Q&A: Captioning the 3Play Way

July 23, 2019 BY SAMANTHA SAULD

In our latest webinar, “Captioning the 3Play Way,” we dive into 3Play Media’s closed captioning process, including the tools, services, and standards used to produce high-quality captions. 

During the Q&A section, our audience posed some interesting questions, which we’ll answer in full below. 

How much does it cost to get started with 3Play?

money bag

We offer the ability to pay-as-you-go. So you can upload your files without a pre-purchase balance and pay for the services that are rendered in the 3Play account system.

We also offer a reduced permanent rate from $3 per minute to $2.50 per minute for a $750 pre-purchase commitment. And that $750 locks you in at that lower rate. The pre-purchase amount can be used for any of the services that we offer in the 3Play account system. So you’re not restricted to use that money for captioning versus audio description. You’re able to apply it to anything that you need.

How does the 3Play Integration work?

We partner with a variety of video platforms to allow certain levels of access or requested access directly from the 3Play account system. 

Each 3Play account is provisioned with specific API credentials. So when you enter your username and password that is used on that video player and your credentials are entered, we will request access to view your video library. We’re only able to dip into that library and pull in content for captioning or other services after you’ve approved that connection.

On a high level, the integration works by allowing both our system and the video platform to communicate. But that process is only possible by approval from an admin in the 3Play account system.

integrations in gray

Do your captions meet requirements for broadcast TV, such as PBS?

Yes, our captions are compliant in terms of broadcast media. In any situation, we recommend consulting with legal counsel if you have specific questions about the requirements for your business or your industry.

However, we offer compliant captions for broadcast, in addition to the ability to burn in or encode your captions to the video files themselves. So this would, of course, allow you to download a video file asset that has the captions included, and can then be shown in more of a broadcast arena.

How do you handle non-speech elements?

Non-speech elements are handled, in terms of captioning, in ways that you primarily see captions out there in any form of media, such as music playing or background noise. We will actually capitalize non-speech elements and surround them in brackets so that it’s very clear what is spoken word dialogue and what is a non-speech element. 

Can YouTube videos that are not live but are set to be scheduled, be sent to 3Play Media through the linked account option?

Large red play button

As of now, we’re working through a live captioning option specifically for those sorts of live captioning events that are scheduled on YouTube. We don’t have anything that is fully fleshed out at this time. Videos going through the YouTube integration should be uploaded prior to the captioning request. And currently, there is no built-in solution, but we are targeting that for the months ahead.

Which formats are compatible with the caption placement option?

The formats, for the most part, are SCC, WebVTT, and SMPTE-TT. But in any case, the vertical caption placement is embedded within the caption files. In large part, it depends on the caption file format that is compatible with the media player that you’re using.

For example, though a traditional SRT file is compatible with YouTube if caption placement is ordered, that SRT’s metadata is updated to accommodate the caption placement. There are specific formats that are recommended for placement. But most players out there– YouTube as a good example– will be able to recognize the metadata when caption placement is ordered for a file like SRT.

Can a PBS or NatGeo type video be captioned via your upload link feature?

Yes. So the upload links feature or the From Links feature, I should say, was built with YouTube in mind, just because of our partnership with YouTube. But it also works well for videos that end in a movie file extension, like .mp4, or .wav, or .m4v. So those were designed with a specific type of link in mind. For the most part, it works well with all links that end in that movie extension.

If the video changes after captioning is complete, is there a specific rate to redo and update the few paragraphs that have changed? Or does the entire video have to be recaptioned at the standard rate?

timerThe entire video would have to be recaptioned at the standard rate. The reason for that is that each video file comes with timecodes that are embedded in that caption file. Those time codes allow for the words to display at the appropriate time. So if the duration of the video changes in any way or the content specifically of that file changes in a substantial enough way, such as paragraphs being added or removed, the timing of those embedded timecodes is greatly skewed.

Depending on the extent of the edits that are made, a word or two here and there doesn’t cause any sorts of issues. Our Finalize option actually resynchronizes all of the time codes in your caption file to accommodate those changes. But if substantial enough changes are made, the file would have to be recaptioned in the interest of ensuring that those time codes match up with the spoken words in your video file.


Watch the full webinar, “Captioning the 3Play Way“! 👇

3play media logo in blue

Subscribe to the Blog Digest

Sign up to receive our blog digest and other information on this topic. You can unsubscribe anytime.



By subscribing you agree to our privacy policy.