The start of September marks the beginning of a lot of things: preparation for the cooler autumn months, back to school, and of course football season! At VITAC, it’s the most exciting, and busy time of the year.
Our realtime captioners, production coordinators, and supervisors are gearing up, putting together rosters, stats, and spelling confirmation lists of the thousands of players in the NCAA and NFL. The schedulers and sports supervisors are working tirelessly to ensure a captioner is available for each and every game, and making sure we have the lists of proper network connections.
Starting this week, weekends in the realtime department will be in overdrive, as we caption 43 college football games from Thursday through Sunday, and up to 13 NFL games every Sunday from now until February.
Coordinator setups get a tad trickier; adding and testing multiple IP and encoder connections for the captioners, and monitoring start and finish times of each game. If one game runs long, the scheduled following game could start, but using a different connection than originally planned. Once that first game ends, the coordinator must switch the on-air captioner to the original scheduled connection! This all happens while performing their other regularly scheduled coordinator duties, and the transition must occur seamlessly.
The captioners must keep captioning their games, sometimes writing hours past their scheduled times when overtime happens. Post game wrap-ups and pre-game coverage oftentimes get preempted, and they must be on alert at all times, monitoring their audio lines.
Even though it’s tons of hard work, there’s almost an electric feeling among VITAC employees in the realtime department during these weekends in the cooler months. The football teams surely aren’t the only ones demonstrating teamwork! Captioners, coordinators, supervisors, and schedulers all pull together to produce the highest quality captions, and flawless transition between games with no caption loss.
By Brittany Bender