unless instructed otherwise.

Give feedback about your experience:

As part of the Cinema Access Implementation Plan the Accessible Cinema Advisory Group is keen to hear feedback on your experience of captioned cinema. You can email feedback to accessible.cinema@fahcsia.gov.au.


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Tags: Cinema