What are closed captions?
Closed Captions (CC) are text that appear on a video, which contain dialogue and audio cues such as music or sound effects. The purpose of closed captions is to make video accessible to those who are deaf or hard of hearing, for viewers whose native language is not English, and for when the audio cannot be heard due to noise (restaurants, public spaces, etc.) or a need for quiet (libraries, hospitals, etc.).
Captions can be either open (always visible, aka "burned in") or closed, but closed captioning is more common because it lets each viewer decide whether they want the captions to be turned on or off. Closed captions are transmitted as a special coded signal sent along with the video picture, and require a decoder in your television or cable box to see them (almost all TVs and cable boxes include decoders). This special signal is what broadcasters check for to ensure that your video is in accordance with FCC regulations.
Why is closed captioning necessary, or why should I bother with it?
The FCC requires the majority of English and Spanish programming seen on broadcast TV in the United States to be closed captioned. The CRTC requires the same for Canadian broadcasts. Many other countries have their own requirements as well. ADA Section 508 regulations contain stringent captioning requirements (including captioning for webcasts) for the Federal government and organizations that receive funding from the Federal government, which includes most academic institutions. The ADA requires that videos be accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing in public accommodations and other public venues, such as hotels and stadiums. Closed captioning is an ideal way to make video accessible.
Even if your program is not being broadcast or is otherwise exempt from the closed captioning requirements, keep in mind that over 10% of the population is deaf or hard of hearing. If you do not caption, you will not reach this audience. Closed captioning is also used by a large number of non-native language speakers to help them better understand the programs they watch. If you do not caption your videos, you are missing out on a huge portion of your potential market.
How can closed captioning be made easier and more affordable?
CPC has pioneered new e-Captioning software workflows, which reduce the cost and complexity of closed captioning. Any facility with a standard NLE system can now do their own closed captioning, without needing specialized hardware.
Additionally, our Auto Time Stamp add-on can drastically reduce the time it takes to closed caption a video.
What are the advantages to bringing closed captioning capability in-house?
Captioning in-house used to be prohibitively expensive for all but the largest facilities, due to the cost and complexity of legacy captioning gear. However, CPC's innovation in software encoding for popular NLE systems has drastically reduced the cost of entry and resources needed to do closed captioning in-house.
Bringing captioning in-house can save a lot of money if you have a large volume video that needs to be captioned. It also saves time and money because you do not need to print to tape and ship it to a 3rd party service company, then wait for them to ship the tape back. Since you’re doing it all in-house, you have full control over quality and can inspect the results and make necessary changes immediately. There is no risk of losing your master or having the project be delayed due to shipping problems or damaged tapes.
Also, if you need extremely fast turnaround or the ability to make last minute changes (such as editing and delivering a show same day), having captioning capabilities in-house can save the very high costs of hiring a real-time captioner. Another benefit is when you need to deliver multiple versions of a program for different markets. Being able to edit your closed captions in-house can save a lot of money in tape stock and captioning fees.
Where can I learn more about CPC's closed captioning solutions?
See our Solutions page to see how CPC can save you time and money while solving your closed captioning needs.