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W3C Receives an Emmy Award for Contributions to Online Captioning

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The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), the global web-standards organization, accepted an Emmy Award earlier this month for their work developing standards to make video content more accessible on the web with text captioning and subtitling. In the category of “Standardization and Pioneering Development of Non-live Broadcast Captioning,” the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences has recognized W3C’s development of Timed Text Markup Language (TTML). Continue reading

Hawaii Movie Theaters Become First in the Nation to Require Open Captions

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Not shortly after Portland became the first state to require enabled captions in all public establishments, Hawaii has just become the first state in the nation to recognize the importance of accommodating a positive movie-going experience for the deaf and hard of hearing. The bill, introduced by Kauai Representative and father of a hearing impaired son, James Tokioka, was signed into law by Governor David Ige and is now in effect as January 1, 2016. Continue reading

Time to Turn on the Captions in Portland

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It’s official. Starting today, the City of Portland, Oregon, will require all televisions visible in public establishments to activate the closed caption function. Prompted by a complaint from accessibility activists that they were often met with resistance when requesting closed captions in local restaurants and bars, the Portland City Council met and passed the ordinance on November 18th, 2015 with a unanimous 5-0 decision. Continue reading

FCC Roundtable: Closed Captioning PEG Programming

On November 10, 2015, the FCC held a roundtable event concentrating on the accessibility of public, educational, and government (PEG) video programming. With the increasing number of local governments and educational institutions feeling the pressure to become compliant, this all-day event was focused on promoting a discussion on the benefits, best practices, current obligations, and solutions – both technical and financial – of adding closed captioning to PEG video programming. The event was comprised of local government professionals, policy makers, captioning vendors, consumer groups, engineers, and others working in applicable fields of video programming. Continue reading

Resource: Filing Captioning Complaints with Video Program Distributors

Although the FCC has recently improved their Help Center with a more simplified look and improved user experience, this is not your only avenue for filing captioning complaints. Since content producers are required to submit their certificate of closed captioning compliance with the airing station, the FCC will often be the middle-man for these complaints, forwarding them to the station or cable provider of which the complaint originated. It is advised to initially contact your video program distributor (VPD) within 60 days of the error if you are looking for an immediate response. If the program has not been rectified within 30 days of your complaint, you should file the complaint with the FCC.

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Closed Captioning of Internet Video Clips

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In September of 2012, the FCC announced the obligation for closed captioning on all full-length Internet video programming that previously broadcast on television in the United States with captions. In accordance to further rulings, multiple deadlines are imminent in relation to “Internet video clips,” as well as timelines for the presence of captions on videos once repurposed for the Internet. Continue reading

Department of Transportation Orders Closed Captioning in Airports

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In September of 2011, the U.S. Department of Transportation issued a notice of proposed rule making in Docket OST 2011-0182 titled, “Nondiscrimination on the Basis of Disability in Programs or Activities Receiving Federal Financial Assistance (U.S. Airports).” The DOT issued this final rule to amend section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973, which requires accessibility in airport terminal facilities. Continue reading

A Brief Introduction of the Chinese Language

Think about what you know about the English language. Alphabet letters combine to form words. Words represent different parts of speech (such as nouns, verbs, and adjectives). To convey an idea or thought, we string words together to form sentences, paying attention to grammar, style, and punctuation. Because we understand pronunciation and phonetics, we can read other languages that use the Latin alphabet even if we do not understand the meaning of the words. However, the Chinese language functions in an entirely different way. Chinese is a conceptual language. It relies on written characters (not letters and words) to express ideas and general concepts. Continue reading

Broadcast Leader Elements

Television stations will provide detailed instructions of their broadcast requirements for producers to follow prior to submitting their program. However, before exploring the technical specifications of the bit rate, codec, wrapper, GOP structure, etc. you’ll need to make sure you add your broadcast leader elements to your timeline. Although the requirement varies from station to station (and is sometimes absent), we have established a common layout of how the leader elements should be formatted. Continue reading

Case Study: FCC Challenges Video Editors to Make Room for Caption Placement

Due to the updated FCC guidelines and standards regarding the quality of captioning, video editors face challenges when it comes to graphic placement during their programs, particularly text-heavy programming such as infomercials.

The new law states the following: Captioning shall be view-able and shall not block other important visual content on the screen, including, but not limited to, character faces, featured text (e.g., weather or other news updates, graphics and credits), and other information that is essential to understanding a program’s content when the closed captioning feature is activated.

In order to avoid potentially getting their show rejected by TV stations, editors have had to work hard and be extra creative so they can allow space for closed captions to be displayed without conflicting with any important visual content. Continue reading