Sunday, March 31, 2013

Yahoo Starts Captioning! But...

Earlier today, a discovery was made: After at least five years, Yahoo has finally started to closed caption. There was no announcement from Yahoo; apparently they just started quietly. The word was put out on Twitter. People checked things out and found that Yahoo is probably using a form of automatic captioning because they noticed a lack of semantic structure and difficulty in reading the captions. One viewer pointed out that he could not see the full captioning unless viewing in full screen mode. The captions also are plain white with no background and can not be customized by viewers. So things are not perfect but it is a start.

All of Yahoo's Originals at were checked for captioning. The total captioned is currently 16 shows out of 59. It looks like Yahoo is starting with its most popular shows and expanding.We will be adding these 16 shows to the Captioned Web TV blog accompanied by a warning note about the automatic captioning.

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Friday, March 29, 2013

Captioned Veronica Mars Kickstarter Pitch Video

After weeks of tweeting and asking, a volunteer stepped forward and captioned / subtitled the Veronica Mars pitch video. This video can be seen on the volunteer's YouTube page at . Below are "before" and "after" screenshots showing autocaptioning versus the captioned version.

It was the first time the volunteer had ever done this, and it took her fifteen tries before success. So the captions aren't perfect, but they make the video understandable. The timing of the before/after screenshots don't match exactly, but it is obvious what a difference edited captions make.  Click on the small pictures to see the bigger pictures.

Direct link to Veronica Mars Kickstarter Project (14 days left):

Autocaption: you're eased

Edited: Ryan (Ryan laughing)
No way! (Kristen enters)
(cartoon type music continues
to play in the background)

Autocaption: parayam general primitive hotline
will weaken the extremist

Edited: Kristen: This is how
we're starting our day now?
Jason: You know, as a rule?
I like to start every day with a
hot blonde waiting for me
in the parking lot.
Kristen: No reenactments.

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Monday, March 25, 2013

Veronica Mars Movie

Update: in the early evening of 3/25/2013, @robthomas replied to say he had missed other tweets and would look into captioning and that it was a "great idea." Now he says the digital download of the movie will be captioned, and announced that publicly, but still trying to get him to caption the pitch video too. Another update (3/26/2013), @robthomas now says he is working on getting the pitch video captioned also.

Veronica Mars was a show on television for a few years. In its afterlife, it has developed a cult following. A couple of weeks ago, the producer, Rob Thomas, launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds to produce a movie. Warner Brothers is covering the cost of marketing and distribution but that is all; all production funds are coming from the Kickstarter campaign.

The problem with this Kickstarter campaign which is at No captions on the "pitch video" which is a video that is used by people seeking funds. PLUS there are no captions on episodes of Veronica Mars at AND someone on Twitter informed us that while there is a DVD, one of the seasons is not captioned on the DVD.

Why is this so important? It is important because the Veronica Mars campaign has broken records on Kickstarter. It was the fastest ever to raise $2 million. As a result, it got oodles of publicity in the media. Hearing people are tweeting up a storm about Veronica Mars and continuing to donate. It is probably very active on Facebook too.

The success of the Veronica Mars campaign is inspiring more to follow in its footsteps. In fact, the sites Kickstarter and Indiegogo are now playing a major role in the funding of various video projects, whether web television shows or regular films. Therefore, these campaigns represent one of the best opportunities we have to change attitudes about closed captioning.

If we can get them to closed caption their pitch videos, they will be more amenable to captioning the actual video/film projects. (Please note the Veronica Mars movie will be available digitally as well as in limited theatrical release.)  The idea is that if we can convince them to caption while still "pregnant," before they have even picked up a camera, we have a better likelihood of the project being captioned when it is "born."

So if you are on twitter, send a message to @robthomas and @imkristenbell asking for captions on the Veronica Mars pitch video. We have been tweeting ourselves, but the producer is not responding, perhaps because it is only one of us doing the tweeting. We need for more of you to do the tweeting or Facebooking. (Remember, in numbers, there is strength.) There's only 18 days left, but it is not too late. If you are not on twitter, you can also contact the producer via Facebook:

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Friday, March 15, 2013

Caption Action 2: March 2013 Newsletter

This is the Caption Action 2 newsletter for March 2013.

First, a final quick reminder: THIS month is a very important milestone for internet captioning law. By the end of this month - on March 30, 2013 - live and near-live video programming must be captioned online if it is shown on regular TV.

More Award Shows!

This month there are two key web series festivals: the Los Angeles Web Series Festival, and the Hollyweb festival. The Los Angeles festival is screening over 200 web series. Checking out the selected web series for both and reaching out to the producers to ask for closed captions. Some have already responded positively to say they will caption, while others have said they are already working on it.

Caption Yahoo Update

The petition asking Yahoo to update its video player to support closed captioning, has grown even more thanks to you. It is now almost 2,700! Unfortunately, there has been no response from Yahoo despite tweeting the Yahoo CEO and Yahoo Screen. Not only that, right after we sent out the February newsletter, Yahoo unveiled a new home page design. A total revamp like that costs $$, yet Yahoo did nothing to upgrade its video player to support closed captioning. It is clear where their priorities lie - and deaf and hard of hearing people aren't a priority!

Read more:

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