Friday, January 23, 2015

Caption Action 2 Salutes Tyler Oakley!

It finally happened!!! A YouTube Superstar, Tyler Oakley, started closed captioning. Not only that, he went back and captioned his entire video catalog. All SEVEN YEARS' worth of videos are now captioned on Tyler Oakley's YouTube channel!

How big a star is Tyler Oakley and how much of an impact is this having? Huge!! Tyler has six million subscribers on YouTube and over three million followers on Twitter. Tyler also:
  • Won the 2014 Teen Choice Award for male web star
  • Was the 2014 Streamy Award Entertainer of the Year
  • Appeared with Michelle Obama in a video posted four months ago
Last week, Tyler posted a viral video, "Dear YouTube: Hear Me Out,"  that is STILL going strong a week later! As of this writing, it has over 1.2 million views worldwide. Tyler cleverly started the video by talking silently, with no sound. What better way to get the message across? Many of his hearing fans freaked out, thinking that their headphones had broken.

Plus, the hashtag Tyler used, #HearMeOut, trended worldwide on Twitter last week. Suddenly, thousands of hearing people - YouTubers included - became aware that there was a segment of the population missing out! Thousands of people, mostly hearing, tweeted their favorite YouTubers asking them to caption. Furthermore, many people took Tyler up on his invitation to translate the captions into multiple languages. Tyler is still tweeting about captioning. Just today, he tweeted "I'd love to see my YouTube friends join in and caption."

As a result of Tyler's video, many smaller YouTubers have begun closed captioning or announced that they would begin captioning! Over at Captioned Web TV, we have been feeling like kids in a candy store, picking and choosing who to publish. (We can't publish every YouTuber who captions).

Tyler is not the first YouTuber to post a video about the need to caption. In the past couple of months, several YouTubers have tweeted about the need to caption YouTube. Many were inspired by YouTuber Rikki Poynter, in her video Deaf Accessibility on YouTube! (Rikki had earlier also done a video "YouTubers, You Need to Closed Caption Your Videos!")

However, Tyler is the biggest YouTuber to date to tweet and post a video, about the need to closed caption on YouTube. So he has given captioning advocates the biggest boost yet! That boost was sorely needed, given that watching online video has become even more popular with young people.


Many of the top YouTube superstars have been remarkably silent even after Tyler's video was posted and he tweeted. One top YouTube star, Lily Singh, whose IISuperwomanII channel has over 4 million subscribers,  has indicated that she will look into captioning. Another top YouTuber, Hannah Hart, has tweeted in support of captioning, though she doesn't caption yet. However, there has been no reaction from top YouTube stars Pewdiepie, Smosh, or Epic Meal Time. One YouTube superstar is not enough to truly change things. We need more.

Also, we also still have the challenge of getting web series closed captioned. Web series are separate from YouTubers. As we explain it in the Facebook group Caption Action 2, there are two types of YouTube. Type I YouTube encompasses "traditional" YouTubers whose videos do not involve acting and telling stories. Most vloggers are Type I YouTube. Type II YouTube is the "storytelling" type and is closest to traditional television, because it involves real acting and real scripts. Both types of YouTube are important and deaf and hard of hearing people deserve access to both sides of YouTube.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Fan Subtitling Flops!

Last year, YouTube introduced Fan Subtitling, a form of crowd-sourced captioning as a potential answer to the problem of lack of captions on top YouTube channels. Even YouTube was essentially admitting its automatic captions are crap. However, Fan Subtitling has turned out to be a big flop, as reported by Sara from Subtitle You Tube:

(Reprinted with permission from the Caption Action 2 facebook group)

While YouTube improved some features, allowing users to submit .SRT files, it also allows multiple users to post multiple captioned versions. There's no collaboration. You could submit captions, and unknowingly know that someone else already did some yesterday--submitted, but still waiting to be approved (which can feel like a waste of time to some captioners).

I spoke to Benny Fine (from the Finebrothers Channel) and he told me that there are many false starts (perhaps due to the clunky editor)--fans get bored, frustrated, don't follow through, and leave unfinished versions of captions. 

Even when you submit captions, there is no way to conveniently notify the content creator that captions have been submitted (for example, via email). Content creators have to sift through each video, manually checking to see if someone has created captions. This gets troublesome if someone wants to caption an old video because no content creator is going spend the time checking through several months of videos just to see if someone captioned it.

....Unless the channels are going to go the extra mile to create a pool of volunteers (a la Rhett and Link), fan subtitling isn't very reliable. Bigger channels that post a couple videos a week can afford the pocket change necessary to caption, while supporting those who make captions for a living.

Wow. This convinced us to remove Fan Subtitling as a viable option from the popular Info for Web TV Producers page at Captioned Web TVThis means that for the top YouTube channels, we need to push for a professional or outsourced captioning solution, meaning that they would have to pay for it. They would have to build it into their video budgets. The smaller YouTube channels are doing the captioning themselves, or in rare cases, outsourcing it as cheaply as possible.

Saturday, January 3, 2015

Vote: Does Buzzfeed Video Belong on Captioned Web TV?

Token captioning? Intermittent captioning? Rare captioning? Selective captioning? Occasional captioning? Minimal captioning? We don't know what to call it when a popular YouTube channel like Buzzfeed Video captions only a few videos, and they are far between. Caption Action 2 posted this series of tweets on Twitter and we would like for those of you not on social media to vote by posting a comment on this blog post. If you are on Twitter, send your vote to @captionaction2.  If you are on Facebook and a member of the Caption Action 2 group, you can post a comment on the posting there.

Update 1/4: So far there have been three votes, all on Facebook, and all three say NO to putting Buzzfeed Video on Captioned Web TV.

Tweets About Buzzfeed Video

1. A couple of days ago, I tweeted about a popular channel we refuse to add because of the size of the gap between CC videos. That channel is..
2. ...Buzzfeed Video. Can't even take a screenshot to communicate the gap, it is that big. Last one with CC: 12/18/2014! 0 since.
3. See for yourself here: … (you will have to click "load more" to get down to the last CC one). this isn't fair.
4. When ppl check out a show listed on CWT, there should be at least a 50% chance the current videos will be CC. Ppl should not have to hunt.
5. Don't know if Buzzfeed Video is taking an "after" approach to CC instead of a "before" approach. Would have to check their videos daily.
6. But with the sheer size of the gap, it sure looks to us like an "after" approach, with selective captioning of videos.
7. Vote: Does Buzzfeed Video belong on Captioned Web TV, although with a huge warning note to expect to be disappointed?