Accessibility Case Study
Sitting on the footprint of Ridgefield, CT’s original movie house, the Prospector Theater was completely rebuilt from the ground up with the mission of providing meaningful employment to adults with disabilities through the operation of a premium, first-run movie theater. The Prospector Theater not only supports the disabled community, but it also offers real value in products that moviegoers want: good movies, entertaining pre-show content, clean facilities, and unparalleled customer service. The 26,000-square-foot building also leads the way in excellence of accessibility, exceeding ADA requirements.
To provide a premium movie-going experience, accessibility equipment is required, as hearing and visual needs are different for each individual.
- Coverage: Consistent coverage for the entire room is needed for closed captioning glasses, cup holders, and headsets.
- Delivered on time, on budget: Accessibility equipment requires regular testing and training by theater staff to ensure quality.
- Ease of use: The equipment needed to be easy to setup, use, and understand.
“We believe that everyone, regardless of disability, should be able to enjoy the ultimate movie-going experience, and the accessibility equipment from QSC is the bridge that makes it all happen.”
Ryan Wenke, Director of Theater Operations
The theater was rebuilt in 2014, which enabled the owners to take advantage of the latest technological advancements in film and install state-of-the-art audio and visual equipment from the beginning. A clear technical goal was established from the outset to ensure a fully accessible auditory and visual cinematic experience for all patrons.
In addition to being fully equipped with Dolby digital surround sound, each theater features a number of QSC closed captioning and assisted listening devices which are available for every first-run movie. Central among these are the CCH-100 CaptionWear™ closed captioning glasses that receive captions via interference-free infrared energy, projecting text into the user’s view and appearing as a distant “virtual image” which minimizes eye strain. The single IR transmitter panel located in the theater auditorium sends both hearing-impaired (HI) and visually-impaired narrative (VI-N) signals to the comfortable to wear, multi-functional glasses.
For easy text reading, a QSC CCR-100 closed caption receiver mounts directly into a patron’s movie seat cup holder, and its flexible gooseneck bends to place the closed caption receiver right into the user’s field of view. Multiple languages are user-selectable from a side panel, and even the light emitting from the device is thoughtfully shielded from other patrons by the screen’s shadow box. The comfortable QSC IRH-281i two-channel headphones allow users to mix HI and VI-N audio signals with two independent volume controls. Hearing aid and implant wearers can also benefit from the direct audio outputs on the headphones’ 3.5 mm jacks.
The Prospector pays particular attention to testing and maintenance of all its assisted listening equipment including a weekly battery test and check, replacing as necessary.“All of our devices are tested every week by Box Office Prospects with every first-run movie currently playing in our complex,” Wenke continues. “As soon as a new movie unlocks, we will play that feature in all of our theaters and test all of our equipment to make sure that narrative description and closed captions are working properly – and that way we can be 100% sure that our patrons will enjoy the best possible experience.”
Running on iOS devices, the Q-SYS Control app allows Prospects to access user control interfaces (UCIs) to control the elements of the integrated audio system, including the audio level in the theaters for public address, background music throughout the building, and wireless microphones for addressing large groups.
By deploying QSC Accessibility solutions, the Prospector Theatre was able to accomplish their goals, along with simplified audio routing and volume control. “The Q-SYS Control phone app is extremely helpful and so easy to use when we need to adjust volume levels remotely for events like birthday parties, adjust microphone levels during presentations, or to route alternate audio such as TV sound or gaming systems to the lobby,” explains Wenke. “We believe that everyone, regardless of disability, should be able to enjoy the ultimate movie-going experience, and the accessibility equipment from QSC is the bridge that makes it all happen. Every single seat in our theater gets clear and intelligible audio signals from the infra-red emitter panels,” Wenke concludes, “and as a result we have fantastic coverage.”