[Athen] Athen Digest, captioning

Mary Watkins mary_watkins at wgbh.org
Fri Feb 26 13:26:57 PST 2010

Hi all. Wanted to make sure list members know that WGBH, creator of MAGpie (the Media Access Generator) that Sean mentioned is also a captioning (and descriptive narration) vendor. That's how we started, way back in 1972 when we pioneered captioning for TV. We've never met a media format we didn't like.

More at access.wgbh.org, or email access at wgbh.org for pricing and turnaround info.

And, for those working with Flash, see info on CC for Flash and the CC for Flash Player (also free and from the same minds that brought you MAGpie).

One more resource, CaptionKeeper, which would come in handy if you are reversioning analog media which used line 21 captioning. CaptionKeeper extracts the data from line 21 and reinserts it in digital formats.

Info on all of these and more is corralled on our Tools and Guidelines page:


Mary Watkins
Media Access Group at WGBH
mary_watkins at wgbh.org
Follow us on Facebook and Twitter (AccessWGBH)

On 2/26/10 3:00 PM, "athen-request at athenpro.org" <athen-request at athenpro.org> wrote:

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Today's Topics:

1. Re: captioning (Hausler,Jesse)


Message: 1
Date: Thu, 25 Feb 2010 15:25:25 -0700
From: "Hausler,Jesse" <jhausler at cahs.colostate.edu>
Subject: Re: [Athen] captioning
To: "'Access Technology Higher Education Network'"
<athen at athenpro.org>
<3F3B6F21B523744BBA0EF420CCD8078F877FAFBD9F at ODIN.CAHS.ColoState.EDU>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset="us-ascii"


When you do outsource, who do you use? Or who do you recommend one investigates?


-----Original Message-----
From: athen-bounces at athenpro.org [mailto:athen-bounces at athenpro.org] On Behalf Of Sean J Keegan
Sent: Friday, February 19, 2010 3:31 PM
To: Access Technology Higher Education Network
Subject: Re: [Athen] captioning

> We are in the process of developing some > policies regarding captioning of media, > and wanted to find out how some other > campuses are handling it.
> Do you outsource it?

It depends. If the materials need to be done very fast (e.g., 24-48hr
turnaround) and is a non-Web based format, then we will most likely outsource. Also, if the video is a foreign language, or in a recent case, heavily accented British English slang, then we outsource. Our office coordinates the captioning process if it is intended as an accommodation (e.g., specific student for specific class). This is usually coordinated either through myself or our Accommodations Coordinator. We have used a few different transcription companies for the outsourcing part, particularly when we need the materials back in a very specific file format (e.g., DVD, VHS, QuickTime/Windows Media movie, etc.).

In terms of software, I use several depending on the final output. Most of the work I see is already in a digital format, so I tend to use MAGpie (free) and MovCaptioner (low-cost). If you have money, then CPC's MacCaption or CaptionMaker software will do just about any format.
It is good to review the type of video materials your institution is predominately using as it may also be cheaper to outsource the captioning of some content than to purchase whole racks of equipment. I know some institutions who had VHS tape they wanted captioned, but were also moving to DVDs. It was far cheaper to just purchase captioned DVDs than to go through the captioning process.

In terms of how we address captioning right now, our office, in collaboration with the Stanford Online Accessibility Project (SOAP), built a Web-based system to facilitate the process of getting video content captioned, particularly for Web-based video. This was initially a pilot project aimed at converting video into Web-ready formats as well as delivering caption files. The transcript process was outsourced to transcription companies and the captioning system then used the transcripts to automatically synchronize the video and transcript. If a staff member already had a prepared transcript, then that could be loaded into the system and the time-stamping would be done at no cost.

The idea of the project was to give the University a means that coordinated the outsourcing and creation of captioned materials in Web-friendly formats "semi-autonomously". We did not want one person to have to manually handle each transaction or to do the actual time-stamping, so we built a Web system to handle that part for us.

A presentation from Accessing Higher Ground is online:
http://captioning.stanford.edu/presentations/ (best viewed using Opera

In terms of captioning policies, my suggestion would be to develop practices and processes before the policy. Too often I have seen colleges develop a "captioning policy" that creates the situation where faculty, staff, etc. abandon the use of media altogether (or just ignore getting the video captioned) because the policy is so restrictive or so removed from actual practices that it becomes near impossible to comply.

Take care,


Athen mailing list
Athen at athenpro.org

End of Athen Digest, Vol 49, Issue 35

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