We've all gotten used to watching video--lots of it--on desktops, laptops and mobile devices. Whether it's an episode of a TV show on Hulu
, catching up on your favorite HBO
series, or just watching YouTube
videos, everyone does it.
Everyone, that is, except those people who need closed captioning to understand and enjoy video content.
That's about to change. On October 8, 2010, the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act
(CVAA), sponsored by Senator Mark Pryor (D-Arizona), was signed into law by President Obama. The Act is intended to ensure accessibility, usage and affordability for disabled persons to broadband, wireless and Internet technologies. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in 2005, 54.4 million people report some level of disability and 35 million reported a severe disability in 2005.
One provision of the law instructed the FCC
to form an advisory committee to produce a report of recommendations to the FCC for closed captioning of Internet-delivered video. The committee--called the Video Programming Accessibility Advisory Committee
(VPAAC)--consists of representatives of distributors, providers of video programming; vendors, developers, and manufacturers of systems, facilities, equipment and provision of video delivered using Internet Protocol; consumer electronics; video programming producers; national TV organizations; a group on accessibility; and anyone else the FCC chair deems appropriate.
Dr. Ann Marie Rohaly|
Director of Accessibility Standards, Microsoft
Ann Marie Rohaly, who is Director of Accessibility Standards in Microsoft
's standards group and a SMPTE
fellow, chaired VPAAC, spoke to Creative COW about the work of the committee and how close we are to providing closed captioning.
The make-up of the committee, says Rohaly, is to "capture all the stakeholders that are affected by the requirements in the new law," she says. "How SMPTE fits into this is that the committee was tasked with producing a report of recommendations for the delivery of closed captioning for online programming -- and our report recommended that a SMPTE standard be used."
VPAAC met over a six month period, drafted a set of requirements for any standard and studied existing industry standards and technologies before coming to the conclusion that the SMPTE Timed Text standard--also known as SMPTE 2052--was the technical solution that best met the requirement.
BIRTH OF A STANDARD
The move towards captioning online video actually began in 2006 when a group of companies in the industry--WGBH-TV
(Boston), the National Center for Accessible Media
, Microsoft, Yahoo
--formed the Internet Captioning Forum. "They all came together because they realized there was going to be a need for a solution and the forum allowed them to explore the issues," explains Rohaly. "They came to the conclusion that an industry standard would be needed to ensure interoperability along the pieces of the chain and to encourage wide-spread adoption." The group then decided that SMPTE was the most appropriate standardization body to undertake the work and, in 2008, sent SMPTE a project proposal.
The result was SMPTE 2052, a common set of instructions for authoring and distributing captions or subtitles for broadband video content. While it ensures commonality among web browsers and devices, it also allows room for innovation without creating interoperability issues. SMPTE compares it to "companies that develop plug-in modules for Web browsers."
SMPTE 2052 is already used in production environments to repurpose TV content for the internet, and is integrated into the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem's UltraViolet
format as the caption/subtitle format for movie/TV content. SMPTE 2052 is also specified in draft standards for Internet TV delivery in the U.K., France, Germany, Italy and other European countries and is currently used by several video services and internet video players.
To speed up adoption of the closed caption standard, SMPTE made its Timed Text standard available free for download
, with the overview document ST 2052-0-2010, the Standard ST 2052-1-2010, and a FAQ document available.
THE FUTURE OF ONLINE CLOSED CAPTIONING
As to the future acceptance of the standard, Rohaly outlines the path. "Right now, the FCC is writing an NPRM, a notice of proposed rule-making," she says. "There will be a period of time for the public to review the proposed regulations and comment on them. The FCC will then study the comments, revise the draft regulations as they deem appropriate and then issue the final regulations."
Because the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act requires the final regulation to be issued in January 2012, Rohaly believes that the FCC will issue its NPRM in the near future. "They don't have a lot of time between now and January," she says. "They need to leave enough time to solicit and digest comments and update the rules as necessary."
|Recent Articles / Tutorials:|
Videoguys Top 10 Products of 2016
As we look back at 2016, we reflect on a year that involved media consumption -- and more specifically LIVE media consumption. Increased bandwidth, improved cameras on mobile phones, and easy access to YouTube LIVE...
Production Designer Hannah Beachler on the Go Creative Show
Film and broadcast production designer Hannah Beachler talks with Go Creative Show host Ben Consoli about her work on Creed, Moonlight, and the upcoming Black Panther. Hannah Beachler is a prolific production designer with an affinity for realistic design that emphasizes emotional drama. Over the past few years, Hannah’s designed some of the hottest films like, Miles Ahead, Creed, Moonlight, Beyonce’s Lemonade, and the much anticipated upcoming film Black Panther. Hannah and I discuss the role of a production designer, how she collaborates with the camera department, working with director Ryan Coogler and how she finds inspiration for each of her films.
Feature, People / Interview
The Other Side of GoPro's November 30, 2016 Announcement
When GoPro announced on November 30, 2016 that they would be cutting 200 full-time jobs, closing the entertainment division, and that their president would be leaving the company, the internet came alive with those who were predicting the company's demise. But there really is another side to the story and as is often the case, the loudest voices are not always the ones with the real story. In this article, Creative COW's co-founder, Ronald Lindeboom, looks at GoPro's announcement and gives his thoughts from his point of view. As Lindeboom concludes at the end of the story, "That GoPro stumbled is not surprising to me, what is surprising is that they had such a remarkable unbroken string of success until 2016."
Editorial, Feature, Business
Letters to the COW Team
Creative COW's Brand New News Dept. Features and Functions
Creative COW's co-founders have been quietly at work cleaning up and rebuilding the Creative COW News section. While they've been at work, they've been adding new features and functions that will make the news department much more useful in the days ahead. If it's been a while since you've visited the news section, visit it soon but read this short introduction to what it is and how things are working. We hope these new changes make your research and keeping on top of industry news much more productive.
Editorial, Feature, Business
Business & Marketing
12 Things I Know About Business at 55 That I Wish I'd Known at 25
12 Things I Know About Business at 55 That I Wish Id Known at 25 appeared in Creative COW Magazine and was one of our most popular articles. It is a true timeless classic in which COW leader, contributing editor, and Senior Business Adviser to Creative COW, Nick Griffin shares wisdom he's learned the hard way in over 30 years in business. His experience will help you to avoid mistakes, manage clients, and prepare yourself to achieve your greatest success.
Editorial, Feature, Business
Don Burgess aligns with Light Iron and Panavision for ALLIED
Don Burgess, ASC trusts Light Iron. His last seven films can attest, so Burgess chose Light Iron to support him again with digital dailies and post finishing services on Allied. Directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Brad Pitt and Marion Cotillard, the World War II-set film sees an intelligence officer's romance with a French Resistance fighter tested when high command thinks a double agent might be in play.
Editorial, Feature, People / Interview, Business, Project
Art of the Edit
More Than One Path to Success: Senior Editor Mae Manning
We talk a lot about things like “accessible tools” and the “democratization of video production” -- what has this meant for the emerging talent whose creative development has taken place largely, or even entirely, within this democratized landscape? Mae Manning is one such editor, who taught herself to edit music videos, and caught the eye of a local production company. Several years later and now their Senior Editor, she cuts corporate and industrial training videos, promotional videos, sketch comedy, short films, and everything else that gets thrown her way. Mae’s story is an inspiration for anyone that thinks there is only one path to success in the industry.
Editorial, Feature, People / Interview
Art of the Edit
How To Create Better Live Surgical Broadcasts
Greg Ondera produces, directs, and edits medical video programs specializing in surgical procedures. From his wide ranging experience in the medical sciences and broadcast arts, Greg shows you how to create better surgical broadcasts.
Editorial, Tutorial, Feature, Business