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Closed Captioning is Now required by ALL TV Statioons

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InfomercialKing
Closed Captioning is Now required by ALL TV Statioons
on Jul 10, 2006 at 2:16:08 pm

I air infomercials on every NBC, ABC, CBS, and FOX station and as of last week ALL the TV stations are now demanding that every infomercial and every commercial be Closed Caption.

I looked into different solutions to this using a Media100:
1)Spend $300 per infomercial to add CC
2)Buy MacCaption for $5,000
3)Buy a used line 21 encoder box on eBay
4)Write the software myself since I program in xcode

It isn't that hard to actually write a program in xcode on the MAc or C++ on the PC to add CC data to line 21 of a Quicktime file--I estimate it would take me about 2 weeks because it requires a lot of back and forth testing of the code which is slow and time consuming. So I may do this in my spare time...

Whether you use MacCaption or an outside company to do it for you, you will STILL have to add the CC file to your video. To do this you MUST use Adobe AfterEffects--you can't add it directly in the Media 100 because it takes too long to render and craps out half the time while rendering. You must export a single Quicktime file of your infomercial and import that and the CC file into AE and then create a mask for the CC file and output a new QT file that you then re-import into the M100 as a single video track. It works fine.

MacCaption doesn't write the CC data directly to line 21, the program (they have a patent) create a video representation of the CC data that is added to the scan equivalent of line 21 and it works fine. But it is also NOT that hard to write line 21 data to a video data stream and it would be nice to see this added as an option to Media 100 since all TV stations NOW require it.




The Infomercial King


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InfomercialKing
Re: Closed Captioning is Now required by ALL TV Statioons
on Jul 10, 2006 at 4:36:12 pm

There are several programs available in the market that range in price from $5,000 to $9,000 both with and without hardware. I consider thsi too expensive a price to do something that should have been included for FREE in the NLS sysyems to begin with.

Source code for the PC platform to do this has already been published for free to add line 21 to video data stream of Microsoft's TV format for DVDs.

I am hoping that now that the demand has increased for this, we will see some $30 programs to do.

The Infomercial King


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Jim Calahan
Re: Closed Captioning is Now required by ALL TV Statioons
on Jul 11, 2006 at 3:16:57 am

It's not the TV stations It's the FCC


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InfomercialKing
Re: Closed Captioning is Now required by ALL TV Statioons
on Jul 11, 2006 at 12:14:39 pm

I stand corrected. It is the FCC.

I think there should be a law that adds Closed Captioning for people with disabilities. But I think that the government should have implemented one of several other methods that would be much less expensive and easier or they should have worked with industry to provide the means.

There are a lot of producers who can't afford to spend $5,000 to $9,000 to do this in-house.

By the way, I tried several ways to do captioningn and I must say that using an external line 21 encoder is the best method with the best results. The software only approaches I tried gave crappy results!

My suggestion so far is to either send it out for $300 or to buy an encoder box and NOT to use a software only approach.

None of the software I lookled at writes the byte codes directly to line 21 and I am working with several programmers--I program in xcode myself to write a program that will write this directly which would be the best solution.




The Infomercial King


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David Jones
Re: Closed Captioning is Now required by ALL TV Statioons
on Jul 11, 2006 at 5:50:23 pm

I suggest you have a look at what the regulations really are.

http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/dro/caption.html



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InfomercialKing
Re: Closed Captioning is Now required by ALL TV Statioons
on Jul 11, 2006 at 6:57:37 pm

I have read it several times. If you have a point to make, why don't you make your point so everyone can understand what you are trying to say.

The regualtions are very clear and when the stations tell me they won't accept tapes without Closed Captioning that is a message that is certainly clear as compared with your cryptic posting.

So what is your point?

The Infomercial King


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David Jones
Re: Closed Captioning is Now required by ALL TV Statioons
on Jul 11, 2006 at 11:34:12 pm

My cryptic posting?
I just suggested you re-read the FCC guidelines on Closed Captioning.

So what's my point?
The point is, there are clear exceptions laid out by the FCC... Section 79.1(d) & Section 79.1(f) for example.


Now I don't know if the expense of having to provide closed captioned material would be considered an undue burden on say a small edit shop with a used media100 and a bvw-50.
But I wouldn't think the expense would be that big of a deal for someone like you. I mean after-all, you are "The Infomercial King".
And by one of your other postings.....

InfomercialKing:
...I buy and trade half hour blocks of television time. The average cost of a HALF HOUR of TV time on any NBC, ABC, CBS or FOX station for me is from $50 to $500 for any time slot (avail)...

One project I am about to launch is to use a half hour infomercial to promote a film. I believe that as little as $10,000 of infomercial time on national cable can generate at least $10 million in direct video sales based on my testing so far....

It sounds to me like you are rolling in the dough, and the cost of closed captioning should be a drop in the bucket!





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InfomercialKing
Re: Closed Captioning is Now required by ALL TV Statioons
on Jul 12, 2006 at 9:31:00 am

There are NO exceptions! To even apply for an exception takes months to over 1 year for a response and it would be hard to argue that you can't afford to Closed Caption something when you are buying millions of dollars worth of TV time. So your suggestion is misleading and NOT even an option.

In fact, the FCC has stated that NO exceptions will be made for commercials so your suggestion is is misleading to other readers who think that they might not have to do it.

Further, when a station says they want a tape closed captioned, then you had better send it closed captioned ot it will not air.



The Infomercial King


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David Jones
Re: Closed Captioning is Now required by ALL TV Statioons
on Jul 12, 2006 at 4:56:13 pm

[InfomercialKing] "There are NO exceptions!"

According to the FCC there are exceptions, and they provide a whole section on just that information, from time of day exclusions to yada yada...
But then again I'm not a lawyer.

[InfomercialKing] "it would be hard to argue that you can't afford to Closed Caption something when you are buying millions of dollars worth of TV time. So your suggestion is misleading and NOT even an option."

So then what is the POINT of your posts?
If you are buying millions of dollars worth of TV time, why not just spend the money and buy what you need to caption?
It's a business expense, right it off, depreciate it on a schedule.
Or have the captioning done out of house, and charge your client for the expense just like you would for editing or any other service.
And make everyone happy, instead of crying about it.



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InfomercialKing
Re: Closed Captioning is Now required by ALL TV Statioons
on Jul 12, 2006 at 5:02:59 pm

I made my fortune by EARNING it and not by throwing away $300 per tape to do captioning! I will take the time to write the software myself which I can do because I am an expert in xcode and Quicktime, but it would be nice if I can connect with other programmers who would like to join in my efforts so we can make captioning affordable for everyone.

I will NOT throw awy $5,000 on siftware that should cost $30 or be free!

I the next few months the impact from this will start hitting all of the small production companies who can't afford to spend $300 per tape because their clients won't pay it for a 2 minute commercial.





The Infomercial King


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Ernie Santella
Re: Closed Captioning is Now required by ALL TV Statioons
on Jul 14, 2006 at 3:49:52 am

Is this mandatory CC for just broadcast or cable also?

Ernie Santella
Santella Film/Video Productions
http://www.santellaproductions.com


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InfomercialKing
Re: Closed Captioning is Now required by ALL TV Statioons
on Jul 14, 2006 at 12:13:22 pm

We air almost ecxclusively on 900 broadcast stations and about 400 stations emaled us that they will no longer accept any infomercial or spot (2 minutes or less) or any type of programming without Closed Captioning because the FCC starting fining stations $40,000 for each show without it.

I read the regs and the law went into effect last January for BROADCAST stations and it is now being enforced. It clearly applies to broadcast stations and I can't tell from reading the regs if it also applies to cable.



The Infomercial King


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Norm Wright
Re: Closed Captioning is Now required by ALL TV Statioons
on Jul 14, 2006 at 8:21:27 pm

Found this list of exemptions at http://www.captions.org/factsheet.cfm


There are some exemptions to the above captioning rules (for both English and Spanish language programming). For example, captioning is not required for:

Programs which are shown between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m. local time;

Locally produced and distributed non-news programming with no repeat value (e.g., parades and school sports);

Commercials that are no more than five minutes long;

Instructional programming that is locally produced by public television stations for use in grades K-12 and post secondary schools (only covers programming narrowly distributed to individual educational institutions);

Programs in languages other than English or Spanish;

Programs shown on new networks for the first four years of the network's operations;

Public service announcements under 10 minutes, unless they are federally-funded or produced; and

Video programming providers with annual gross revenues under $3 million (although such programmers must pass through video programming that has already been captioned).

In addition, a video programming provider or distributor may ask the FCC for an exemption for specific programming if supplying captions for that programming would result in an undue burden for the provider or distributor.


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InfomercialKing
Re: Closed Captioning is Now required by ALL TV Statioons
on Jul 14, 2006 at 8:37:27 pm

Hi,

I can tell that you don't buy TV time. The REAKL WORLD works like this:

1) All the exemptions you mention are NOT automatic and require that you make an application to the FCC and our attorney says that he can count on one hand the number of exemptions granted and the process takes from months to over 1 year.

2) The TV station say they want it Closed Captioned or it doesn't air and they don't care what you say! This is the real world....

Also, every infomercial that is airing will always gross over $15 milion a year MINIMUM and many of my infomercials have grossed over $160 million in the first 6 months. Infomercials are a big business.

I think Close Captioning should be required but I think it should be a system other than the on eimplemented which places a financial and time burden on everyone.



The Infomercial King


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InfomercialKing
Re: Closed Captioning is Now required by ALL TV Statioons
on Jul 14, 2006 at 9:02:57 pm

By the way, 85% of what airs in infomercial time are NOT infomercials but NON-infomercial entertainment shows.

Also, most of our infomercial do NOT air late night. The biulk of the TV time we buy is Mon thru Fri afternoons and weekends DAYTIME.

I appreciate your posting what you did, please don't take my commments the wrong way.

When a large group of broadcast TV stations decide to insist on Captioning then we don't fight it.

One last comment, while it is true that any successful infomercial will ALWAYS gross over $15 million in the first 6 months of airing it, our profit margins are very tight.

I thought about it, and I feel that I have a responsibility to add the close captioning myself---I had never thought about it before. My gripe is with the few companies that are charging so much money for software and hardware--$5,000 and up!

As I said, I am writinga program right now to add line 21 captioning and I invite any other programmers out there to work with me and we will sell the software for under $50.

APPLE COMPUTER says that they want to make software and hardware to help the handicap? Right? Well let them put their money where there mouth is--they could easily publish the source code that would allow anyone to add line 21 closed captioning--I bet they already have at least 50 programmers who could write it in less than an hour--so why doesn't Apple publish this code?






The Infomercial King


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Ajmetz
Re: Closed Captioning is Now required by ALL TV Statioons
on Jul 15, 2006 at 5:07:30 am

Good luck with the programme mate.

Hey - it's for me and you, gotta do it, so we can circulate...

I don't produce for broadcast atm, but I do work on a shoe string, so appreciate the coding effort. Will also be interesting to see if the capability appears in future installments of editing software, although I see you've already criticised some of the current software efforts.

I should also point out I'm not entirely sure what closed captioning is.
Although I'll probably look it up on Wikipedia in due course.
In part of my DVD production, there's an interview with a Japanese guide, that I had to subtitle, but I just used Boris FX for that.

Someone else here wrote about using After Effects for CC. That's cool, as I have that. So atm I'm blissfully ignorant, but hopefully if I ever need to know about CC, I'll either already have capable software, or else may be able to benefit from the community's code.





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Ernie Santella
Re: Closed Captioning is Now required by ALL TV Statioons
on Jul 16, 2006 at 4:24:23 pm

Ajmetz,

You confusing Close-Captioning with subtitling. Subtitles are always on the screen for translation (For example, a french soundtrack for the US market would have the works in English on the screen all the time)

Close-Captioning is for example, an English soundtrack with English words appearing on the screen for Deaf people, but only if you active the Close-Captioning feature on your TV. This is encoded in the video on line 21 of the signal and not burned into the picture full-time like subtitles.
---------------

Come on guys, there has to be some computer geek out there that can write this code for a plug-in that he could sell for say $200! It doesn't have to be fancy with scrolling type, just basic word boxes. You'd make a bloody fortune!!!

Ernie Santella
Santella Film/Video Productions
http://www.santellaproductions.com


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InfomercialKing
Re: Closed Captioning is Now required by ALL TV Statioons
on Jul 16, 2006 at 6:11:30 pm

I am not confusing Close-Captioning with subtitles.

The TV stations want Closed Captioning which is for deaf people and written to line 21.

All new TV sets have decoders which can read line 21 encoding and which can display that text on the screen if you choose to display it.

It is that hard to write to line 21... each non-linear editing system, Avid, Media 100, etc. starts at a different column but it is easy to read.

Take any all black quicktime file with closed captioning on it for the media 100 and open it in a BINARY editor. You can easily see where each frame begins and easily read the bytes for captioning.

What makes this tedious is that you need to translate the letters you want to write into the corresponding byte code, not for the letters, but for the retarded system some geek came up with--it would be trival if they had just used the bytes that correspond to the alphabet!

So I am slowly writing alibrary and then it should be simpel to write to line 21 starting at any colum that corresponds to a specific editing system.

I am thinking that I will give away the software for FREE because I don't believe in overcharging people when it comes to the issue of handicaped people and Apple should take the lead and publish the code since they are claiming to be so concerned about the handicaped!







The Infomercial King


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Ajmetz
Re: Closed Captioning is Now required by ALL TV Statioons
on Jul 16, 2006 at 6:15:04 pm

Nah, it was me that was confusing Subtitles and Closed Captioning, and thanks to Ernie for clarifying.

Meanwhile, looking forwards to the code InfoKing, all the best with it!



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InfomercialKing
Re: Closed Captioning is Now required by ALL TV Statioons
on Jul 16, 2006 at 8:06:12 pm

If anyone wants the code samples and references I have accummulated so far one coding lline 21 for closed captioning, just email me and I will email the links to you.

I am just tired of paying high prices for everything!

I don't know if it is true, but somebody told me that the word "SONY" in Japanese stands for "Bend Over"?



The Infomercial King


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Ajmetz
Re: Closed Captioning is Now required by ALL TV Statioons
on Jul 16, 2006 at 8:24:05 pm


Nothing like that about the Sony Name here:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SONY#Company_Name

And Soni means goldsmith in various indian languages:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soni_%28language%29

Meanwhile, Japanese company names are discussed here:
http://www.languagehat.com/archives/001733.php
And someone called Dave claims:
"I had always heard the story that "Sony" was derived from "Sound" and "Nippon", i.e. "So-Ni" with a friendlier spelling." - although the Wikipedia story at the top, that I linked to first, would have us believe that is not the case, but a mere myth.

Okay, sorry for going off topic.





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Ernie Santella
Re: Closed Captioning is Now required by ALL TV Statioons
on Jul 16, 2006 at 8:47:30 pm

I've been searching out all CC resources and came across this. Anybody know anything about it?

http://ncam.wgbh.org/webaccess/magpie/magpie1.html

Ernie Santella
Santella Film/Video Productions
http://www.santellaproductions.com


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InfomercialKing
Re: Closed Captioning is Now required by ALL TV Statioons
on Jul 17, 2006 at 3:16:31 am

Hi,

That software is ONLY to create titles, NOT Closed Captioning!

I can write a program to add titles to any video in about 5 minutes!

I am talking about CLOSED CAPTIONING which are titles that do NOT appear on the screen.

Closed Captions ONLY appear if you turn on a reader to display them.



The Infomercial King


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InfomercialKing
Re: Closed Captioning is Now required by ALL TV Statioons
on Jul 17, 2006 at 3:17:46 am

It was a joke! SONY products are very expensive so... Gret it?

The Infomercial King


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Ernie Santella
Re: Closed Captioning is Now required by ALL TV Statioons
on Jul 17, 2006 at 6:08:33 pm

I was just speaking with another editor who told me the CC mandate only applies to TV markets 25 & higher. Is this true?

Ernie Santella
Santella Film/Video Productions
http://www.santellaproductions.com


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InfomercialKing
Re: Closed Captioning is Now required by ALL TV Statioons
on Jul 17, 2006 at 6:12:21 pm

I don't think so. My attorney said it applies to all markets and we air in all top 25 markets... so if we have to do it for one station in one market it is done for all of them since it doesn't cost any extra--the only cost is the first master.

The Infomercial King


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vpttpa
Re: Closed Captioning is Now required by ALL TV Statioons
on Jul 17, 2006 at 6:59:29 pm

a Quick Question, after looking at the posts the past few days, I set up my home tv's cc during primetime and non primetime- about 80 percent of the local commercials did not have cc, and about a third to half of the nationals did not have cc, (all car and medical commercials had cc) some commercials may have had a flight schedule months ago, most seemed recently made, earlier someone wrote about the fcc regulations- you said the orders came from the networks, so that makes the fcc excemptions moot. You obviously do infomercials, did the networks say commercials under two minutes along with infomercials needed cc: pardon the ignorance I just wanted to be sure i was on the track with this.
thanks



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