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Closed captioning for online video

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Paul HarperClosed captioning for online video
by on May 8, 2009 at 4:18:24 am

Hello, I've noticed there are some companies offering closed captioning of internet video through the internet, and wondering if anyone is using these services and can comment about how it's worked out. I have dealt in the past with a 'bricks and mortar' company that does closed captioning, but never did it online. Looks like you upload your video, and they send it back to you with a captioning file. Anyone using that?

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Bill DavisRe: Closed captioning for online video
by on May 13, 2009 at 5:25:12 am

Actual "closed captioning" uses text information encoded to the vertical interval of a BROADCAST signal.

It follows FCC rules about the CC signal that all television receivers must be able to decode.

But when a video is displayed on a computer - there's no equivalent standard for encoding and decoding CC information.

You can OPEN caption it if you like. Which is so say super visible text on the screen somewhere over the video.

But you typically won't find any controls on a computer video player to hide/display CC info.

If you simply want to send video out to someone on-line to get the captioning done and the resulting captioned video sent back - lots of closed caption services do this. But again, it's ONLY useful if you're then going to put that captioned file on a BROADCAST video station.

Hope this helps.

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Matt TownleyRe: Closed captioning for online video
by on May 13, 2009 at 3:25:26 pm


The caption company I use is a "brick-n-mortar" place, but I conduct almost all of my business with them electronically. I upload low-res copies of what I need captioned (with timecode overlay) and they email me back the caption file in the format I need.

I have also seen more "web-only" type places showing up that advertise VERY low prices, but I have never tried any of them. Let us know how it goes if you decide to try one. I would be curious to know how they do.

Bill is primarily right that Closed Captions, in the traditional use of the term, are only available through broadcast video and not electronic files played on a computer. However, there have been some adaptations to this that make it possible. The latest version of Quicktime can toggle Closed-Captions on/off. Compressor can encode the .scc file into a handful of file types that work with this. I'm not sure if there is other software capable of decoding them during playback.

YouTube can also toggle "closed captions" on/off now. They are actually subtitles, but they work like closed captions. To quote YouTube's help page "We currently support a simple subtitle format that is compatible with the formats known as SubViewer (*.SUB) and SubRip (*.SRT). (" Most caption services can output to these formats for you, as can MovCaptioner.

Hope this helps.

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Jeff BreuerRe: Closed captioning for online video
by on May 15, 2009 at 10:47:32 pm

Yes, You Tube uses the JW Player, recently bought out by long tail, that can uses this CC function. And if you know ActionScript, it may be worth looking into.

We recently had this issue, and the answer is in flash. Put very briefly, we farmed out the CC job like Paul and Bill were talking about, got the CC files back and encoded them. To do that you need to convert your movie to a .flv file and "inject" the .scc data into the file using a program called "Captionate." Captionate costs around $60 and is very simple use. From there, pull your new .flv file into Adobe Flash, put a skin on it and export for the web (Flash, of course, if you don't have it can be a spendy program). Flash does not come prepackaged with skins that support CC, however, they do have some available for free download in their Development Center. This will allow your end user to toggle the CC on and off at will.

Hope that helps!

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Steve BrameRe: Closed captioning for online video
by on Jun 11, 2009 at 12:19:07 pm

Here is a player specifically designed for CC...and it's free.

Steve Brame
creative illusions Productions

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