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Live Closed Captions in FCP X

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Greg Jones
Live Closed Captions in FCP X
on Dec 9, 2015 at 9:49:01 pm

Hey guys, I produce government meetings with live closed captioning (line 21) and we're finally switching to tapeless (please hold back your laughter). We have an autocue video server as a back-up (in case the tapes take a dump), and FCP is not a fan of those files. So my big questions are: Can I record into FCP directly and keep the captions? And if so, can I then spit out files that hold the captions? I'm not an engineer, so be gentle.

Thanks in advance!

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Noah Kadner
Re: Live Closed Captions in FCP X
on Dec 10, 2015 at 12:48:55 am

Doubt it- FCPX has very little awareness of closed captioning other than burned in.


FCP eXchange - FCPX Workshops

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Mark Suszko
Re: Live Closed Captions in FCP X
on Dec 10, 2015 at 4:42:53 pm
Last Edited By Mark Suszko on Dec 10, 2015 at 4:53:05 pm

Huh, that's weird, I typed a medium-sized (for me) reply to this but it seems to have vanished.

You can't "record" into FCPX like you could with FCP7 and an Aja IO. We experimented with FCP7, recording using the 10-bit uncompressed codec, and found we could preserve and even *edit* with line 21 captions intact on output, if the edits were just straight cuts, and not too many. FCPX doesn't "record": it "imports", so you'd need an outboard application and hardware to capture the analog signal with Line 21 in the 10-bit uncompressed codec, then see if FCPX would deal with it.

We're in a similar boat in my shop: anything we produce that has ties to federal grants, HAS to be closed-captioned. Our current process requires dropping from digital back into analog to encode Line 21.

I've been harping for some time that FCPX would lock-in a LOT of institutional users if it could cheaply solve the transcription and captioning tasks with a plug-in of some kind. Right now, practically the only game in town is to contract out to a captioning bureau, or drop six grand a seat for maccaption software, plus encoding hardware.

For getting the transcription, there are a couple of methods: one is to get a headset mic, listen to the program audio, and repeat it word for word into Dragon Naturally Speaking, so it only has one, clear voice to track. The term for that is "re-speaking". That generates a clean transcription with few errors.

You can hire court stenographers or transcriptionists or CART operators thru a Deaf Services Bureau, they are near-real time, generally pretty accurate, (especially if you can supply them with cheat sheets of obscure or technical terms in a script ahead of time), costs could range around a hundred an hour. That still doesn't include hardware to embed the track into your videos.

I have another method; I uploaded a video to youtube on a private channel, let YouTube's AI generate the transcript, then YT allows you to edit the mistakes in their auto-transcription interface, and the timing of the captions, right on their page, and export a clean, mistake-free .SCC file. Much less tedious than me hand-typing an hour's worth of show, and free. A cheap app I found in the App store will let you graft that .scc file to an XML file, which you add to a track in Final Cut Pro X, and Bam, you have... a kind of open-captioning, really just synchronized subtitles. You could combine the scc file and your video within Compressor, I understand, but I have yet to try it, myself. The youtube method works pretty good, such as it is, but that's not the same as generating a true, CEA 708 closed captioning metadata stream.

That's what I want from Apple for Christmas: CEA 708 ability, preferably with a built-in transcription utility, in HDTV output from FCPX.

And a hoola-hoop:-)

You may be reading this and wondering why it's all that urgent, when there's plenty of other things that still need to be added to FCPX.

Captioning isn't just for the deaf, or people learning English; it is very future-forward: it makes all your content keyword-searchable by users. It also enables auto-translation to other languages, enabling a larger audience for your productions.

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Greg Jones
Re: Live Closed Captions in FCP X
on Dec 10, 2015 at 5:29:44 pm

I'd like that and a few other nice features from Apple. Do you know of any other NLE's that would handle it? Premiere, Avid? I'll switch if I have to.

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Andreas Kiel
Re: Live Closed Captions in FCP X
on Dec 19, 2015 at 11:12:01 am

In theory Premiere could handle parts of it.
I had no success with some older versions and quite a lot of people I know don't have either.

You can ask the question on the Premiere forum or the CC forum.

- Andreas


"He who fights with monsters should be careful lest he thereby
become a monster. And if thou gaze long into an abyss, the abyss will
also gaze into thee." - Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil

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