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Campaign Captioning is Affordable, Fast and Necessary

Posted on: 10/17/2014 2:24:08 PM under News 


Closed captioning is a fast, affordable solution for making TV commercials, or "spots," accessible to over 50 million deaf and hard-of-hearing Americans. The gubernatorial candidates in Maryland now know this as well as anyone.

On Thursday, October 9th, in Baltimore, the hopefuls for the highest Maryland office participated in a forum hosted by the National Federation for the Blind that focused on disability rights issues. The moderator asked each of the candidates -- who appeared separately at the forum -- why they had chosen not to add closed captioning to their televised political ads.

Lt. Governor and Democratic hopeful Anthony G. Brown cited cost as a factor and answered, according to The Washington Post, that "the resources available to my campaign aren't nearly the resources available in state government." Republican Boyd Rutherford, standing in for Larry Hogan, argued that he was not directly involved in the process of creating ads, but stated that cost was not likely a factor in the decision. The Libertarian candidate, Shawn Quinn, said that he would have included captions if he could have afforded television ads.

Brown, who has a substantial lead in the race with less than three weeks before election day, has benefited from high-profile endorsements from former President Bill Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden. He had raised over $11 million for his campaign as of May. By contrast, closed captioning for a single TV spot costs $75.

VITAC captions thousands of TV spots per year, many of which are prepared and turned around in the same day. Captions, which are mandated on all full-length broadcast programs, bring an advertiser's message to millions of Americans -- and voters.

To inquire about captioning TV spots, please call (724) 514-4077.

by Carlin Twedt



What Kind of Captions Should You Request for Your Final Cut Pro Project?

Posted on: 10/10/2014 5:10:26 PM under Blog 


Final Cut Pro is one of the most popular video editing software types for independent producers. But requesting the right kind of captions can sometimes be difficult, since it may depend on the type of deliverable you need. That's where VITAC comes in.

If you have a project in Final Cut Pro and you need high-quality, affordable captions, here's what you need to request. The list is organized by the type of final deliverable you would like.

SD Broadcast Tape

An .SCC (Scenarist Closed Caption) deliverable. This is a caption file that includes only text, timing, and placement information. NOTE: Final Cut automatically starts files at 00:00:00:00. If you have bars and tones on your file, or if it starts at the 01:00:00:00 mark, please let us know. For this format, the timecode must start at 00:00:00:00, or else we need to know, to adjust it ourselves.

HD Broadcast Tape

A QuickTime file with 608/708 included, with a closed caption track. VITAC can insert the closed caption data into an .MOV proxy. For this format, the timecode must start at 00:00:00:00, or else we need to know, to adjust it ourselves.

Digital Formats

Digital formats in Final Cut may require a variety of different caption file formats, depending on the platform on which you'd like to play the video. When ordering caption files for a project that will go on the web, we need to know:

-The resolution

-The framerate

-Progressive or interlaced timecode

-The caption deliverable you need (depends on what playback method you are going to use).

Burned-In Subtitles

Final Cut and Adobe Premier support importing of XML linked PNG graphic files for subtitling.

Need captions for your Final Cut project? Request a quote today.



What Puts VITAC Above Fansubbing and Other Amateur Captioning Solutions?

Posted on: 10/1/2014 1:20:31 PM under News 


With the rise of so-called "fansubbing," or fans of a particular movie or television show creating their own captions and subtitles, it is important to stress the amount of talent and professionalism required to produce quality accessible media. Though it may be possible for any amateur to produce words on a video, the difference between the right word and the almost right word, as Mark Twain said, is "the difference between lighting and a lightning bug." VITAC has been perfecting its captioning and subtitling processes for over 28 years and is proud to boast the best captions and subtitles available.

Just a few of the many points that make VITAC's professional captioning and subtitling the only logical solution:

Highly Skilled Personnel: All Offline Captioners have degrees in English, Journalism, or a related field, and must pass a comprehensive grammar test before hire.

Qualified Translation: VITAC works with contractors in over 50 countries around the world who provide not only word-for-word translation but consistency from one show episode to the next and attention to the "color" of the work. 

Verification: All proper names and uncommon terms in offline programs, including names of cities and characters, must be researched and verified for accuracy. The correct spelling of the word and the reliable source where the spelling could be found must be listed on a Verification Sheet, which remains on file in case of discrepancies.

Caption Breaks/Line Breaks: When "breaking" captions, or separating dialogue into separate lines, VITAC makes sure to keep compound names on the same lines and to start new lines with prepositional phrases ("with the President," "before disaster strikes").

Fast Turnaround: Our standard turnaround for caption and subtitle files of up to an hour in duration is 3-4 business days.

To learn more about VITAC's top-quality services, please visit our services page.



VITAC Announces New Director of Multilanguage Services

Posted on: 9/26/2014 4:33:15 PM under News 


VITAC is pleased to announce that effective September 29, 2014, Bob Beyer will be the new Director of Multilanguage Services (MLS). Bob joined VITAC in 1990 and helped grow our Offline Department, opening the Washington, D.C. office in 1992. In subsequent years he became the leader of our Los Angeles Offline Captioner group.

In his new role, Bob will be leading a department responsible for marrying the expertise of six employees, in Los Angeles and Pittsburgh, with hundreds of independent contractor translators in over 50 countries around the world. His leadership and knowledge of the prerecorded captioning and subtitling industry will be an invaluable contribution to our MLS team.

Director of Prerecorded Operations Dina Smith will also transition into a new role, taking over responsibility for 100% of VITAC's offline captioning operations. Dina joined VITAC in 1990, and what was then a two-person Offline Department now consists of 74 Captioners in seven states. She has led through FCC mandates for TV captions, the transition to digital and HD distribution, explosive cable expansion, and now web captioning.

From everyone at VITAC, we wish Bob and Dina the best of luck in their new roles!



New Contact Info For Los Angeles Office

Posted on: 9/19/2014 3:17:46 PM under News 


VITAC's LA office underwent an important upgrade this week, aimed at improving customer service and streamlining communications within VITAC. The improvement involved an overhaul of the phone systems to allow Vice President, West Coast Sales Maggie McDermott and SVP, Market Development Deborah Schuster to be reached directly, without having to contact an operator. Their new contact information is as follows:

Maggie McDermott Deborah Schuster
Vice President, West Coast Sales SVP, Market Development
(818) 286-3542 (818) 286-3541

The main number, (818) 755-0410, still connects to LA reception. As always, you can reach members of our Client Sales and Services team at (724) 514-4077 or



Conference and Event Captioning by VITAC

Posted on: 9/15/2014 2:02:10 PM under Our Videos 


For over 10 years, VITAC has been providing closed captioning for live events and conferences for some of the most recognizable Fortune 500 corporations. As an improvement upon our suite of Enterprise Services, our engineers designed the Remote Captioning System, a mobile unit for remote or on-site captioning that requires only a power source and a phone signal, all packaged in a compact case that can be shipped through the mail. We tested this system out at Point Park University's graduation in May, and along the way, asked a few of the newly minted graduated what they thought. See what captions can do for your audience!

Watch to the end to see our full lineup of Enterprise Services, including Conference Captioning, Web Captioning, and Global Reach Subtitling.

by Carlin Twedt



September Giveaway Bonanza!

Posted on: 9/5/2014 12:25:33 PM under News 


September is one of VITAC's busiest months, with college and pro football adding an enormous volume of work to both our Realtime and Offline Departments. As Realtime Captioners work nearly every weekend, the Production Coordinators take on overtime to support them, and the Offline Captioners work extra hours to accommodate short turnarounds, we decided to create the first-ever September Giveaway Bonanza!

Every weekday in September, the production staff will be eligible to win gift cards, mystery bags, and even a 32" flat-screen TV! One winner is chosen from the pool of Realtime Captioners each day, as well as one winner from the Production Coordinator/Schedulers/Supervisors/Offline Captioners/MLS/CSS groups of employees.

Sales and Marketing Project Manager Crystal Hopkins, who came up with the idea, also administers the project. "We wanted to do something new and fun for employees to show our appreciation for all their hard work," said Crystal. "Who doesn't like a chance to be a winner?!" The response thus far has been overwhelmingly positive...and we haven't even given away the flat screen yet!



Can I Add Closed Captions to My DVD?

Posted on: 8/29/2014 1:26:41 PM under Blog 


Most of us are familiar with DVD menus and the possibility of selecting common language subtitles such as French and Spanish. A third option is often English SDH, English subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing, which include sound effects of significant off-screen occurrences (such as "[ Doorbell rings ]"), as well as all dialogue.

It is also possible to include English closed caption files (as opposed to subtitle files) on a DVD. Like English SDH, these can be turned on and off, and include sound effects of significant events that occur off-screen, as well as all dialogue. The difference is in some of the technical limitations of caption and subtitle formats having to do with load times of each caption/subtitle and the accommodation of special characters. Please note that Blu-ray players are not capable of passing captioned video to your TV to be decoded. If your ultimate DVD is Blu-ray or will be played on a Blu-ray player, you will need to rely on subtitles. 

The advantage of adding a caption file is that if the content is captioned for broadcast TV, the owner can often reuse the same file for the DVD, or a slightly reformatted version of the file. In other words, a caption file in .SCC format can be used for broadcast TV, and can also be encoded to DVD. This can affect the turnaround time of your project, and possibly save the customer money.   

To learn more about closed captioning your DVD, request a quote for your project today.



New FCC Best Practices, Summarized by VITAC

Posted on: 8/21/2014 4:57:31 PM under News 


In January, the FCC released a Report and Order documenting a new set of closed captioning best practices, which will go into effect January 15, 2015. The Report and Order, a comprehensive, 150-page document, details the new requirements but also mentions the state of new technology in the industry and discusses the contributions of the players in the best practices rulings (including VITAC), among other significant details.

We at VITAC took upon ourselves the challenge of consolidating the FCC Report and Order for the sake of understanding, at a glance, the pieces and parts of the ruling that would most directly affect our customers. The linked document is a one-page summary of the FCC's ruling, divided into three sections: responsibilities of video programmers, responsibilities of captioning vendors/Captioners, and critical definitions for understanding the new rulings.

To discuss compliance certification and the new mandates, please email



VITAC Offers a Wide Range of Spanish Solutions

Posted on: 8/15/2014 12:53:34 PM under Blog 


For over 38 million Americans, about 12% of the US population, Spanish is the primary language spoken at home. That number is only expected to grow. With a rapidly growing Spanish-language market on broadcast TV to go with it, services such as Spanish translation, Spanish subtitling/captioning, and Spanish dubbing are in higher demand than ever. VITAC is proud to offer solutions for nearly every Spanish language need.


VITAC offers live Spanish>Spanish captioning, as well as live English audio>Spanish text translation and captioning. This involves a realtime translator interpreting and translating the audio live, and a Spanish Captioner writing the translation as text. Our Spanish captioning work can be seen on live Telemundo broadcasts.


VITAC offers both Spanish subtitling and Spanish captioning for prerecorded programs. Unlike most languages other than English, traditional line-21 captioning supports all Spanish characters, which means that a program can have Spanish captions, whereas most languages must be included as subtitles. For a Spanish subtitled project, ask about an additional caption deliverables, which can be easily uploaded to web platforms like YouTube. VITAC's Spanish offline captions can be seen on networks such as TuTV.

VITAC also dubs Spanish audio. Dubbing is the process of adding an audio track other than the original language to a program. On TV programs that have been dubbed, viewers can access the dubbed track by pressing the SAP (Secondary Audio Programming) button on the remote. We are proud to work with Discovery on a project aimed at adding Spanish dubbing to a large volume of programming.

Find out more about our Spanish services, or Request-A-Quote for your project.


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