Video Captioning on the Web

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A history of closed captioning and a comparison of online caption editors. For my presentation at Refresh DC on June 16, 2011.

A history of closed captioning and a comparison of online caption editors. For my presentation at Refresh DC on June 16, 2011.

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  • This is really great! I work for Student Disability Services at Cornell University, and I'm putting together some information to show professors regarding why they should caption any A/V materials in their classes -- this is a fantastic resource!

    BTW, I've captioned several videos myself at this point (I normally work in the classroom as a C-Print Captionist but I also make videos accessible for the students I work with), and my software of choice is Aegisub, which is also free. I think it's great that there are so many choices out there. :)
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  • Great info. For an easy-to-use desktop solution, please try MovieCaptioner (Mac/Win). We offer a free ebook 'Get Started with Video Captioning' (in PDF or iBooks format) that is a good guide for people new to video captioning. It's really very easy with the right tools! Here is the link:
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  • 1. VideoCaptioning on the Web
  • 2. Russell Heimlich★ Sole developer at the Pew Research Center★ Creator of★ Frontend and Backend Developer★ I care about accessibility
  • 3. What Are Video Captions?“Captions are text versions of the spokenword allowing the content of web audioand video to be accessible to those who do not have access to audio.” –
  • 4. What Are Video Captions?★ You know them as the text on the bottom
  • 5. Captions vs. Subtitles★ Captions are a transcript of the audio and key sound effects for deaf viewers.★ Subtitles are translations of the audio in another language for hearing viewers.★
  • 6. Open Captions vs. Closed Captions★ Open captions are burned in to the video and always on the screen.★ Closed captions can be turned on or off and are independent of the video.
  • 7. Open Captions vs. Closed Captions★ Open captions are like a flattened image★ Closed captions are like Photoshop layers
  • 8. Who Benefits from Captions?★ Deaf viewers★ Hard of hearing★ Second language learners★ Anyone watching TV in a noisy environment★ Machines (online)
  • 9. The History of Captions How we got to where we are today...
  • 10. PBS’ French Chef (1972)★ First television program that was accessible to deaf and hard of hearing viewers.★ Used “Open” Captions (burned onto the video)★ Source:
  • 11. Closed Captioning★ First demonstrated in 1971 at a Hearing Impaired conference in Nashville.★ 2nd Demo at Gallaudet College (now Gallaudet University) on February 15, 1972.★ PBS station WETA broadcasted the first closed captioned programming in 1973.
  • 12. The Early Years of Closed Captioning★ Real-time closed captioning wasn’t available until 1982.★ A separate set-top box was needed to decode
  • 13. Television Decoder Circuitry Act of 1990★ Gave FCC power to enact rules on the implementation of Closed Captioning.★ Required screens 13” or greater to have built-in chip to display closed captions.★ Enforced on July 1st, 1993
  • 14. 1990 Americans with Disabilities Act★ Ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities★ Public facilities (excluding movie theaters) had to provide access to verbal information on televisions, films or slide shows
  • 15. Telecommunications Act of 1996Requires people or companies that distributetelevision programs directly to home viewers tomake sure those programs are captioned byJanuary 1, 1998.Source: National Institute on Deafness and OtherCommunication Disorders
  • 16. 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010★ Requires broadcasters to provide captioning for television programs redistributed on the web.★ Source: Bill H.R. 3101
  • 17. How Do I Caption MyOnline Videos?
  • 18. By Online I Really Mean YouTube★ YouTube receives 48 hours of video a minute★ 3 Billion views a day!★ According to ComScore, as of April 2011, YouTube is the top online video property.★ Source: YouTube Blog & ComScore
  • 19. In other words...
  • 20. Paid Captioning Services For those with more money than time
  • 21.★ $95 for 30 seconds★ 2 hours for $1,420
  • 22.★ $7.50 / video minute★ $75 minimum
  • 23.★ $3 / video minute★ Done by humans
  • 24.★ $2 / video minute★ Machine / Human Analysis
  • 25. Do It Yourself ToolsFor those with more time than money
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  • 32. What about YouTube itself?
  • 33. Adding Captions Screen
  • 34. Upload Your Own★ Supports SubViewer (.sub) and SubRip (.srt)★ YouTube has it’s own similar format called SBV★ Any of these can be created in a text editor★ YouTube will convert it to SBV for you!
  • 35. SubViewer (.sub) Format{Start frame}{End frame}Text ( | = line break ){1471}{1538}..and the continuance|of their parents rage,...{1540}{1634}..which, but their childrens end,|nought couldremove,...{1636}{1702} now the two hours traffic|of our stage.
  • 36. SubRip (.srt) FormatSubtitle NumberStart time --> End time (HH:MM:SS,milliseconds)Text (one or more lines)Blank line100:00:20,000 --> 00:00:24,400Altocumulus clouds occur between six thousand200:00:24,600 --> 00:00:27,800and twenty thousand feet above ground level.
  • 37. YouTube’s SBV FormatStart time, End time (H:MM:SS.milliseconds)Text (one or more lines)0:00:03.490,0:00:07.430>> FISHER: All right. So, lets begin.This session is: Going Social0:00:07.430,0:00:11.600with the YouTube APIs. I amJeff Fisher,0:00:14.009,0:00:15.889[pause]
  • 38. Upload A Transcript★ No timecode? No problem.★ Upload a transcription and YouTube will sync it to the video automatically★ English and Japanese Only
  • 39. Automatic Transcriptions★ Uses speech recognition to auto-caption video★ Same quality as Google Voice Transcriptions★ Manually Started (could take a few days)★ Source:
  • 40. YouTube Captions Fail
  • 41. Auto-translate Captions From the Player★ Machine translation available on the fly.
  • 42. YouTube Caption Limitations★ You can only add captions to your own videos!★ Poor audio quality = poor caption quality★ Caption data only available via API to logged-in users
  • 43. Other YouTube Caption Tricks★ Add ,cc to any search to show only captioned videos★ In the player, press... + to increase font - to decrese B or b to toggle caption background★ Captions are repositionable ( only)
  • 44. To sum things up...
  • 45. ★ Video captions are important★ Plenty of services to do caption videos for you★ Not a lot of good tools available★ Tedious to create captions from scratch today★ YouTube is easier/cheap way to caption videos
  • 46. One More Thing...
  • 47. Demo of
  • 48. The End. Questions?★ Follow @kingkool68★ Follow @VidCapper and★ Accessibility DC Meetup June 21, MLK Library★ Accessibility Camp DC, October 22