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Video: How to Get Started with Live Captioning
VITAC CMO John Capobianco offers a primer in captioning for live streaming in this clip from his Live Streaming Summit presentation at Streaming Media West 2018.

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Watch the complete video of this presentation from Streaming Media West, LS202: Reaching the Audience--Advances and Challenges in Captioning Live Streams, in the Streaming Media Conference Video Portal.

Read the complete transcript of this clip:

Live Captioning

John Capobianco: When you want to do captioning, there are a couple of different things you want to think about. There's what we're doing right now, this is called real-time or live captioning. I'll talk about that first. With the setup we have here, I have an audio source, I have a telephone line. So we've got a POTS line that's sending information to our captioners so that they can caption it. So we need an audio source, we need a captioner at a moment's notice.

One of the reasons to do business with the larger providers like us is that we have captioners, we have backup, we have all those things that we need.

Encoding Captions

If you're going to go to television and you want the captions on the television, you need an encoder as well. Captions can be streamed as they are today to a URL. It requires that you broadcast the address that you want everybody to go to. So I'd put up a sign that said, "Here's where you would pick up these captions."

If you were doing a meeting or you wanted to do a show or you wanted to do a broadcast, and you were going to do it to a URL obviously, you have to tell the audience where the captions can be found, what URL address they should go to. But that's all you have to do in order to get captioning, through internet access.

Captioning Support

What you also need is 24/7/365 support to resolve the unexpected issues. There will be problems. There will be connectivity issues. There will be word choices. There will be preparatory material that our captioners will need because you want them to spell names right, and if you want them to spell names right then you tell us, "Here's what we're going to be talking about." So we get prep material to the captioners and that kind of stuff,makes them more accurate, makes it more valuable for you.

Multi-Language Services

Additionally, you want to think about what other things you might. One is multi-language services. We work with large broadcast networks, so we do their Spanish versions as well as their English versions. Especially here in Southern California you should think about having Spanish captions as well as English captions. You want somebody that can do that for you at the same time.

Recently, we responded to a larger corporate client, who wanted captions in 28 languages. It's not simple, it's not easy, but it can be done. Most people don't want that, but you have to be able to respond to the demands of the marketplace and that's what you want to look for.

Transcripts for Repurposing

You also want to have the transcripts for future use. One of the things we find a lot in corporate meetings and those kinds of things where people want to do captioning is that they also want the transcript after the meeting is over. It's a record of whatever was said, whatever the communication was. Transcripts are very useful in corporate environments, as well as video itself. If you want to be able to have a transcript because you want to be able to be found on the internet, those things can be very useful.

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