having seen a few audio described films on DVD and a fair few audio described TV programmes, I was keen to try out Audio Description at the cinema, so went with my Dad and nephew to see Harry Potter and the half Blood prince.
firstly I was surprised that although AD was available for this film, it was not at every showing so we had to choose our time carefully. On arrival at the Vue Cinema, Cribbs Causeway, Bristol, we got hold of a headset fairly quickly and went off to see the film. Being a bit of a kid when it comes to Harry Potter, I was well looking forward to it!
I was a little surprised when I put the headset on to realise that, although it was a full headset with big earphones on each side, it only transmitted the audio description, and not the film, so I had to listen to the film that was being played to the auditorium, despite the fact that my ears were covered with cans! Not ideal but it was doable so I settled down to watch the film.
My headphones however, were clearly receiving some sort of radio signal as I got interference when anyone moved around me. I gradually also got increasing constant interference and the AD track was more and more distorted. Eventually the interference was so great that I could no longer hear the film and it was clear that the batteries in the headset had given up. They managed to last for 45 minutes into the film.
So, its the old, old story. Vue have ticked the box. They can advertise Audio Description. They can hand out headsets albeit on limited films at limited times. But they can’t ensure that they will work correctly.
Once you’ve seen the film, missed most of it due to lack of AD and then come out, had a word with the manager, received your complementary cinema ticket and gone on your way feeling very disappointed and frustrated, you end up giving away said ticket to enthusiastic nephew because you really wonder whether you wouldn’t be better waiting for the DVD instead of going to the cinema.