The Billboard Latin Music Awards airs on Telemundo Thursday, April 26 at 7pm/6c. Our talented realtime department is simultaneously creating English AND Spanish captions for live event.
In this case, (as the Billboard Latin Music Awards are mainly in Spanish) the Spanish captions are straightforward. Armed with their dictionary for the event and their stenograph, the Spanish Realtime Captioner will connect to the program with the help of a Production Coordinator. As they hear the audio, their fingers fly across the keys to produce the Spanish words onscreen.
Creating English captions takes an extra step. The English Realtime Captioner will have a dictionary prepared for the Billboard Latin Music Awards, but will have to rely on a translator to feed them the English translation. The translator will listen to the show's Spanish audio, and simultaneously translate it into English and dictate it to the captioner. The English captioner will use the translator's dialogue to create the English captions. We have this system down to an art -- we caption numerous Telemundo programs this way with a minimal delay.
So, when you watch the show tonight, turn on the captions and think of the VITAC team!
Over the past two weeks, Travis Copeland has traveled to 130 countries and visited some of the most remote areas in the world. How did he do this? Travis is an offline captioner at VITAC and captioned all 11 episodes of the original "Planet Earth" series for BBC America. With this job under his belt, Travis is our resident "Planet Earth" expert and this month's Unsung Hero.
There are a number of ways to celebrate Earth Day: plant a tree, go for a hike, dress up like your favorite animal, or read "The Giving Tree." This year, BBC America is offering another option, you can watch back-to-back episodes of the "Planet Earth" series!
There are two versions of the "Planet Earth" series; BBC America's original and Discovery's American one. Both were co-produced by a handful of our clients - BBC, Discovery Channel, NHK and BBC America - the series celebrates every corner of the Earth. Though the footage is the same, that's where the similarities end. Each has a completely different script and the original is narrated by David Attenborough while the American version is voiced by Sigourney Weaver.
VITAC is no stranger to the "Planet Earth" series. In 2007, our offline department captioned Discovery's version for DVD and TV-broadcast. This month, Travis Copeland our offline captioner and our newest wilderness expert, single-handedly captioned the original BBC series. Travis, who has worked at VITAC since November 2006, owns the BBC version (it was the first Blu-Ray he bought) and has seen a few of the American episodes.
Captioning the 11-episode series has been a two-week process. There are three or four versions for each episode and Travis captioned two for each one, which is over 22 hours of programming!
While Travis enjoyed captioning the series, the project wasn't without its obstacles. One challenge was placing the captions. "You don't want to cover up any of the important visuals, but when all the visuals are so beautiful, that sometimes comes down to a judgment call," explained Travis.
He also found that watching the darker scenes proved to be their own obstacles. He noted, "while nature is often stunningly beautiful, it can be ugly and dangerous. The series doesn't shy away from the more unpleasant aspects." His mantra soon became, "The Circle of Life."
Obstacles aside, Travis always kept an ear out for sound effects. "I try to convey the animal noises that are important, but I also take a minimalist approach. That is, I only note them when they are important to what's going on in the episode," he explained. "The harder part is actually naming the noises. Lots of bleating and howling, along with some singing and croaking and even a bird that makes clicking sounds. 'Calling' is a good default, but some Internet research was helpful."
At the end of the day, Travis' favorite part about captioning the series was, well, seeing it again. "Having seen the series before, it feels like reconnecting with an old friend - just like pulling out a book or a movie you haven't touched in a long time and falling in love with it all over again. The series is definitely one of my favorite, and highly acclaimed."
So now the question you've been waiting for - which version does Travis prefer?
Though Travis enjoys both series, he likes BBC's more. "Although I like Sigourney Weaver, you just can’t beat David Attenborough in my mind," said Travis. "He is an educated naturalist who has worked in the field, not just an actor hired to read a script."
The 39-hour marathon kicks off at 6:00 a.m. tomorrow morning. "The Making of Planet Earth," a two-hour special that highlights the explorers and filmmakers that brought the series to life, will follow on Sunday, April 22 at 9pm/8c. (Fun fact: Our realtime department is captioning the special and our offline department will review, edit and format those captions for future broadcasts.)
Do you plan on watching the "Planet Earth" marathon? What is your favorite episode?
Senior Production Coordinator
Did you have a nickname when you were growing up?
Yes, Tarashea morphed into TaRoshea, then TaRoschk, Roschk, Roschkie, Roshkie-
Moe... my mom was very creative.
Were you involved in sports, music, drama or other extra-curricular activities?
I was in Honors Debate. It helped prepare me for a lifetime of arguing for the fun of it. What was your first job?
Sales Associate for the high-fashion retail store, Gabe's.
What is your fondest High School memory? All the Senior pranks... released 5,000 crickets, greased up a pig and sent it through the
halls, dumped fish in the stairwells. Such sweet memories.
What makes you laugh?
Anything involving cats!
What do you do to decompress?
I like to cook and practice Krav Maga.
If you had a super power, what would it be?
I would be a VITAC superhero if I had the power to communicate with VCRs and
determine what ails them.
VITAC is no stranger to accessibility features. Since being founded in 1986, our company has had one mission -- to provide high-quality and reliable accessibility services. Our name speaks to this goal. Coming from the words "vital" and "access," "VITAC" encompasses our commitment to the field. Our deep-rooted experience means you can always count on us to provide the services and support you need.
We're even involved in shaping accessibility policies. Tim Taylor, Bob Beyer and Heather York, all served as part of the FCC's Video Program Accessibility Advisory Committee (VPAAC). The Committee was tasked with developing recommendations on matters pertaining to IP Closed Captioning, Video Description, Access to Emergency Information and User Interface Accessibility. The group covered everything from the new IP closed captioning requirements to ensuring access to accessibility features on devices. The following video is a perfect example of accessibility features at work.
Tommy Edison, a blind film critic, has been blind his whole life. He demonstrates how iPhone's accessibility features help him navigate an array of applications on his phone. From Twitter to YouTube, Tommy isn't hindered by any glitches or obstacles.
Our realtime department is captioning the first-round of the NHL playoff games. That's 56 games in 15 days -- an average of 3 games a day, not including pre/post-game shows. All-in-all, VITAC is covering over 350 hours of NHL programming.
As with all live programming, VITAC uses a group effort to produce the captions that appear on your screen. For the NHL playoff games, the process is something like this:
Our clients -- NBC, Comcast, NHL, MSG, Root Sports, NESN, Sport South, FSNAZ, FSNMW and FSND -- contact our Client Sales and Services (CSS) team or production group with their schedules. This is anywhere from months to days to hours in advance of the event. The playoffs are under our realtime sports department's realm, so all game information is passed along to them. There, Sports Supervisors, Scott Harrington and Matt Schuman parse through the schedule and estimated runtimes and assign a realtime captioner to the game. To ensure consistent captions without breaks, one realtime captioner covers the entire game, with a standby on hand (just in case).
Meanwhile, our Production Supervisors assign Production Coordinators to each program to oversee the process. Before the game, Production Coordinators research the teams (such as the roster) to make sure unusual names are spelled correctly. With this information, the captioner writes all of the game dialogue -- only getting a short break during commercials. In the off chance something goes wrong, our Systems and Engineering team are on hand around the clock to help.
Based just south of Pittsburgh, VITAC's headquarters is always brimming with Pittsburgh news -- and jerseys. Throughout the building, VITACers are sporting their favorite Pens jerseys -- Chuck Karlovits is wearing Letang, Eric Hegerle is rocking Fleury (autographed, of course), and Tim Keane is sporting Malkin. We're not all Pens fans, though. Our remote captioners hail from over 34 different states, surely representing and cheering for teams from the entire league.
Regardless of which team you're rooting for, you can count on VITAC's captions to get you through the game.
The FCC's Report and Order (R&O) outlining closed captioning mandates for Internet Protocol (IP)-delivered programming was published in the Federal Register on March 30, 2012, thus setting the deadlines for captioning compliance. The new rules require IP-delivered programming to be captioned if it was originally captioned on television.
IP-delivered programming includes, but is not limited to, video displayed via YouTube, Hulu, Blu-ray players, smart phones, game consoles, set top boxes, Video on Demand, company websites, tablets, and personal computers.
The FCC has set the following deadlines for compliance.
September 30, 2012: Prerecorded programming that is not edited for Internet distribution;
March 30, 2013: Live and near-live programming that was recorded within 24 hours of broadcast on television;
September 30, 2013: Prerecorded programming that is edited for Internet distribution.
Older video programming, that is, "all programming that is already in the VPD's library before it is shown on television with captions" must be captioned by following deadlines:
March 30, 2014: Programming must be captioned within 45 days after the date it is shown on television with captions
March 30, 2015: Programming must be captioned within 30 days after the date it is shown on television with captions
March 30, 2016: Programming must be captioned within 15 days after the date it is shown on television with captions
Still confused by the new mandates? No worries! VITAC is here to help!
How would you describe your Seder this year? Realtime captioner Jacob and his wife have apparently sat through a few bad ones.
Jacob and his wife do most of the shooting and editing themselves. They film on an iPhone -- mostly in their living room -- record the music, and then Jacob does all of the editing. It is a lot of work.
How do Jacob and his wife have time to make music videos? "I mean, it's 20 minutes here and there, after the kids are asleep, when I'm between shows," says Jacob. "Basically, by neglecting other aspects of our lives. We do really enjoy it, though."
Check out their hilarious video -- captioned by VITAC of course.
Lifetime debuted its new series "The Client List" last night.
Based on the television film that aired in 2010, the series delivers the same steamy plot and, of course, Jennifer Love Hewitt.
While Samantha Horton (Jennifer Love Hewitt) practices a "talent" of her own, we have our own form of art here at VITAC.
The process includes transcribing, timing, placing, and reviewing the captions to make sure we're producing the high quality files for which we are known. We delivered the captions for the first episode on March 30 and we're working on the second and third episode now.
Tune in to Lifetime on Sundays at 10pm to see our artwork on "The Client."
Earlier this month, Discovery Communications announced several big changes for its networks. This is big news here at VITAC -- we exclusively caption all (15!) of their channels.
First, Green Planet, the network's environmentally-minded channel is being renamed "Destination America." The new channel will focus on the American identity and will be the first network to, "celebrate the people, places, and stories of the United States, emblazoned with the grit and tenacity, honesty and work ethic, humor and adventurousness that characterize our nation."
To that end, Destination America will include shows that capture the American spirit. Starting May 28, 2012 (yes, Memorial Day), you can catch "Fast Food Mania," "Super-Duper Thrill Rides," "United States of Food," "Cheating Las Vegas, " "Ghost Town Gold," and "BBQ Pitmasters" which is moving from TLC. While we could describe each of the new series, we think their titles speak for themselves.
Meanwhile, Investigation Discovery (I.D.) is going through its own transformation and is getting 12 new series added to its line-up -- a network record! In a few months, ID will premiere its new summer series "Evil Twins," "Redrum," and "Deadly Affairs." Throughout the year, look forward to suspenseful shows like "Frenemies: BFFs Gone Bad," "'Til Death Do Us Part," "Wives with Knives," "Pretty Bad Girls," "Cold Case," "Dangerous Persuasions," and "The Ex-Files."
Are you looking forward to the new shows? Our offline team can’t wait to start working on them!
VITAC's HR Manager Mark Panichella and Marketing Specialist Marie Hoffman are exhibiting at the WestPACS job fair in Monroeville, PA today.
We're hiring offline captioners to create closed captions for pre-recorded programming. VITAC captions can be seen coast to coast and internationally on all Discovery Networks (Discovery, TLC, Animal Planet, Military, OWN, Planet Green), and TBS, NBC and USA Networks (to name a few).
Captions benefit over 30 million Americans who are deaf or hard of hearing, help children learning to read and people learning English as a second language. All programming on televison today, with a few select exemptions, must be captioned.
Offline captioners are English, Communications or Journalism graduates who pass our proficiency tests (including typing, proofreading and usage) and are able to work specific shifts in our round-the-clock operation. Please contact email@example.com to learn more.