Captioning and Transcription for TV and Movies

June 29, 2020 BY ELISA LEWIS

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Whether it’s streaming online or broadcasting on a television set, TV programs and movies are incredibly popular. The way we consume media and entertainment has revolutionized through the rise of the internet, giving more people access like never before. However, without accessibility, people with disabilities will not have access to shows and films. 

Captions – time-synchronized text that narrates the audio within a media file – help to make video content accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing communities. 

There are more than 466 million people with hearing loss worldwide. Without captions, TV and movies become inaccessible to viewers with disabilities. 

In this post, we’ll discuss what’s important for captioning TV and movies, common challenges, and important vendor features. 

Captioning Best Practices for Media and Entertainment


What’s Important for Captioning TV and Movies?


Accuracy: High-quality captions and transcripts, like those from 3Play Media, are critical for TV and movies. Media producers must comply with FCC regulations. Under the FCC, they require accurate captions and even provide standards for TV and movie producers. This standard states, “in order to be accurate, captions must match the spoken words in the dialogue, in their original language (English or Spanish), to the fullest extent possible.” Captions must use proper spelling, spacing between words, capitalization, and punctuation. Captions should also include nonverbal information like sound effects and speaker IDs. 

Legal Compliance: As mentioned, when captioning TV and movies, you must comply with the FCC. The Federal Communications Commission, or the FCC, regulates interstate and international communications. Since the early 1980s, the FCC mandated closed captioning as a requirement for TV and movies. In order to comply with the FCC, producers must ensure that their programs are captioned. For online content that has appeared on TV with captions, producers must comply with the CVAA. 

Flexible and Simple Workflow: We live in a time where new TV and movie content comes out almost every week. Producers simply don’t have enough time to worry about a captioning workflow while maintaining their robust content schedules. They need a flexible and intuitive solution that can handle their volume of content plus meet their deadline requirements. They need a vendor that can simplify the workflow by offering features like integrations, plugins, and an easy to use account system. Additionally, they need flexible billing and account settings to help save time and money. 

What are the Common Challenges of Captioning TV and Movies?

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Scalability: Since TV and movie producers create a ton of content, scaling the captioning process can be a challenge. Captioning a large amount of content without sacrificing quality is essential because they often need files captioned quickly, even at odd hours. Producers often struggle to find a streamlined, scalable solution to fit their specific captioning needs. 

Account Structure and Billing: Producers may have different networks or departments under one company and will need separate captioning accounts to keep various projects organized. When it comes to billing, this can become tricky. They need a centralized solution where they can manage multiple projects under one account. 

Deadline Compliance: Many TV and film producers have strict deadlines on when shows and movies need to premiere. Many of the time, they work with large broadcasters and streaming companies to deliver entertaining content to viewers at a promised date. When looking for a solution, they need one that can provide flexible turnaround options and honor their deadlines. 

Quality: Because producers must comply with FCC regulations, they can’t afford to have inaccurate captions. Depending on the vendor and their process, it can be challenging to find a company that can deliver accurate captions at a competitive price point. 

 Captioning Best Practices for Media and Entertainment ➡️ 


What Vendor Features are Most Important for Captioning TV and Movies?

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Competitive Pricing: At 3Play Media, we use a mix of technology and humans to provide high-quality captions. Because we use technology, we can keep the cost of captions at a lower price point without sacrificing accuracy. We also offer flexible billing, allowing customers to have project-level billing for different departments.  

Custom Workflows: We make it easy to streamline the captioning workflow. We integrate with a number of video players and platforms, such as Vimeo, YouTube, Brightcove, JW Player, and more, to make ordering and posting captions back to your video simple. With an integration, you can completely automate the captioning process. You can even set up flexible APIs which allow you to programmatically import media files, export transcript and caption files, and use video plugins. 

Guaranteed Accuracy: 3Play Media guarantees over 99% accuracy on all caption and transcript files. With humans incorporated in our process, we ensure that after the file goes through ASR, one of our editors reviews it for accuracy, and goes through a final round of QA. Our process complies with federal standards for quality, even if there’s poor audio quality, multiple speakers, or accents. 

Reliable Turnaround Options: We understand the strict deadlines TV and film producers must comply with. That’s why we offer a wide range of turnaround options and make deadline compliance a priority. Our turnaround times range from 2 hours to 10 days, and nearly everything in between. All you have to worry about is picking which option works best for you, and we’ll deliver your files either on-time or even before the deadline. 

Dedicated Support Team: Once we walk you through the onboarding and implementation process, every customer is assigned a dedicated Account Manager who provides assistance every step of the way. We also have a team of knowledgeable support reps who are there to answer any questions and a robust library of resources on our website that you can always refer to. 

Custom File Formats: Whether you’re submitting your TV or movie content to a broadcaster or streaming service, we offer over 50 file formats to help meet all captioning needs. In addition, if the right file format isn’t available initially, we can create just about any custom format you need. 

Translations: Given the increasing number of viewers that speak another language, translations are very important for TV and movies so that it can reach a wider audience. 3Play’s translation services seamlessly integrate with our captioning and transcription services. 

Closed Captioning Best Practices for Media and Entertainment. This white paper goes into depth on closed captioning best practices, standards, and legal requirements for the digital distribution of TV and film. It focuses on the technical standards preferred for caption delivery, encoding, styling, and onscreen placement, as well as industry trends and converging universal standards. Download the ebook





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