Do-It-Yourself Video Closed Captioning

CaptioningThe first entry in a new series to help you get started captioning from our own Giovanni Galvez

Working with Captions

For a lot of people, the process for closed captioning videos seems intimidating. After all, closed captioning is a technical process that is becoming increasingly regulated by government agencies with specific guidelines.

But the process can be very simple and, for pre-recorded videos, can be done right on your desktop. Can your captioning project be D.I.Y.? Here are the key questions that need to be answered:

  • Do you have a transcript, or can you create one?
    Giovanni Galvez
    • Oftentimes you already have a script available. This can be easily repurposed from a simple text document and formatted for video playback using captioning software such as MacCaption or CaptionMaker. If a script is not available, one can be created using any word processor.
    • Pressed for time? Transcription services can be pretty affordable and can conduct your whole process via email or Internet.
  • Is the video file format right for captioning and delivery?
    • When captioning for internet delivery, an .mp4 or .mov is ideal.Ā  For broadcast to TV, you may need to convert your video file to a different format. Software tools like Vantage and Episode are available to create the correct format when needed.
  • Do you have what you need for quality-assurance?
    • Recent legislative changes requiring quality closed captioning mean that a show broadcast without captions is a major liability for video producers and broadcasters. Production studios rely on software video players like Switch to verify that captions are present and in sync before delivery.
    • If your video is not in compliance, it may never make it to the broadcaster.It is critical you establish a workflow that Captioningincludes a layer of captioning quality assurance. Workflows that check for proper caption data let you rest assured that your video will not be rejected by TV stations and broadcast companies.
    • To complete your workflow for delivery to broadcast TV, simply add verification software. Tools like Switch, MacCaption and CaptionMaker are available for both Mac OS X and Windows at low cost and will make yours a successful end-to-end video captioning workflow.

Want to learn more? Sign up for our free DIY Captioning webinar on July 21st!

One comment

  1. Clearly, CC for TV broadcasting needs to be treated separately from the challenges of making MPEG-4 video more accessible for web and eBook applications. Because of the standards involved, they are very different problems and when one considers the difference between captions (a binary format) and subtitles (a text format), they are technically very different as well.
    Captions and subtitles speak only to the accessibility needs of the hearing impaired. There are other disabilities such as visual impairments that also need to be addressed, possibly with multiple audio tracks.
    We’re not going to make very good progress if we continue to conflate TV, MPEG-4, CC and subtitling.

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