Our offline department captions over 57,000 prerecorded programs per year for countless networks, independent producers, and web series. With so many different proper names, terms, and places, our offline captioners have their plates full with keeping track of it all.
For example, we’ve received several inquiries from the dedicated fan base of the long-running series, Supernatural. VITAC has captioned the show since its first episode, and it’s hard to believe season 11 is airing this Fall! One of the characters’ names on the show is Castiel. The issue arises when other characters call him by his nickname. Is it spelled “Cas,” or “Cass“? While there are entire websites dedicated to this issue, how do we know it’s spelled “Cass,” and to caption it that way?
The answer is our VITAC treatment sheets! For every program, no matter how short, long, or how big or small the client, each show gets its own personal spelling confirmation sheet.
When a program is captioned for the first time, the captioner assigned to the show builds the treatment sheet, confirming every unique name, place, and term. The sheet is then utilized throughout the life of the series to guarantee consistency.
This may require some extensive research by the offline captioners. However, because not every bit of information for some of these shows is listed on the web, it’s ideal when our customers send us lists of proper names, places and unique terms, or even entire scripts of the program. In this case, that’s how we’re sure of how we spell Castiel’s nickname on Supernatural!
Sending along this type of preparation material is also a part of the FCC Caption Quality Best Practices for Video Programmers, as they are to… “To the extent available, provide captioning vendors with advance access to preparation materials such as show scripts, lists of proper names (people and places), and song lyrics used in the program, as well as to any dress rehearsal or rundown that is available and relevant.” This also applies for realtime captioning.
VITAC is committed to providing quality captions. Our offline department goes the extra mile to make sure captions are accurate and that everyone has the same viewing experience, whether they’re watching the programs with captions or not.