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Video Captioning for Accessibility – The Penn State Solution


JOSH MILLER: My name’s Josh Miller. I’m one of the founders of 3Play Media. I’m going to give just a really quick overview of closed captioning and just a tiny bit about us, just so that we’re all on the same page and when we talk about different terminology, we’re talking about the same thing.

Then I’ll turn it over to Keith Bailey from Penn State. He’ll go through the solution that they’ve built, which is a complete media solution with closed captioning. And then Tole Khesin from 3Play will give a few demos of some of the new technology utilizing core captioning functionality and what else can be done with it.

OK, so real quick, I’m going to go through a quick overview of closed captioning so we’re all on the same page, then turn it over to Keith Bailey from Penn State. The bulk of the presentation will be from Keith. Then we’ll show some of the new technology we’re working on that utilizes that core captioning functionality.

So captions are really text that is time-synchronized with media content. Captions also convey relevant sound effects and any other actions are taking place on the screen that wouldn’t be able to be conveyed as easily unless it’s put in to text.


It’s really important to keep in mind.

Captioning originated in the early 1980s from an FCC mandate really focused on broadcast television. So captioning versus transcription. You’ll hear both of these terms used quite a bit today. Transcripts usually mean a text document that has no time data. So the text is not necessarily synchronized with the media, whereas captions are.

Going back to what I was talking about with captions conveying all relevant sound effects, subtitles, on the other hand, do not. Subtitles are really meant to provide a language indicator. So subtitles usually mean you have multiple languages showing up on the screen so that people can follow along, but that audience usually can hear all the relevant sound effects, so it’s not necessary to put that into text.

Closed captioning versus open captioning. Sometimes you’ll hear about this. Open captioning, you’ll see the captions on the screen at all times. There’s no way to turn them on or off. Whereas closed captions, by default, are off on the screen, and then the user can choose to turn them on.

And then post production versus real-time. Post production means it’s recorded content. The captioning takes place after the content is captured and then published, whereas real-time is what you see on the news or sports, where the event is in real-time, the captioning is taking place in real-time. And those really are two very different products and services that can be offered.

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