Closed Captioning Concerns Answered

Quality closed captioning is a priority for organizations that communicate through TV and online videos. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 37 million adults in the United States had trouble hearing (ranging from a little trouble to being deaf) in 2006. Many of them rely on closed captioning to comprehend videos, failing to provide captions means failing to reach this audience with your message.  

The recent changes to FCC closed captioning regulations have left many organizations that distribute online videos with questions and concerns. While you are probably aware that you will need to add captioning to Internet distributed video file formats within the next couple of years, you may not know all the information necessary to make that happen. This article will address the top five closed captioning concerns to help you prepare to reach a wider audience through accessible technology.  

1. What if I don’t have in-house people to do closed captioning?

If you don’t have in-house people to do closed captioning, you have two choices. You can either designate a team to handle closed captioning with captioning software, such as your IT or video department, or you can hire a company to do your captioning for you. 

The best closed captioning companies will offer both services and software to offer you a solution based on your captioning needs.  

2. How can I caption Internet videos?

Whether your Internet videos use Flash or QuickTime, specialized software and services can help you add captions. Flash video is essentially a sea of different custom video players, and there are a variety of caption file formats that Flash video can support such as .srt, DFXP Timed Text XML, SAMI .smi, Captionate .xml, and embedded.FLV. Quality captioning software can export any of these file formats to support a variety of custom video delivery websites.  

Additionally, captioning software can help you insert closed captioning into QuickTime files which will work in QuickTime Player on your desktop, as well as in your web browser or on your Apple mobile devices. These days, there are plenty of solutions for captioning your Internet videos, no matter what technology you use. 

3. How long does captioning take to do?

Captioning a one-hour offline video the traditional way could take up to five or six hours. If you have a lot of videos that need captioning, that time can add up quickly. 

However, special software tools are available that can speed up the process dramatically. These tools use speech recognition to get the job done much faster than traditional captioning. And, file-based workflows eliminate the need to lay a caption master to tape, providing you with quick and easy delivery. Even better, when a transcription is available, you can use software tools to automatically synchronize the text with the video in 10X realtime speed. When you are searching for a captioning solution, be sure to ask about software that makes the process faster. 

4. How much training do I need to caption?

The thought of learning how to handle closed captioning on your own can seem overwhelming to many organizations. You’re great at what you do, so why should you spend time learning to closed caption?  

Actually, most users are quick to learn the necessary skills for captioning all of their videos. Typically, new users can get started after a 30-minute training session with captioning software. Of course, a more thorough understanding of all the details associated with caption formatting can take a few days. But, learning the basic skill set for captioning your videos is a lot easier than you’d think.

5. How much will captioning cost?

It’s natural for organizations to be concerned about closed captioning costs, especially differentiating between costs accrued by captioning services versus in-house captioning software. Here are some guidelines so you will know what to expect. 

Typical captioning rates are $6 per minute with a provided transcript and $9 per minute for transcription and captioning services. A professional in-house captioning system will cost you a one-time fee starting at $3,995. 

As you can see, captioning services can get pricey quickly. So, many organizations that need closed captioning services find that purchasing their own software is more economical, depending on the amount of video content they own that requires captions. Software varies in price, but many companies provide a free trial period as well as a bulk discount. 

So, there you have it–five of the top closed captioning concerns addressed. Remember that a top-notch captioning service and software provider will always be happy to answer any additional questions or concerns you may have, so be sure to research the level of client support when choosing a captioning company.