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Yet another captioning question

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Dennis Leppell
Yet another captioning question
on Oct 1, 2009 at 9:07:08 pm

I've read the posts, done my searching, and can't seem to get my head completely around the whole captioning process, the variety of options, and how it pertains to my workflow. Let me explain, in detail.

I work for a weekly syndicated show. we have 3 suites....2 G4's running tiger and studio 1, and one octo-intel running studio 2 and leopard. No capture cards in house. No Aja, matrox, blackmagic. I've been trying to get at least one since I started, but no dice.

We film in DV and HDV, master in DV, and syndicate to a couple dozen markets weekly, a new show each week (for the last 24 yrs). Delivery is on BetaSP or DVD, and now one market with a mpeg trasport stream. Each show is made of three 6 min. long segments; some are repeats, but each week is different. As well, each market gets a different commercial package. All this is done on one of the G4's using a usb 422 keyspan for Beta deck control.

All of this info is put forth for full disclosure for my main question. Our current Closed Captioning house is getting out of the CC business, so we are looking for a new solution. Typically, we would send a MiniDV with 5-6 segments, and would be returned a MiniDV CC master, which would be ingested into the G4 using a sony DSR-40, which retains the CC, assembled into an episode as need/scheduled, on a 720x480 timeline, and the dumped to Beta, passing through the DSR-40 to retain the CC (thus no need for capture card).

So now that I'm looking for a new CC company, can anybody recommend another workflow? I'm very interested in the black video w/ CC on the top layer method, primarily because of the quick turnaround time, but am unsure this will work without a capture card. Or expensive software (Captionmax tell me we need MacCaption DV encoder) A big concern that I have is if we have these segments CC'd, and recieve a file that can be dropped into the timeline to correspond with the segment, will the CC info be timecode dependent. Example....I run segment A this weekend, starting time is
in 6 months, I need to run the segment again, does segment A need start at that same time, or can we move it to anywhere within the program? Remember, we send a different commercial package to each market, so it's not feasible to have all 26 markets CC'd each week.

I know the answer to all this is throw a lot of money at it and get things upgraded and set up proper....but this is the mess I walked into when I started here, and I have no control of the purse strings....the only reason we have the 1 intel mac is cuz I literally blew up the old one (kinda same thing with the HDV camera). So please, can anyone out there think of a better way that's not going to get me laughed outta the boss's office for asking about the budget?

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Doug Beal
Re: Yet another captioning question
on Oct 1, 2009 at 10:40:12 pm

Any thing we don't do in house we send to Captionlink. great people great service. They might be able to help you. we have capture cards on macs and PC so they send us what we need based on the situation.
Seth is out of the office for a couple days this week but I'm sure he'd be able to advise you in some direction.

Doug Beal
Editor / Engineer
Rock Creative Images
Nashville TN

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Jason Livingston
Re: Yet another captioning question
on Oct 2, 2009 at 12:51:24 am

Hi Dennis,
The black movie method only works for 720x486 video (via a Matrox, AJA, Blackmagic, etc.), while DV is 720x480 (the caption data is stored elsewhere as metadata). So you can't use the black movie method for DV Firewire workflows. For your tape workflow you need DV video with embedded captions. In Final Cut Pro 7 there is a slightly easier workflow, but it would only work on your Intel machine.

For your tapeless workflow, you have to use a MPEG-2 compressor which can read your closed captions and convert them into the necessary metadata during the compression to MPEG-2. The ones that can do this tend to be expensive. MacCaption-DTV or higher can also embed captions into MPEG-2 after the compression step.

Caption tracks are timecode-dependent and cannot be edited just by cutting up or moving around video on the timeline (unless you use our Assemble Captions feature). In almost all cases, any edits or renders will delete all caption data. Without having MacCaption in house, you'd have to get your videos re-captioned after any edits.

If you're looking for a caption company to this for you, just ask for one that uses MacCaption (most of them do).

If you want to bring it in house, give CPC a call and we can discuss the various options with you.

Hope this helps,

Jason Livingston

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Bouke Vahl
Re: Yet another captioning question
on Oct 2, 2009 at 8:57:52 am

There is absolutely no need for expensive software and hardware.
Outputting with CC to DV can be done over just firewire with FCP 7

Only thing expensive and labour intensive is the creation of the CC files. That can be done by any company that can provide you with a .SCC file.

If you want to do it yourself with inexpensive software, have a look at Subbits. Originally made for subtitling, but you can switch it in CC mode and create .SCC files.
(download a free demo from my site)


smart tools for video pro's

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