Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Facebook Web Series AND Starz Web Series!

This week, two major events in the web television world: First, Facebook announced it will have the exclusive web series version of Twilight! This was a popular theatrical film series about young vampires. Now it is going to return, as a web-only series only on Facebook!


Will it have edited closed captions?? We can't guarantee it.  The producer is Lionsgate, and while they have a fairly good record on captioning of original web-only productions like Orange is the New Black, they also have a web series, BeFit on YouTube that is not captioned.

There will be five short Twilight films on Facebook next year. Given how high profile this is (it was all over the news today, on sites like Entertainment Weekly) chances are pretty good it will be captioned, but again, there's no guarantee. We have seen plenty of high profile web-exclusive content produced without captions.

(courtesy LionsGate Films / Twilight)

The other major event? A well-known movie/original content channel, Starz, has launched a web series that spoofs the Power Rangers. This show was actually produced by an experienced web series producer (one that does not caption), iThentic.  As you can see, there are no captions. This new series appears on the Starz-owned YouTube channel Union Pool.

Why is that significant? It is significant because it means that more and more, the "traditional" channels like Starz are moving into web television. And they are not thinking about the needs of deaf and hard of hearing people for closed captions.

Update: Shortly after this post went out, we got a tweet from Union Pool saying that they will caption!

Join Caption Action 2!

Help ensure that the new Facebook Twilight Series has captions, and help get Starz to caption its YouTube channel! Join Caption Action 2 on Facebook,

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Good Mythical Morning Starts Fan Subtitling

Earlier today, the first captioned Good Mythical Morning video was posted with crowdsourced captions. (This is a follow-up to our previous blog post, A Historic First: #captionsforlauren)

The quality of the crowdsourced (fan subtitled) captions is not as good as with professional captioning. On our Captioned Web TV blog, we have published many shows that were captioned by the producers or volunteers, but those shows are generally lower-tier shows. Should the deaf and hard of hearing community expect professional captioning from higher-tier shows like YouTube Stars' shows, an example of which is Rhett and Link?

Here are some screenshots illustrating that fan subtitled captioning. The screenshot below has three rows of captions, not easy to read.

In the screenshot above, the only captions displaying is the name of our country. It is just there alone, no context at all for the caption. Plus, the video has some "dead time" where the men are talking but there are no captions.

How Fan Subtitling Works

This video has the fan subtitling option enabled. Not all videos will have it enabled. Here's how to see it: 

1. Select the "...More" 

2. Select the "Transcript" under "...More"

3. You will see the transcript with time coding. You can navigate the captions by selecting the transcript lines. We navigated and found the captions weren't matching the transcript time codes.

4. Select the "English" down arrow and then "Add subtitles/CC." Doing that takes you to a timed text video page where you can edit/add captions.

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

A Historic First: #CaptionsForLauren

Imagine that you are a young fan of a popular YouTube show. Then one day, you find yourself in the emergency room and you have lost all your hearing. Now you can't watch your favorite YouTube show because there are no captions!

This is really happening now to a young lady named Lauren Neal, who is a fan of the Rhett and Link web TV program "Good Mythical Morning." Now hearing fans of Good Mythical Morning, who call themselves "mythical beasts," are trying to convince Rhett and Link to start captioning that show immediately.\

(Update: Good Mythical Morning now has fan subtitling. Fan subtitling started around the afternoon of September 18, 2014.)

This was the first Instagram post that summoned the attention of the Rhett and Link fan community:

This was followed by a post by Lauren Neal herself:

Fans of Rhett and Link set up a campaign called #captionsforlauren. Another hashtag is #gmmcaptions, but the main one is #captionsforlauren. Several people have posted on Instagram and Twitter, some with comments like they are "crying."

At the same time, ironically, a few weeks ago on September 3, the Rhett and Link producers posted in the Rhett and Link community  a request for volunteer captioners to help caption Good Mythical Morning in multiple language including English.

We believe that it is wrong to rely solely on volunteers to caption a popular YouTube show! Volunteers can help fill in gaps, but the primary method of getting captions should be paying a captioning service or doing it themselves! Otherwise, the captioning "supply" will be unreliable - volunteers are just that, volunteers and can not be expected to do the work!

Just the same, this #captionsforlauren campaign is a historic first! It is the first time that Caption Action 2 has known of a campaign by hearing fans to get closed captions on a web TV show! Finally, a group of hearing fans is realizing what it means to not have closed captions on web TV shows!

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