Amy Bowlen Twitter Q&A Thursday, March 10

VITAC Announces Live Twitter Q&A with Manager of Realtime Captioner Training Amy Bowlen

VITAC’s Amy Bowlen To Answer Live Twitter Questions on Captioning

Canonsburg, PA: On Thursday, March 10, 2016 at 12:00 PM EST, VITAC’s Manager of Realtime Captioner Training, Amy Bowlen will be answering any and all questions received on Twitter in real time until 1:00 PM. The event is part of VITAC’s recent Realtime Captioner (RC) Recruitment campaign.

VITAC’s RC Recruitment team was inspired by AMAs (Ask Me Anything) on the popular internet forum site, Reddit.

Participants with questions about becoming a VITAC Realtime Captioner, or captioning questions in general are asked to directly tweet to Amy, @VITAC_Amy, and/or use the hashtag #AskAmy.

About VITAC Corporation

VITAC Corporation is the nation’s largest provider of closed captioning and other accessible media services. VITAC provides live and prerecorded captioning solutions in English and Spanish, video description and digital media services for broadcast networks, cable TV, online video, and teleconferences worldwide. Among the company’s largest clients are NBC Universal, Discovery Networks, BBC America, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX, Turner Broadcasting, Warner Bros. Television, and the Federal Government.  VITAC was founded in 1986, is headquartered in Canonsburg, PA.  Its leaders hold long tenure in the accessible media industry, and the company currently employs over 325 people.

About Amy Bowlen

Manager of Realtime Captioning Training Amy Bowlen was one of VITAC’s first realtime captioners and has contributed significantly to our growth and success during her 26 years with the company. Her captioning experience, technical knowledge, leadership, and teaching skills have made her an invaluable part of the VITAC team.

Amy holds several National Court Reporters Association certifications, including the Registered Diplomate Reporter, Certified Realtime Captioner, and Certified Broadcast Captioner.  In 2002, she was awarded the distinction of being conferred as a Fellow of the Academy of Professional Reporters.

Amy is proud to have introduced so many court reporters to the world of captioning and helped them renew their enthusiasm for their specialized skill.

 

VITAC Announces New Ownership

VITAC Announces New Ownership

The Gores Group to invest in the nation’s largest provider of accessible media

Canonsburg, PA:  VITAC Corporation, the country’s largest provider of closed captioning and accessible media solutions to clients in the media and entertainment, education, corporate and government sectors, today announced that the company is transitioning to a new owner, The Gores Group.  The Gores Group is a leading, Los Angeles-based investment firm.

VITAC has built a strong reputation for quality captions, dedicated service, unparalleled reliability and customized client solutions.  The company, which is celebrating its 30th anniversary next month, offers  FCC-compliant live and prerecorded captioning in English and Spanish, video description, and digital media services, and will caption a record 300,000 hours of live and pre-recorded television and online content in 2016.

“We look forward to our partnership with The Gores Group,” said Pat Prozzi, VITAC’s President and CEO, “The resources they provide ensure that our focus on our customers’ needs can continue unabated as we grow and provide service to an ever-changing marketplace.”

Chris Crowell, Managing Director for The Gores Group, added, “VITAC’s reputation for providing quality captioning services is unmatched in its industry.  We look forward to working with Pat and her talented team to ensure that VITAC continues to offer its customers best-in-class services.”

About The Gores Group, LLC

The Gores Group, founded in 1987 by Alec Gores, is a global investment firm focused on acquiring controlling interests in mature and growing businesses which can benefit from the firm’s operating experience and flexible capital base. The firm combines the operational expertise and detailed due diligence capabilities of a strategic buyer with the seasoned M&A team of a traditional financial buyer. Over its 25+ year history, The Gores Group has become a leading investor having demonstrated a reliable track record of creating value in its portfolio companies alongside management. Headquartered in Los Angeles, The Gores Group maintains offices in Boulder, CO, and London. For more information, please visit www.gores.com.

About VITAC Corporation

VITAC Corporation is the nation’s largest provider of closed captioning and other accessible media services. VITAC provides live and prerecorded captioning solutions in English and Spanish, video description and digital media services for broadcast networks, cable TV, online video, and teleconferences worldwide. Among the company’s largest clients are NBC Universal, Discovery Networks, BBC America, CNN, C-SPAN, FOX, Turner Broadcasting, Warner Bros. Television, and the Federal Government.  VITAC was founded in 1986, is headquartered in Canonsburg, PA.  Its leaders hold long tenure in the accessible media industry, and the company  currently employs over 325 people.

 

VITAC Captions and Describes Cult Halloween Classic,

Video showcases online accessibility solutions to be required in 2012 as part of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act.

10/27/2011

VITAC, a leading provider of accessible video programming, today announced the release of the cult classic “Carnival of Souls,” with captions and audio description. This second annual accessible horror film — last year the company released “Night of the Living Dead” with captions and audio description — was created in recognition of the progress being made to increase audio description and captioning on television and the Internet. The 2012 required expansion of these services benefiting blind and deaf audiences is direct result of the FCC’s work to enact the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act.

In conjunction with the American Council of the Blind’s Audio Description Project, VITAC presents the horror film on VITAC’s website, YouTube, and ACB Radio. The public domain video is available in two formats — one with captions and one with captions and audio description.

“We’re happy to once again allow an audience of individuals who are deaf or blind — over 50 million people — the opportunity to experience a classic horror film,” says Heather York, VP Marketing for VITAC. “As it’s an old film and a bad copy, we think hearing and sighted people alike will require the captions and audio descriptions — a great, if unintended, way to showcase the benefits of each service.”

Audio description is normally presented on a secondary audio stream during television broadcasts. Effective July 1, 2012. ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, USA, the Disney Channel, TNT, Nickelodeon, and TBS are each required to provide 50 hours of described prime time or children’s programming per calendar quarter.

“I think that this is great that us blind people can be able to know exactly what the sighted person is looking at instead of having to imagine what it is that is scaring them,” says Louis Herrera, of the American Institute for the Prevention of Blindness and a member of the FCC’s Video Programming Accessibility Advisory Committee (VPAAC). “Now we will be part of the viewing audience. This is awesome and VITAC should be recognized for their efforts to produce an all-inclusive viewing/listening experience.”

Captions are required on all television programming airing between 6:00 a.m. and 2:00 a.m. The new legislation will require shows which are captioned for television to also be captioned when distributed online. In the year since Night of the Living Dead aired with captions, captioned video online has increased substantially. All of the broadcast networks provide captioning for their online video, and Netflix and Hulu are increasing their captioned inventory. Many users are realizing that captioning not only increases the audience, but also makes their video easier to find online.

“Adding captions to online video not only allows for improved accessibility, it also enables a video to be searched for, and found, by the text in the video,” says entrepreneur and technical accessibility expert Catharine McNally, who is deaf. “I hope the new legislation will not only add more captions online, it will require that all players and devices display those captions.”

VITAC employees created the captions for the video, and partner Audio Description Associates created the description, narrating the video so that the visual images are accessible to people who are blind or have low vision. Both the caption file and the newly recorded and mixed audio were uploaded to YouTube and embedded on VITAC’s website. ACBRadio, a streaming radio service of the American Council of the Blind, will be streaming Carnival of Souls at 8:00 pm EDT on Halloween.

VITAC Captions Hurricane Irene Emergency, Premieres New Web Series

“Crisis Chronicles” series presents satire of production process, while the company is flooded with captioning requests.

9/2/2011

VITAC, the Pittsburgh-based closed captioning and accessible media company, debuts “Crisis Chronicles: Nightmare Boss” today. The spot takes a light-hearted look at the overworked editor that is so often VITAC’s customer.

A tongue-in-cheek production, VITAC rescues clients with “no worries” solutions. While Hurricane Irene slammed the East Coast, VITAC held strong, captioning for over 200 hours of national and local emergency coverage, in English and Spanish. The NFL and college football seasons are fast approaching, and new fall TV is about to begin.

“We’re also adding 6 sports networks, re-captioning an entire channel, and delivering vast amounts of reformatted captions for the nation’s largest streaming media provider,” says Doug Karlovits, Chief Business Development Officer. “It’s keeping us on our toes, but our talented team is doing a fabulous job of taking care of our customers.”

Episode 1: “OMG!” launched in July. Episode 2 is now available here. The videos were filmed at WQED studios in Pittsburgh, PA, using local talent and production and VITAC employees.

VITAC Captioners Brace for Nonstop Royal Wedding Coverage

Behind-the-scenes media prep has an added dimension — list longer than Diana’s train

4/28/2011
More than 125 hours of Royal Wedding coverage on ten different national networks will be captioned on Friday by VITAC, the nation’s largest captioning company. And the advance preparation for captioning parallels the significant preparation undertaken by the networks.

The company’s captioners, schedulers and coordinators began in early April to verify technical plans, create world lists, augment dictionaries, and learn pronunciations, ensuring captioners are prepared to write absolutely anything and everything that might be spoken. From wedding guests names (Bogoda Seelawimala Nayaka, Maxima Zorreguieta) to music (“Fantasia in G, Piece d’orgue a 5 BWV 572,” “Prelude on St Columba Op 101 no 6″), to a myriad possible honeymoon destinations (Seychelles? Mustique? Rutundu?), the research list is longer than Diana’s train.
“The large number of guests and keeping their information straight will be challenging, especially if the pronunciations are varied depending on who is speaking,” says veteran captioner Stephanie Witter. “It may also be tough to keep on top of all of the royal titles that will be carried by many of the people making an appearance.” Witter is responsible for four hours of national network coverage Friday morning. She will watch her assigned network and caption what she hears, using her steno machine and lightning fast fingers. Her captions will appear on the network within two seconds of being spoken.

Royal Wedding stories have seeped into every bit of media we covered, from the “Today” show to Telemundo to CNN. The cake, the dress, the guest list — the backlash. Everybody’s got an opinion, and they’ll be spouting it Friday morning. And for every pundit on every network there will be a VITAC team working hard to ensure those words are translated properly into text.
The Royal Wedding differs from the traditionally somber multi-network events VITAC captions. According to Witter, “It’s an event that is totally unique to my professional experience in that it is reported in high spirits, given its celebratory nature.”

Danielle Bellows, Manager of Realtime Captioner Scheduling, says that all of the work hasn’t dampened her spirits. “There is always some fascination with Royalty — the palaces, the jewels, the great vacations. Of course I will watch! Yes! I want to see what she looks like! Can’t wait to see the dress!”

VITAC and the ACB Celebrate Halloween and New Legislation with Completely Accessible

VITAC and ACB celebrate Halloween and New Legislation with Completely Accessible “Night of the Living Dead”

10/26/2010
Arlington, VA (PRWEB) October 26, 2010

Classic Horror Film “Night of the Living Dead” Presented on YouTube and ACBRadio with Captioning and Audio Description VITAC and the ACB celebrate Halloween and the 21st Century Communications Act with completely accessible “Night of the Living Dead.”

Happy Halloween from VITAC and its Accessibility Partners “We’ll have the same opportunity to be scared out of our skin while viewing the described version of ‘Night of the Living Dead’ as our sighted peers.” – Eric Bridges, American Council of the Blind’s Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs

On October 8, 2010, President Obama signed the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act. VITAC and the American Council of the Blind were there for the signing of this historic legislation, which expands captioning to the Internet and reinstates video description requirements for broadcast television.

For Halloween 2010, VITAC, in conjunction with the American Council of the Blind’s Audio Description Project, presents the classic horror film “Night of the Living Dead,” captioned, described, and presented on VITAC’s website, YouTube, and ACBRadio.

“VITAC’s captioning and describing of the classic ‘Night of the Living Dead’ demonstrates the significant opportunity that the new legislation presents to a large percentage of our population,” said Pat Prozzi, President of VITAC.

VITAC employees created the captions for the video, and partner Audio Description Associates created the description, narrating the video so that the visual images are accessible to people who are blind or have low vision. Both the caption file (.srt format) and the newly recorded and mixed audio were uploaded to YouTube and embedded on VITAC’s website. ACBRadio, a streaming radio service of the American Council of the Blind, will be streaming “Night of the Living Dead” at 8:00 pm EDT on Halloween HERE

“Providing the description for Romero’s work was a joy,” says Joel Snyder, President of Audio Description Associates, who described the video and directs ACB’s Audio Description Project. “With ‘Night,’ Romero employed an exquisite balance of sound and silence with light and dark (and exquisitely staged) visuals. It allowed me to weave words within the soundtrack to convey the ‘shocking’ images and enhance the original for an audience that lacks access to the visual image, whether blind or simply in the next room.”

Audio description is normally presented on a secondary audio stream during television broadcasts. This “description track” is currently provided by only a few program producers, leaving blind audiences without access to much of the popular programming on television today. The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act will, over a period of time, mandate the addition of description to four to nine hours of primetime programming per week on at least nine popular networks.

“We’ll have the same opportunity to be scared out of our skin while viewing the described version of ‘Night of the Living Dead’ as our sighted peers,” said Eric Bridges, American Council of the Blind’s Director of Advocacy and Governmental Affairs. “With this legislation, people who are blind will be able to watch a broader array of programming and will have the ability to know ‘who done it’ without having to ask sighted friends or family or even wondering about the outcome until the next episode.” Mr. Bridges is part of the steering committee of COAT, the Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology. COAT and its affiliates worked over two years for the passage of the new legislation.

Don’t forget, ACBRadio will be streaming “Night of the Living Dead” at 8:00 pm EDT on Halloween HERE. Tune in then or visit YouTube to experience the horror…and access!

VITAC Celebrates the Enactment of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act

President Obama signed law requiring expanded video description services, Internet captioning, and universal access.

10/8/2010
Canonsburg, PA, October 8, 2010 VITAC, the nation’s leading closed captioning company, joins millions of advocates and Americans with sensory disabilities in celebrating passage of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, to be signed into law today by President Obama. The legislation requires that closed captioned television programs maintain their captioning when distributed over the Internet and also restores video description requirements, among other provisions.

VITAC is very pleased with enactment of the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act,” said Pat Prozzi President of VITAC. “Our nation’s deaf and hard-of-hearing community will now have access to entertainment and content previously unavailable to them. This is a huge step forward.”

The passage of this legislation is the result of over five years of cooperation between advocates, industry, and business representing multiple disabilities and services. The Coalition of Organizations for Accessible Technology (COAT) organized and spearheaded the effort. VITAC is an active member of COAT.

“This is a major milestone in accessibility history,” said Jenifer Simpson, COAT co-founder and co-chair. “The new law will ensure more people with disabilities will not be left behind in our digital communications world.”

Effects of the legislation can already be seen, with captions being added to more online programming daily. In June, NBC’s “Today” started airing captions – referred to as “subtitles” – on MSNBC.com. VITAC provides captioning for “Today.”

“The MSNBC Digital Network was the first major news site to offer full video transcripts and closed captioning on the majority of the video available,” said Charlie Tillinghast, President and Publisher of the MSNBC Digital Network.

“This law ensures that people who are deaf or hard of hearing can watch online programming with everyone else,” says Arielle Schacter, creator of the popular bf4life-hearing website, an online community/blog for teens who are deaf or hard of hearing. “Breaking down the barriers between the hearing world and the non-hearing world will help teens fit in with their friends. No one needs to feel different and no should have to, especially when the problem is easy to solve.”

VITAC Talks Internet Captioning

Media coverage of online captioning and subtitling is expanding.

9/3/2010
VITAC, the nation’s largest provider of closed captioning solutions, was featured this week in an article discussing the future of broadcast television programming accessibility on the Web.

Adrian McCoy’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette article “Captions on the Web“, expressed the need for captions and subtitles on Web-based video. VITAC is seeing increased requests for their Web-captioning service, providing both live and on-demand Web captions to broadcast networks and government agencies, though most online video remains inaccessible to nearly 36 million viewers who are deaf or hard-of-hearing.

“There are those within the industry who recognize the inherent value of providing captions online, and they’ve found a cost-effective way of putting it out there,” said Pat Prozzi, President of VITAC. “But there are a group of program providers that see it less as a benefit and more of a cost.”

The “Equal Access to 21st Century Communications Act” is expected to be signed by President Obama before the end of the year. This legislation is meant to increase access to modern communications, including captioning and subtitling services for Web videos, for people with disabilities. It will include a requirement that programming broadcast on TV with captions be presented with captions on the Internet.

Another benefit of captioning on YouTube and other video websites is that the text is searchable, making captions a strong part of any Search Engine Optimization campaign. VITAC, also provides Web caption services in over 45 languages – allowing local videos to reach an international audience.

“Twenty years ago, the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) made broadcast television accessible for millions of people that had never had access before, and this new Act will open access to programs on the Internet (which hearing viewers often take for granted) where the deaf and hard-of-hearing would otherwise be denied,” said Heather York, VITAC’s Director of Marketing.

ABOUT VITAC,

VITAC Corporation is the nation’s leading provider of accessible media services. The company serves every broadcast network and most cable channels, including BBC America, BET, CBS, NBC, CNN, C-SPAN, Discovery Networks, FOX, FSN, MSNBC, PBS, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Turner Broadcasting, Warner Bros. Television, and the Federal Government.

VITAC Announces Participation in the YouTube Ready Caption Qualification Program

Pittsburgh-based captioning company jokes to help the giant reach even broader audiences

7/1/2010
Canonsburg, PA July 1, 2010 — Pittsburgh-based VITAC announced today its participation in the YouTube Ready Caption Qualification Program, which aims to make YouTube video content more accessible. VITAC has produced the first of several in a series of humorous videos that are reminiscent of the hit NBC show “The Office,” featuring VITAC employees from around the country attempting a variety of tongue twisters.

VITAC, the nation’s leading closed captioning and accessible media company, has qualified as a YouTube Ready vendor. “The message of accessibility is very important, but we also wanted the vehicle to be entertaining,”said Pat Prozzi, President of VITAC.

Captioning allows producers of YouTube videos to get their message to viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing and makes it clearer to hearing audiences. Captions also enhance SEO — the ability of search engines to find video content on the Internet. The YouTube Ready program, administered by the Described and Captioned Media Program, approve captioning companies based on strict quality and style requirements.

“VITAC traditionally works with large networks and major TV producers,” said Heather York, Director of Marketing. “But we developed a simple solution for YouTube videos that incorporates an easy and automated file upload and payment via PayPal — all with 100% accurate captions.”

Upper Cut Studios, a Pittsburgh-based production company, worked with VITAC to create the video. “We shot it with an eye toward the feeling of ‘The Office.’ The humor isn’t in your face. It’s just subtle, knowing, and something everyone can understand,” said Dax Parise, President. “We can’t wait for the next episodes.”

Captioning the Obama Inaugural

VITAC to caption massive TV coverage

1/19/2009
PITTSBURGH, Jan. 19, 2009 – On Jan. 20 America will be watching the Inauguration of Barack Obama as the 44th President of the United States. While many will descend upon our nation’s capital, most will follow the events via an unprecedented scope of broadcast television coverage. VITAC is proud to be part this historic event, providing realtime closed captioning to millions of viewers across 24 national networks and local stations.

Due to the remarkable nature of this event, many networks, including ABC, BBC America, BET, CNN, Headline News, NBC, MSNBC, Telemundo and TV One are among those offering expanded news coverage, with VITAC captioning. Nearly 120 VITAC captioners, engineers, and production coordinators will be involved in bringing the experience to the 10 percent of all viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Adding captions to a live broadcast requires in-depth advanced research, engineering expertise, split-second thinking and nerves of steel on the part of the captioner. “With a high-profile event such as this, you can almost feel the millions of eyes watching with anticipation,” says VITAC captioner Karla Ray, who will be captioning on January 20. “It feels like an out-of-body experience at times, and sometimes you just have to let your fingers take over and remember to breathe.”

VITAC provided similar concurrent services on election night, with zero loss of captioning or technical interruption. “We’re looking forward to providing the same flawless coverage on a larger scale Inauguration Day,” said Patricia A. Prozzi, President of VITAC. “We know that millions of deaf and hard-of-hearing viewers are relying on us to bring them complete coverage of President-Elect Obama’s address and all the events of this historic day-and we are ready.”