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University of Wisconsin – Media Transcription and Captioning [TRANSCRIPT]


JOSH MILLER: Great. Thanks, Todd.

So please feel free to ask questions in the chat window as I go. I’m going to go through all of our slides– there are only about 10 slides. And then I’ll definitely answer questions. So please feel free to ask anything as we go through this. I’d just ask if you’d do that in the chat window and we’ll take note of them and answer them afterwards.

Real quick. You’ll see a URL here on the bottom of this page. There’s a lot more information about our services there and even some demos of some of our interactive tools that we’ll talk about. We didn’t want to show them in this webinar because it would be quite choppy. But there definitely are live examples for you to see.


So we’re going to give you a little bit of an overview of the services we offer. We’ll talk about how we’re unique as a company. We’re going to walk through just how you use our service at a high level, and we will definitely leave some time for questions, as I said.

Company Background

So the inspiration for 3Play Media as background, it started when we were doing some work in the spoken language lab at MIT. We were actually approached by MIT OpenCourseWare, which is one of the pioneers in the OpenCourseWare space in putting large amounts of educational content online for free for the public.

They approached us with the idea of applying some of their speech technology to captioning so that it would be a more cost effective solution. However, we quickly recognized that speech recognition as it stood really would not suffice. But it was a valuable starting point, and it does create a draft and it’s somewhere to start from. And that was really the initial inspiration for the company that we’ve built.

So from there we’ve developed an innovative transcription process that uses both technology and humans together to yield a very high quality transcript that’s time synchronized.

So we’re constantly developing new products and ways to use these transcripts. Every transcript we create has time synchronization data behind it. We can create different formats that either use the time synchronization or not, depending on your need.

A lot of the products and features that we develop really come from the input from our customers, and many of them are in the education space. So we really take feedback seriously.

Overview of Services

Our focus is definitely transcription and captions. We provide other services, like transcript alignment. So if you have a transcript and you need to synchronize that to create captions, that’s something we do. We now do translation that works with all of our time synchronized tools as well. So captions and the interactive transcripts, which we’ll talk about. And we have some pretty unique interactive tools, such as interactive transcripts and archive search that we’ll talk about that, again, leveraged this time and text data that live together.

So the interactive tools are also an accessibility solution. I don’t want to misguide anyone. But they offer a lot more around searchability and user engagement as well, which we’ll talk about.

Why 3Play Media

So why 3Play Media? Well, one of our number one concerns is quality. It’s something that we’ve stressed from the very beginning and we’ve done a lot of work around. Speech recognition is used as the first up in our process. After that, a transcriptionist will rigorously scrub that draft transcript, and they do that in this proprietary interface that we’ve developed. The tools that we’ve developed for the transcription process allow for several really important things. One is that the transcriptionist actually spends more time on some of the critical areas that need to be cleaned up, rather than just some of the easy words that could easily be skipped over.

The time codes are actually being built in during this process as well, which is actually an important thing to mention because it means the human’s actually checking and making sure that things are being aligned properly.

We can also account for things like multiple speakers, poor audio conditions and other factors that speech technology on its own would not really be able to handle, and would certainly throw off any kind of synchronization that you were trying to do with just speech technology.

We’ve also done a lot of work on the operational side of the business, such as making it possible to match transcriptionists’ expertise to certain types of content. So that, right off the bat, will help get a higher quality transcript because the transcriptionist will just have more familiarity with the content that they’re transcribing.

So every transcriptionist who works for us is also U.S.-based and goes through a rigorous training program before they ever touch a real file. And many of our transcriptionists all go through background checks as well.

So we offer several unique features within the account system that really make this whole idea of captioning content much easier. One thing is that no matter how hard we try, the reality is there are going to certain proper nouns or vocabulary, we’ll miss a word or we will get someone’s name wrong, and that’s just the nature of the beast. So we’ve developed a tool so that you, as the customer, can actually make these changes really quickly, rather than trying to communicate to us what the name really is, and then waiting for us to redo the file.

It’s, actually, we found a lot easier, and the customers we found are much happier just being able to make that change themselves. So we’ve made that possible. So you can go in, make any change to someone’s name or you could do a find and replace, or even if you want to redact the speaker identification, if you want to get rid of someone’s name, you can do that, too. And then when you save those changes, they immediately propagate to all your output files, and all you have to do is re-download and you’re done. So it’s a much faster process, much faster to getting these up online, which is what this is all about.

So as I mentioned before with these interactive tools, what this is all about is it’s kind of like more than closed-captioning. It’s more of the transcript that you can see, and you basically embed this on your web page just like you’d embed video player. You see more of the transcript. You can actually search now within the video and jump to different parts of the video. You can actually click on a word to jump onto another part of the video, which is really unique.

And you can actually highlight text within this plug-in and then create a unique URL that can be shared, and when you share it it’s the exact segment of video that you highlighted. So when someone clicks that link, they go to that exact point in the video. And like I said, these are embeddable tools that are just a few lines of embed code.

A couple other examples of interactive tools that we offer are archive search and video clipping. Archive search, when we say that it means the ability to have, say, say you have 50 different videos in one area, you’d actually be able to search across all 50 videos at once and then jump to an exact point of a video based on your search results.

So we’ve built many tools that are self-service or automated. But really, a lot of the success of our company is based on the fact that we give our customers a lot of attention. We expect to walk people through the account tools, we enjoy building relationships with people, and it’s really through these conversations that we learn about what features are valuable or what features could be added and are worth developing. So we really take feedback seriously, and we very much expect to be working with you.

Quick Start Guide

So we’ll quickly walk through how you can actually get started with us. Getting an account set up is actually a very quick process. The nice thing about this contract with the University of Wisconsin is that a lot of these administrative deals are already taken care of, and so we can just quickly set up the account, you don’t have to worry about a lot of the other details that we might have to discuss otherwise.

So on a billing note, we’re pretty flexible there. You can easily attach a credit card to your account. We can also invoice people. So, really, we can work with your requirements pretty easily.

Some other things to keep in mind about our account system, which is web-based is that it’s very secure, and you can actually set permission levels if you have multiple users within one account. So we can add users to an account and you could have an admin for the account and then a number of other users who maybe don’t have access to the financial pieces of the account– things like that, we can actually set different permission levels.

One other thing I should note on the security side, everyone has their own volume credentials for some of the interactive tools that are API keys that get involved, so those are all very unique and no one would ever have the same API key from account to account. And there are ways to actually have public API keys and private API keys, so there’s a lot of flexibility on how you make the content secure as well.

So there are several ways to upload files. We have a secure web uploader. We have FTP. Every account gets unique FTP credentials, or we have a pretty robust API. So there’s a lot of ways that you can upload files.

We’ve also built integrations with a number of online video platforms and Lecture Capture systems. So if you’re using a system like Mediasite, the work flow is much, much easier. You can actually basically press a button, send off the file for captioning, and then it’ll automatically go back when it’s ready. So it’s a very, very easy process in that way.

So when files are complete you have access to many different transcript and captioning formats that you can downloaded at any time. We actually store the output files indefinitely, so you can come back whenever you need them, you can organize them into different batches. You really have the power to do what you want with them. You also, once they’re complete, you have access to all the other tools, such as the real-time editing interface. And like I said, once you make those changes you’ll be able to download in any format and that propagates through immediately.

So there are other features as well that we haven’t mentioned on this webinar largely because maybe they aren’t quite as relevant to video captioning in the education space. But our other features we’d be more than happy to walk you through if you’re interested, depending on what it is you’re doing. So we absolutely can talk about that as well.

That’s really all we wanted to share with you now. We’re going to take some questions, but we wanted to call your attention to a couple of URLs that will help expedite your learning more about us, and if you are interested in getting started there’s no reason to wait on that. You have the access to get going whenever you want. So that’s with that Get Started link at the top. Then below that, again, is this Wisconsin link where we’ve got a lot of information about what we’re doing with the University of Wisconsin.

Myself, here’s my contact information. Also my colleague Tole Khesin, please feel free to reach out to him as well. So we’re happy to take any questions now.


So the question says, when we were talking about the uploading, does it mean that the video has to be in electronic form to submit to you?

The answer is it’s easier if it’s in electronic form, but it doesn’t have to be. We do work with an organization to deal with physical media, such as DVDs, and we can talk to someone about how that will work. But basically it gets sent to a place where that could be extracted and then we process it. So it is absolutely possible.

Could you talk a little bit more about integration with Lecture Capture?

Sure. We recently integrated with Mediasite, for example. The way that works is you would set up an account with us and we’d give you certain credentials that you’d be able to put into your Mediasite account. And from there, any time you have content in Mediasite, you’d be able to essentially press a button to send that off to us for captioning. Then as soon as the caption files are complete they’d go back to your Mediasite account and be ready to be viewed.

That does not mean you can’t use some of the other tools. You’ll still have access to the editing interface, you’ll still have access to everything, and the billing will also go through us. But the work flow is greatly simplified because it means you don’t have to upload a separate file to us. It’s all done automatically for you.

It’s the same idea with some of the other online video platforms and Lecture Capture systems that we’re working with. In the cases where, say, you’re working with Kaltura or Brightcove, we have a very similar set up where you’d be able to pull files in from your Kaltura account into your 3Play Media account and get that processed very quickly. So, again, it’s very, very easy and takes a lot of the frustration of uploading files out of the picture.

We’ve got a question about translation, does it go both ways?

Currently we handle English content and we are not yet dealing with the content in other languages. We do translate into probably about 10 different languages right now, and can add languages relatively quickly, if there are specific requests for languages that we don’t currently cover.

Which languages do we translate into?

The list is Spanish, French, German, Portuguese, simplified Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, Italian, and I think that’s it right now.

There’s a question, is it only for online content?

I’m not sure if I’m misinterpreting that. Do you mean if the content is on cassette or disk? If it is on more of a physical media, that is something we can deal with. Online content is much easier.

You talked about the player that you have that you can embed in websites. What if users want to use their own player, whether it’s an MP4 or Flash. What information do you have or how do they go about taking the files the files that you give them and integrate that into their player?

Great question. So the interaction tools are meant to work with existing video players or media players and the hosting solution. We actually don’t replace the video that’s already there. So what would be happening is that you’d actually be embedding just that transcript plug-in to work with whatever video you’ve got going. So we wouldn’t alter that and it’s much easier that way. So if you’re using Flash or if you’re using H.264, whatever it is you’re using, it’ll work with that. It’s more just making sure that the player is one that we support already, which we support many of them. So it’s a very easy way to install those.

We’ve got a question about turnaround time. Our standard turnaround, we normally get files back within about three days and we guarantee five. We also have a one day rush service available.

On the security side there’s a question about what we can do about security.

We have a very secure system that people log into and do the work on. The content that they access is not– they don’t have access to it once they finish that file. Their access to that file for transcription is removed immediately. So there are a lot of security features that we’ve built into the whole process. Certainly, when it comes to, say confidentiality agreements, all of our transcriptionists have signed them, and if it’s helpful, to have a more specific confidentiality agreement with us, we can definitely do that as well.

There’s a question about the format, whether it can be used on DVD or online.

We do a lot of different formats that are compatible for online use. Certainly, interactive features can be used online, but not DVD. But the captioning, we do produce the SEC format that can be used with DVD, but the majority of our work is for web captions.

So a great question here is if the video content is already accessed through the web, can we just send you the link to that video rather than having to upload it?

The answer’s yes. If you have a direct link to your asset, you can paste that link into the account system and you don’t have to worry about uploading. We definitely do that. Actually, quite a few of our customers just provide links and avoid sitting around while files upload. So great question.

Permission for adding captions. I’m going to come at this two ways. There’s a question about who handles the permission for writing captions?

There’s permission that we can handle when it comes to who has access to the account. And that is something that the administrator for that account can control. When it comes to actually adding captions, once we produce the caption files, it’s up to you to put them wherever it is they need to be put. We have some documentation that can help walk you through the process. But it’s up to you to actually publish the captions.

I hope I answered that question.

One thing I’ll quickly add is if you were to buy transcripts or captions at one point, you’d actually be able to get interactive transcripts later on, that’s not a problem. No extra fee.

OK, go ahead at Madison College site.

Can you hear us now at Madison College?


OK, the question was if it’s a post-production DVD, if they need to add captions later, who obtains the copyright permission?

So that would be up to you to do. We stay out of that picture and just deal with the captioning process.

One thing to add to that, things like lyrics, if they’re song lyrics, those do require rights to use. If we’re told that the rights are there, we’ll put the lyrics in, but if there’s any doubt that the rights have not been obtained to use those lyrics, we’ll put the song title in, but we will not put the lyrics in. That is one area where we do have to be careful.

Do users find that in the web interface, or is that something that’s handled outside the web request?

Largely handled outside the web request, but there might be some things that we could add in somewhere.

So someone asked about interactive transcripts, and I’ll explain that in a little more detail. Basically what the interactive transcripts are, it’s a time-synchronized transcript. What it allows for is it’s a more kind of engaging way of showing the text or video. So it’s something that can sit next to the video or below the video– you really have control over how it appears on your page.

As someone’s speaking on screen, the words in the text next to it will get highlighted. You can click on a word to jump to another part of the video, or you can search through the transcript, which is essentially searching through the video and jump to different points.

There is a demo of it on our website in 3playmedia.com, and it’s also on our Wisconsin page at 3playmedia.com/wisconsin, there’s an example there. The idea is that it’s a really easy way to add text to a video at any website because it’s embeddable with just a few lines of code. It does not change how you’re hosting your video at all, it’s just meant to be in addition to.

The question is, to clarify, you create a timed transcript that we can sync with the video?

Yes. So the idea is that the transcript has the time data that links every word back to a certain point in that video. We do the sync work for you, we do the work that makes it synchronize, but you’d be able to put it alongside the video and the text will move along with the video, and if you click on a word it jumps to that part of the video. So that can be done pretty easily on any website. This is meant to be in addition to captioning, it’s not in place of or anything like that.

I just want to thank everyone for taking the time to be part of this, and especially thanks for those who asked questions. I really appreciate it. Please feel free to reach out. We’re happy to, even if you’re new to captioning and need to learn more, we’re happy to talk people through the process or just to explain more about our services. We understand that some of these interactive things are a little new, so we’re certainly happy to discuss those with people. So thank you very much.