How to Make Your Online Video Accessible and Searchable
ANDREA TERRAZAS: Hello everyone. Carahsoft Technology would like to welcome you to our Brightcove and 3Play Media webcast. Before we get started, I would like to go over a few housekeeping items. All of your lines have been muted to reduce any background noise. And we hope you take full advantage of the chat pod on the left side of your screen to ask any questions throughout the presentation. We will do our best to answer all of your questios at the end of the presentation. If for some reason we do not get to your question, the Brightcove and 3Play Media team at Carahsoft will follow up with you offline.
Carahsoft is a trusted government IT solutions provider delivering software and support solutions to federal, state, and local government agencies. Carahsoft maintains dedicated teams to support sales and marketing for all its vendors, including Brightcove, 3Play Media, Symantec, Adobe, [INAUDIBLE] VMware, and Redhat.
Our contact information will be at the end of the presentation. Call or email us at for any– This webcast is being recorded and a copy of the presentation will be emailed to you.
At this time, I would like to introduce our speakers for today. Adam Jacobs, the Brightcove and 3Play Media account representative at Carahsoft. Josh Miller, co-founder of 3Play Media. And we also have Michael Moore, technical director at Brightcove, who will be available for questions and answers at the end of the presentation. Adam, Josh, and Michael, the floor is all yours.
ADAM JACOBS: Thanks Andrea. Good afternoon, everyone. My name is Adam Jacobs, and I’m the account representative for both Brightcove and 3Play Media at Carahsoft. I started working closely with Brightcove a year ago, and more recently with 3Play Media. And I’m excited to help present to you all today. Very quickly, I wanted to give you an agenda for this webcast. I’ll be presenting a brief introduction to Brightcove, for those on the webcast who are unfamiliar with us. And then an overview of online video on the web to discuss interactive transcripts, search engine opposition, and 508 compliance with online video. Josh, Mike Moore, and I will then take about fifteen minutes to answer any questions that may come up. So let’s go ahead and dive right in.
So Brightcove was founded in 2004 by Jeremy Allaire who some of you may know from his previous work with Cold Fusion. It was founded on the premise that one day video would become as ubiquitous as text on the web. And it’s a vision that has largely proven out. And as a result of this, the market opportunity for demand for video related solutions is exploding, as we’ll discuss in a minute.
At its core, Brightcove is an online video platform that helps organizations of all sizes publish video through their websites and syndicated partner sites to desktops and devices worldwide. As an example of what Brightcove can handle, I’ve included some screen shots from the IMF video page. Both of these screens are from the same site, with the same experience, but one is Flash, and one is in HTML5. Brightcove handled all the encoding, so that IMF didn’t have to.
Brightcove has over 2,800 customers, powering over 60,000 sites worldwide, supporting every imaginable vertical and use case. On a daily basis, we average over 150 million player loads, resulting in over 35 million streams delivered. And we ingest over 5 hours of content every 60 seconds. Therefore, we’re second only to YouTube in delivering video on the Internet. And with that brings a tremendous amount of market insight. Insight that we share with you, our customer, allowing you to strengthen your presence on the web, to extend your agency’s message to more people.
I’d like to say that myself and everyone at Brightcove would now be an extension of your online video team, and would like you guys to consider us subject matter experts for everything that is online video. This includes our team of over 100 engineers, who are focused each and every day on developing highly scalable, yet customizable platforms. And our 60+ professionals in post sales support that ensure that every Brightcove customer is well supported and successful.
In areas that I’d like to highlight about the technology that creates multiple renditions of your videos and delivers multi-bit rate streaming. This means that no matter what device your viewers are accessing your videos with, be it a connected HD TV or an Android smartphone, they’re watching a smooth video stream greater than 99% of the time. We also have detailed out-of-the-box analytics to help you measure viewer behavior and gauge the success of your online video. And since this is entirely about the transcription and search engine optimization, 508 support, I’m going to skip over that for a second. But we also provide the background technology you need to deliver quality mobile experience on nearly every device. We handle the complexities of HTML5 versus Flash so that you don’t have to to.
Brightcove customers also can now manage their YouTube content directly from their Brightcove studio, making the management of their content on the web that much easier when it’s all done from one place. And of course we have live event support. Through the integration with Akamai, Brightcove can provide you with all you would need to easily deliver high quality live streams, through your branded players with the ability for live DVR functionality, giving the viewer the ability to pause and rewind live events with our platform.
So with that, I want to share some of our thoughts and insights that demonstrate Brightcove’s unique value proposition. As you can imagine, with our size and scope, we monitor the online video market very closely. And we constantly share our observations and insights with both current and future customers. So here’s an example of this insight. This graphic represents the relative use of traffic on the web over the last 20 years. You can see that video has been exploding in recent years, and is currently over 51%– and that share is still growing. And one of the insights that we’ve been able to garner from this growth, is that video equates to engagement, and engagement drives traffic. And this is a key concept for us. This here is another look at online video growth, just over the last few years. And as you can see, the online video views have more than tripled, from just under 10 billion views per month in 2007 to more than 30 billion views per month in 2010. And we expect it will explode again in 2011. Websites simply cannot afford to ignore the need to have a high quality video environment on their pages with this growth.
Now this chart represents the distribution of online videos on the web. As you can see, with properties, such as Facebook having a growing play in this space. However, almost half of video distributed on the web comes from the rest of the web, including site-specific content. So if an agency is only putting videos up on YouTube for instance, then they’re missing out on a very large number of viewers. Agencies just can’t afford to continue to ignore these trends.
There was a time not too long ago, when putting video on a site was pretty straightforward. But the market has actually significantly changed with the proliferation of mobile devices. The emergence of connected TVs and the explosion of social media as a powerful new medium. For brand management– at which these changes occurred. And finally our customers need to accurately measure their success. And all of this has become complicated very quickly. Take a close look at some of the terms on this slide. If there’s anything on here that you may not be considering and tackling when it comes to your online video solution, I can almost guarantee that there’s going to come a point where your solution will hit a wall. The investment needed to get past that well could potentially be very large and consume a lot of man hours. And by the way, Brightcove’s platform takes care of all of these features. In summary, Brightcove helps agencies eliminate the complexity and drive more business value with video.
So I’m not exactly sure how familiar this group is with the Brightcove platform. So let me provide just a quick overview, to wrap up my portion of this presentation. Brightcove helps you easily upload and manage videos, either manually or programmatically. It can be done by a user in a studio or through automatic processes, via an integrated DAM or CMS systems leveraging our APIs. Next we encode, store, and organize your assets. We help you easily create custom players and playlists, manage live events, metadata, mobile delivery, and leverage analytics, all from our intuitive, easy-to-use console. And from there, we help you easily deliver a high quality video content experience to [INAUDIBLE] or distribution partner. So if you’d like a high level demonstration of this workflow, please reach out to me after the event today. And if you’d like a technical dive into what we can provide, I’d be glad to have one of Brightcove’s engineers walk you through the product at a detailed level. And with that, I’m going to hand things over to Josh Miller. Go ahead, Josh.
JOSH MILLER: Great, thanks Adam. My name is Josh Miller. I’m one of the co-founders. I’m going to give a bit of an overview of captions and interactive transcripts. I’m also going to give a little bit of an overview on the accessibility laws that are in place today. And the benefits of captions and interactive transcripts. I’ll also be providing a guide on how you as the video publisher can add captions and interactive transcripts to your videos, specifically with the Brightcove player and platform, to show how easy it is, that we set up the two systems to work together.
So what are closed captions? Captioning refers to the process of taking an audio track, transcribing the words to text, and synchronizing them with the audio or video. Captions are typically located underneath the video or overlaid on top of the video towards the bottom. In addition to spoken word, captions are supposed to convey all meaning, including all sound effects. This is a key difference from subtitles. Captions originated actually in the early 1980s by an FCC mandate that applied to all broadcast television. Clearly that’s expanded today.
So captioning versus transcription. Transcription is a part of the captioning process. But the differences is that transcripts or not necessarily time synchronized. It’s often just the plain text document. Then captioning versus subtitling, subtitling is a little bit different from captioning in that subtitling assume that the viewer does not have a hearing impediment. Subtitles capture the spoken content, but not sound effects. Typically subtitles will be used to convey pay words in a different language, and it’s possible to create multilingual subtitles. Then closed captions are included in way on the video that allows the viewer to turn them on or off. Open captions, in contrast, are always being shown on the video and cannot be turned off. And finally, post production versus real-time. This has to do with the timing of the process. Post production means that the captioning occurs offline. It’s for on-demand content, and can take anywhere from a few hours to a few days to complete. Whereas real-time captioning is what a lot of people are familiar when it comes to making jokes about captioning on television because it’s all live. It’s actually a court stenographer typing pretty much as fast as possible.
Quick overview of some of the accessibility laws in place right now. So starting with Section 508. That requires federal electronic and information technology to be acceptable to people with disabilities, including employees and the public. For video, this means the captions must be added. For podcasts and audio files, a transcript is often sufficient.
Section 504 entitles people with disabilities to equal access to any program or activity that receives federal financial assistance.
And most recently, the Twenty-First Century Video Communications and Accessibility Act that was signed into law in October expands those caption requirements for all online video that previously aired on television. The easiest example there would be a lot of the Hulu content really should have captions because it aired on television. Expanding legislation to move beyond network television is also being discussed and was part of the bill that was originally put in congress.
So many states have also enacted similar legislation, and often refer in their state legislation to the federal legislation, in place of Section 508 and Section 504.
Very quickly about caption formats. With web video, with there being many different web players, there are also different formats that are used for each video player. This image shows what a typical SRT caption format looks like. It’s basically a time starting and time ending of a particular caption frame and the accompanying text. YouTube actually is one of the big platforms that uses the SRT format. The Brightcove player would take the DFXP format. These are all standard formats that we produce. But it’s just a quick view of how quickly online video can become complex.
Now what are interactive transcripts? These are clearly a little bit newer to online video. So here are some of the basic characteristics of what is an interactive transcript. Unlike closed captions, there is more of a transcript being played and it’s often, or always, outside the video image. The text is precisely synchronized with the media and it’s actually actionable. We’ll talk more about that.
So how are captions and interactive transcripts used? Both interactive transcripts and captions can be displayed in many different ways. We’ve actually built are interactive transcripts to be quite flexible in the way they’re implemented. So they can be below or next to the player. We’re going to take a quick look at some actual websites right now, just to show you a couple of examples.
–And to help boost inbound traffic in search engine optimization is the ability to share clips. So if I highlight an interesting portion here, you get the option down at the bottom to create a clip. And when– –this exact portion of the video.
Another example is with the MIT Infinite History site. Again you’ll see the Brightcove player on top and the interactive transcript below. One interesting piece here, we’ve implemented what we call archive search here on the right. So it lets you search across what are in this case a 100 different videos by keyword. So if I type in the word technology, I can search all 100 interviews, and I could see visually where and hits are for that word. That’s also another plugin that can be used leveraging these time synchronized transcripts and the Brightcove, especially the Brightcove integration that we have. I’m going to switch back to the slides now.
So real quick about some of the benefits of interactive transcripts and captions. With interactive transcripts, obviously you have a little bit more ability to do search and others user actions for quick navigation through a video. It’s an interesting– so instead of saying, hey take a look at this video, it gets really interesting at the six minute mark, you can actually point someone to that exact point. Text is also a really key component of improving the SEO performance of your videos. Transcripts are an accessibility solution for hearing impaired viewers and for people in noisy environments, which is something to consider as well.
And finally, transcripts are the first requirement to translating content into other languages for broader audiences.
I wanted to quickly talk a little bit about search engine optimization and just some basic best practices for video. Here are just a couple point, and there are definitely other things to consider as well. Videos search engine optimization is all about making it easier for your videos to be found on websites. For sites like Google to actually identify pages and videos at that have the search terms that have been entered. So here are some basic principles. One thing that we like to consider beyond basic search engine optimization is the overall optimization of video itself. So are you making it more engaging and more likely for someone to want to share that link or that video with their followers. It’s really important, but a little bit outside of just traditional SEO, but it’s really something that should be considered.
We’re going to walk a little bit through an overview of the steps involved and how to publish captions and interactive transcripts. Getting an account set up is very quick. Some things to keep in mind about our account system is that it’s very secure and you can set permission levels if you want to have multiple users within one account. We aim to make workflows really as unobtrusive as possible. We’ve built an integrated workflow for Brightcove users to try to make that as easy as possible. So using the Brightcove API, you can actually view all of the videos that you’ve already uploaded into your Brightcove account from your 3Play Media account. So all you have to do is press a button to start processing a file for a transcript or caption. Also when this happens, we ingest the metadata and video ID information that is in the Brightcove platform. So that we can associate all that data with the transcript file as well to make the overall integration of the different tools much, much easier down the road.
Once the transcript and captions are created, really all you have to do is add the caption plugin to the player that you’re going to publish in your Brightcove account. And then you have to add a little bit of code to the web page. For interactive transcripts, we actually have a plugin builder within the account. So you can configure the interactive transcript however you like. So you can select various parameters, such a whether you enable the clipping feature, transcript downloading, whether it collapses or not. You can also pick from different skins. Then update the settings, and you get the code that you would then include when you embed the Brightcove player on your web page. You can also have access to a many different transcript and caption formats. So if you’re using some of Brightcove features to automatically publish to YouTube, for example, you could also put captions on your Youtube files. Also if you are going to be doing [INAUDIBLE] features, there are places where you’d want to use a plain text transcript. And we can walk you through that. So there are examples where you’d actually want to you more formats that we provide.
We’re going to give you a little bit of background about the company as well, now that we have gone through captions and transcripts and how it relates to Brightcove. But just so you have a little more idea of who we are. The inspiration for 3Play Media started when we were doing some work at the spoken language lab at CSAIL, which is the computer science department at MIT. We were approached by MIT OpenCourseWare with the idea of applying speech recognition for a cost-effective solution. We quickly recognized that speech recognition alone certainly would not suffice. But it did provide a starting point. From there we developed an innovative transcription process that uses both technology and humans to yield high quality transcripts with time synchronization. We’re constantly developing new products and ways to use this time and text data that lives together, largely with the input from our customers. Our focus is generally transcription and captions, but we also do other services, such as transcript alignment, if you already have a transcript. And we’re now doing translation into other languages. And when we do translation, all the tools, and in this case, subtitles and transcripts, are also able to use the translated formats.
But certainly accuracy and quality is something that’s always a concern, and something that we really put a lot of time into as well. With regard to speech recognition, we have a multi-step process that delivers very high accuracy, even in cases of poor audio quality, or multiple speakers, or difficult content.
All of our work is done by professionally trained transcriptionists here in the United States. We’ve done a lot of work on the operational side of the business, which is making it possible to match the transcriptionists’ expertise with certain types of content. That results in a much higher quality product. One example would be if we get math lectures or tax training tutorials, it makes a lot more sense to have someone who has experience with either math or a financial background to be working on those files.
So everything transcriptionist goes through a rigorous training program before they touch any file. I’m actually going to show you quick peek into that. This is a little bit more of an idea of how we manage quality. We have a rigorous training program. It covers everything from basic grammar to mathematical content to how to deal with the fact that we just speak differently from how we write. And sometimes we will change course and mid sentence.
Along the same lines, we want to make sure that the customer has the power to make corrections when necessary as well. Sometimes a name is misspelled or it’s just difficult to know how to properly spell a proper noun. We give you the tools to go in and make a change, save that change, as well as play that media back from an exact point. So you can review everything and do everything very quickly. You don’t have to reprocess anything, and plus all of the time synchronization is updated automatically to account for the changes.
While we built a number of tools that are somewhat self service and automated, a lot of what we’re doing is based on the fact that we give our customers a lot of attention, and really value their feedback. We enjoy building the relationships. We expect to build the relationships. One of the things we really like working with Brightcove is that we have a great relationship with them and we can constantly build new ways to make the two systems work well together.
We included several URLs here before we taking some questions. You’ll see some resources. A get started link, as well as some video tutorials. We’ve included links to both our video tutorial as well as Brightcove’s training videos. Both of those are using Brightcove players with interactive transcripts. So you can get a sense for what that looks like very quickly as well as links that we shared before. If you want to take a look at what those are looking like in production, Please feel free to do so. So with that, I will turn it back over to Andrea and Adam and bring Mike into the mix, and we’ll answer some questions.
ANDREA TERRAZAS: Thanks Josh. Once again everyone, you can submit your questions using the chat pod on the left side of your screen. Well give them a few moments as they come through.
JOSH MILLER: As we’re pulling from these questions, the first one that we can knock out is pricing. I can comment on the captioning and transcription. We basically price it on the volume of the content itself. So everything is based on the length of recorded content per recorded hour. And basically prorate accordingly. And we prorate even down to the nearest second.
ADAM JACOBS: I see Robin asking, can your product work on presentations such as this or just published video? Well the way that we’re actually going to be delivering the recorded demonstration here is we’re going to actually put this into a Brightcove player with 3Play Media. A full transcription from 3Play Media available to everyone to take a look at once the recording is ready. So it is definitely possible to create transcriptions for things such as this.
JOSH MILLER: There’s also a question about the plugin pricing of the archive search and additional costs. We have a free tier and it takes quite a bit of effort to get up to a paid tier, actually. Usually we try to make it pretty simple. Unless you have really tremendous traffic or more customized needs, which is totally reasonable, and we’re happy to work with, but unless you need some customization, we try to make it free. There are certain situations where there is a small monthly fee. One thing we should mention also is that everything is web-based on our end. And the interactive transcript and archive search. Those are all running– for those who are more technical– running over our API and connecting to the Brightcove APIs. So nothing has to be installed. It’s just adding some code to the pages that you’re publishing on. And if you need it to be hosted on premises that’s something that can be discussed as well. Usually we would host the transcript, and it’s all done very– it’s a very quick installation.
ADAM JACOBS: On the Brightcove end, it’s a cloud-based application or software as a service. There’s nothing that needs to be installed on your end. So it’s all delivered via the cloud.
MIKE MOORE: Just to add to that, Adam. This is Mike from Brightcove. It’s actually a very simple configuration set up on the Brightcove side. And essentially all you’re doing is pointing to those transcription files for whatever given player that you’re doing the transcription for.
JOSH MILLER: There are a couple of questions about security. We’ve built in a number of security measures on our end for transcription. Everything is delivered over SSL encryption and things like that. When it comes to transmitting the captions, it’s over an API. If it’s done with the standard method. But there are ways that they can be transmitted to another server and then served up within a firewall. So that security can be really maintained very, very carefully. And I know that Brightcove has built in quite a bit of security features as well.
MIKE MOORE: I see a question here on recording live video. Yeah, that’s not a problem for Brightcove. We actually have a relationship with Akamai that allows us to record a line as they’re taking place. And then once that recording is made available then you could certainly that like any other on demand asset and do a transcription of that for 3Play – the same as you would for any other on demand.
MIKE MOORE: There is a question here, how do I install the plug in? That’s very easy to do in the player. You can do that through a markup language that we provide. It’s a very simple one-line addition that essentially points to an external SWF file that processes DFXP file provided by 3Play.
ADAM JACOBS: I think we’ll probably give a minute to allow maybe a few more people who might be thinking of some questions to ask to ask them. For the most part, if your question wasn’t answered, I’d be happy to follow up with you offline and either answer that question for you or provide you with someone who can answer the question. Again my name is Adam Jacobs and my contact information will be presented at the end of this webcast.
MIKE MOORE: There’s a question on the external SWF file. The external SWF file that’s external to the Brightcove player is actually provided by Brightcove. And it interacts with the player. Through that SWF file is how you essentially point to the DFXP file that is provided by 3Play.
ANDREA TERRAZAS: All right. Thank you so much. If all of you could please take a moment to answer the polling questions current displayed on your screen. It would be greatly appreciated. I want to thank all our participants as well as Adam, Josh, and Michael for being with us today. We hope this webcast has been helpful for you and your organization. If you have any further questions or would like to request more information, feel free to contact the Brightcove and 3Play Media team at Carahsoft. Our contact information will be displayed on your screen in just a moment. So please don’t hesitate to call or email us. Thanks again and have a great day.