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Captioning for Broadcast and Streaming Video

Video Caption Corporation

As more churches take the Word to television and the web, questions about video captioning come into play. On the television side, many churches find they need to comply with the Federal Communication Commission's closed-captioning requirements. Most TV sets today are equipped with closed-caption decoders that can turn captions on or off. On the web side, the FCC has not yet mandated the captioning of web video. But many organizations look to caption streaming video as a way to connect with those who are deaf or hard of hearing, and to accommodate others who appreciate the option of watching their video without listening to the audio.

Broadcast Captioning

For most churches, outsourcing the closed-captioning function for recorded video destined for television broadcast is an attractive option. "Having been affiliated with a closed-caption service provider for nearly a decade, I know that very few ministries are fully prepared for the added effort and expense of close captioning their shows," says Tiffany S. Thomas, director of business development for Video Caption Corporation. Churches should determine their expectations for caption quality, turnaround, reliability, and price, and evaluate how much responsibility they want to take for the captioning process, Thomas advises.

Studies have consistently shown that deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers prefer pop-on style captions.

As a rule-of-thumb, basic roll-up style captioning for a 30-minute show once per week, with the caption master produced in three days and delivered overnight to a single station on Beta SP or Digibeta, would cost under $250, including transcription, captioning, encoding, and tape stock. Shipping and handling cost extra.

To offset costs, churches can market closed-captioning sponsorships to individuals and business owners in the congregation and community. Typically, the sponsor is acknowledged for their financial support in the closing credits of the show. In this way, both the ministry and the sponsor benefit.

In choosing a closed-captioning service provider, churches should look for a provider that specializes in closed captioning, shows commitment to technology (hardware and software), and maintains the highest product and service standards. Beware of bargain-priced services, as the old adage "you get what you pay for" still holds true.

The two basic styles of captioning are "roll-up" and "pop-on." Video Caption Corporation offers these, as well as a third: premium roll-up captions. The company's FCC-compliant basic roll-up captions are transcribed, timed, and never cover onscreen graphics. Caption editors research all unfamiliar terms for proper spelling, applying the same multiple-level quality control reviews as with their premium caption styles.

The company's premium roll-up style captions increase overall readability. For instance, when captions are moved to avoid covering onscreen graphics, caption editors anticipate the move by taking the text off the screen at the end of the sentence immediately prior to the graphic, and then begin the next sentence with the text in the new location. When consistent with the audio, the editors also time the text to come off the screen at the end of a scene and begin with the next scene.

Lastly, studies have consistently shown that deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers prefer pop-on style captions. Video Captioning Corporation's pop-on captions are carefully placed on the screen to indicate the speaker, and include descriptions of music and sound effects. Pop-on captions are ideal for programming where multiple characters are onscreen at the same time.

Web Captioning

Video captioning is an important tool for churches involved in streaming video. With many web users unsure as how to configure their media players to activate closed captions, open captioning is a smart strategy for web-based videos.

Here, users are given the choice of viewing two versions of the video: one with the captions burned onto the video ("open" captioning) and one without. By making these choices clearly visible and easy to use, video producers can dramatically reduce routine user queries.

For more information about Video Caption Corporation, visit vicaps.com or call 800.705.1203.

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