FCC Caption Quality Best Practices: In Effect Monday, March 16, 2015


Monday is the big day!

Caption Quality Best Practices are effective Monday, March 16th! Here’s how we’re working with our customers to ensure the four pillars of caption quality are met:


Realtime: We’re working with our clients so they can provide us with preparation material including scripts, lists of important names and terms, song lyrics, and rundowns of live programming to the extent available. Our realtime captioner utilizes these resources to prepare for shows ahead of time. This way, nothing catches them off guard when the show is airing in real time.

Offline: To ensure our offline captioners can achieve captions as verbatim as possible, we’re working with our customers to let them know they can send us a script of their program if it is possible. This is especially helpful if the show features a cast with heavy accents or regional dialects that include terms unfamiliar to most viewers.


Realtime: We’re working with our customers to make sure they’re sending us quality audio and video via IP, satellite and POTs lines to make sure our captioners are receiving the best quality audio and video. If they’re not struggling to understand what is being said, they’re more likely to caption quicker.

Offline: We’re working to ensure our customers send us the final video, sweetened and as it will be sent to the network, so that our captions will match exactly as it will be seen on TV.


Realtime: If we can receive a detailed rundown and schedule, we will know exactly when a program will end, and ensure we end at the same time. This is especially important for shows which don’t run according to a normal clock. For example, NBC’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” begins at 11:35 PM. The show is scheduled for an hour, but usually ends around 12:37 AM. “Tonight Show” rundowns time out each segment so our staff knows when exactly the show should end.

Offline: Again, final video! If we have the final video as it will air, the full show will be captioned!


Realtime: We’re working with our customers to be sure that any lower third graphics are not covered, and any adjustments are not covering foreheads or other graphics. This includes ensuring scoreboards during sporting events are not blocked by captions.

Offline: We’re bumping captions out of the way of on-screen graphics and subtitles, so everything can be seen and experienced by our viewers.

If you happen to notice captions that don’t seem to be in compliance with the new best practices, send an email to marketing@vitac.com with your concerns and we’ll work with you to resolve any issues!

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