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Posted on: 10/21/2011 10:08:07 AM
VITAC's friend, Rob Owen at the Post Gazette mentioned us in an article explaining closed captioning to his readers. One reader inquired:
"How does the closed captioning work? Is it computer generated or human? I picture people frantically typing while the speaking takes place. That would explain the misspelled words and text-like spellings. I have been wondering about this but hesitated in asking for fear the answer would emphasize my tech ignorance."
That said, caption problems are not always the fault of the captioner. Captions are delivered through many links until they reach the viewers home (network, cable, set-top box, TV). There are many potential fault points along the captioning delivery path. The FCC requires that all MVPDs (cable, satellite, fios, etc) and broadcast networks provide a captioning complaint name, email address and number. They also regulate strict timeframes for response to viewer complaints. Viewers who receive their signal over the air may contact the station directly (type the station call letters into Google, for example). Viewers who receive their signal via cable, satellite or fios can find the number on their monthly bill.
For more information, read Rob's informative article!
Posted on: 10/20/2011 12:23:39 PM
At VITAC, we love all captions. We think everyone should watch them -- the benefits to viewers have been proven -- whether to improve reading retention, learn English or better understand a television program. That being said, our number one viewer complaint/request is, "how do I turn off captions?"
We don't advocate turning captions off, but if you find yourself in this situation, these directions may be useful:
To turn off all captions, use the menu or caption function on your television remote control. When you reach the caption menu, you'll see you have a choice between OFF, CC1, CC2 and sometimes CC3 and CC4. Be sure that it is set for OFF, and the captions should disappear.
If you are watching a high-definition television, the captions are most likely controlled by your cable or satellite box (set top box or STB). Each manufacturer uses a different method to reach the caption menu -- on Fios, for example, you can press the CC button on your remote control. Some Comcast Motorola boxes require the user to turn off the box to reach the caption menu. Either way, please refer to the website of your program provider. Some common sources include:
Also, please note that your cable or satellite provider is required by law to provide a captioning hotline phone number. You can find that number on the back of your monthly bill or by searching online.
Sr. Offline Captioner
Where were you born and raised? When is the last time you were there?
New Bedford, PA. I was there last week for their Fall Festival.
Where is your favorite place in the world?
Home. I love travel, but I'm always glad to get back to the comfort and familiarity of home.
Describe your perfect day.
I once spent an entire day looking at art at the Met in NYC. That was pretty close to
What do you do to decompress?
Read, write poetry, and watch Turner Classic Movies.
What is your quirkiest habit?
I like to drink exactly two Diet Dr. Peppers at lunch.
If you had a super power, what would it be?
I'd like to be able to fly. It would cut down on airfare. I'd be able to travel more.
What makes you laugh?
Irony. British comedy.
If you could have lunch with anyone in history, who would it be?
Emma Thompson. She's a heroine of mine.
Who is the most famous person you ever met? How did you meet?
Meryl Streep. I met her at the Butler Art Museum in Youngstown, OH. She was there for a reception for her husband (who is a sculptor).
What do you like most about working at VITAC?
I like working with words. I like that I learn something new every day. But most of all, I like working with the people of VITAC.
To learn more about Deann's interests, visit:
Posted on: 10/7/2011 5:05:03 PM
Feeling Bored, Brainless... or Undead?!?
Grab your friends and head to Pittsburgh's Market Square for the fifth annual Zombie Fest
. The city is attempting to set a Guinness World Record for "Largest Gathering of Zombies," so don your dead apparel and live (or not live) it up!!
For inspiration, watch "Night of the Living Dead," the horror movie we featured and captioned last Halloween.
While you're at it, brush up on your Zamgrh. No one likes a speechless Zombie.
Marrah Barhahmaz an marrah Barhannagah!!!
Posted on: 10/7/2011 2:20:48 PM
VITAC-Powered Team Begins 200-mile Relay
While many of us relax and enjoy this weekend's beautiful fall weather, six VITAC employees and their friends and family will hit the trails and run The Kentucky Bourbon Chase, a daunting 200-mile relay.
The VITAC-powered team, The Young and the Rest of Us; a nod to the team's diverse ages which ranges from 22 to 72-years-old, begin their journey today. The team of thirteen is divided into eleven runners and two drivers. Each runner will run three legs, totaling over 16 miles, while one member will double-up and run six legs.
During the race, the team will be divided between two vans. When the first runner takes off, a van will drive to the next exchange point, where the next runner will take their turn. This process will repeat throughout the night until they reach the finish line. With only one team member running the course at a time, The Young and the Rest of Us expect to finish within 30 hours.
In addition to running in the dark, the team will face a variety of obstacles. The course will include plenty of country roads, fields, and hills, not to mention the second highest railroad bridge in the country. Based on the running schedule, Lisa Wiesman will be running this "narrow and dangerous" portion of the race.
We will be posting updates on Twitter, so be sure to follow us at VITAC_Captions. To support the team, check out their Facebook page!
Posted on: 10/3/2011 12:52:47 PM
National Disability Employment Awareness Month recognizes the importance and talents of people with disabilities in the workforce. Although efforts have improved, the unemployment rate for people with disabilities is still two times higher than that for people without disabilities. In a recent proclamation, President Obama addresses this problem and challenges everyone to rededicate themselves to improving the work environment and job opportunities.
As part of our culture, VITAC "recognizes that each employee brings a unique set of skills and abilities to the workplace. We do not discriminate against any employee or job applicant with respect to any terms, privileges, or conditions of employment because of a person's physical or mental disability." Our HR Manager, Mark Panichella is, "proud to be part of an organization that strives to recruit and retain individuals with diverse backgrounds."
For more information about National Disability Employment Awareness Month, read President Obama's proclamation here.
Posted on: 9/30/2011 3:41:02 PM
The good news for caption viewers is that more and more online programs are being captioned. The bad news - it's often hard to find out just what is captioned. Unlike TV, where a viewer can count on captions 20 hours a day, 7 days a week, the world of the Internet is hit or miss. A person could spend 15 minutes deciding which movie they'd like to view, then load it, only to find it is not captioned (and unwatchable if you are deaf or hard of hearing).
On Monday, Apple announced that captioned programming on iTunes will be identified with a CC logo, visible in the iTunes store
. Though captioned video on iTunes is still the minority, the searchabiilty factor is a huge benefit. To find all the content with closed captioning on iTunes, select the category you want to search, and check the option to search only for closed captioning before you use the Search button.
allows the user to search for captioned video as well. Using the "advanced search" tab at the bottom of the page, choose "only show videos with closed captioning."
has captioned many of the programs now captioned on iTunes and Hulu. What do you think of the way the sites convert the captions to online formats? What would you like to see changed as we migrate to a more accessible web? Let us know!
We're not just about words here at VITAC. Our employees are recognized for their attention to detail and routinely catch foul language and typos that are missed in the customer's QC process. Our clients have come to rely on VITAC's customer support that goes above and beyond the call of duty.
Most recently, while Dan Garbark, our Multilanguage Coordinator was captioning a video for Limelight Communications, Inc., he noticed a discrepancy in the video. In a screen shot of three people, he noted that, "the speaker is referring to the person on the left, but the picture zooms in on the person in the center of the picture." He sent a note to Steve York, a Client Sales and Services Representative who forwarded the message to Kenny Reff, the Executive Producer and President of Limelight Productions. Kenny responded:
"I checked the note below and your person is absolutely right! That shot is from a still photo where we zoomed in on the wrong person. My hat is off to your staff person who caught this. Far beyond the call of duty! I am impressed!!"
This just goes to show you that while VITAC is known for offering high-quality captioning services, we understand the importance of proving unparalleled customer support. Yet another reason VITAC is the "no worries" captioning company.
Posted on: 9/28/2011 3:08:05 PM
Deadlines Set for Public Input
The FCC's Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPRM) was published in the Federal Registry today; thus, signaling the deadline for public comments and replies. The FCC is hoping to have these regulations go into effect by January 2012, so there is a tight deadline for input. Comments are due by October 18, while replies to those comments must be received by October 28.
Our previous post outlines the topics the FCC would like more information about; please read it to prompt your response.
If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information:
Published version of the NPRM
Posted on: 9/26/2011 8:45:12 AM
From the Sky Down, a documentary about the creation of U2's seminal album "Achtung Baby" opened the Toronto Film Festival to great acclaim in early September. On Saturday, October 29th at 8:00 pm -- 20 years after the album's release -- the film will premiere on Showtime with VITAC's captions.
The film, directed by Academy Award® winner Davis Guggenheim, details a changing and somewhat volatile time in U2's career. In addition to highlighting the band's musical talents, Guggenheim presents never-before-seen footage, behind-the-scenes drama, and rare interviews.
The film and re-release of the album is widely anticipated by U2 fans worldwide, including those at VITAC. The company is thrilled to caption this movie, especially the in-house U2 fans/captioners who are lucky enough to work on this production.
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