February CCAC Captioning Advocacy Projects (CAPS)

by L. E. Storck, Executive Editor and CCAC Founder

As in issue one, we dive into the very active CCAC Membership Forum online and create this public summary of many sorts of grass-roots captioning advocacy done by CCAC members. We organize the activity among ten CCAC “categories of everyday life.” Feedback is welcome.

  1. Telecommunications and Internet Captioning
  • A CCAC provider member captions music video online in response to CCAC consumer member request. CART provider is teaching (self) new skills, using online resource called Universal Subtitles. See the CCAC website for more DIY tools: https://sites.google.com/site/ccacgroup/articles-resources/tools-for-diy-captioning
  • DVD subtitling discussed
  • Live subtitling and Re-speaking conference summarized for membership, with related commentary about “live” (re-spoken) and “blocked” captioning on television (for pre-recorded programming).
  • CCAC active advocate in D.C. alerts membership to lack of captioning mandate for much new programming coming online and more soon, e.g. new programs not created for television.
  • CNN lawsuit in CA discussed in membership, social media, etc. CCAC sends letter to CA advocates, expressing thanks.
  • CCAC member initiates “audio only online” captioning advocacy (audio presentations, streaming live events, etc.)
  • Example from Ireland of conference audio streaming live online is noted – well done!
  • Concern about “deaf” videos online without captioning for all.
  • Major international business (technology giant) has ability to offer 24 hours of online training for a product, with live captioning announced in . languages. How to harness this richness for so many who need equal communication access everyday online for other good reasons? .
  • Here’s a small sample of what many CCAC members do every week: asking for, or saying thanks, to people who include quality captioning! See http://www.nbcbayarea.com/video/#!/news/local/Mozzeria–Captioned-/139931033  . We message and applaud the reporter, whom we are told, did the OC here himself, or had it done quickly. It’s large across the screen, yet very nice to be included. Hooray for access.
  • New CCAC member introduces idea of captioning (live realtime quality speech to text) for google plus hangouts. Developing discussion among membership internationally….
  • Live streaming (e.g. ustream) of events of national interest – membership collaborated to advocate for captioning inclusion via emails, telephone, and letters to producers and broadcasters who send replies such as “not our responsibility). Continuing advocacy, thanks to CCAC member interest and action….
  • Copyright Concerns of All:

CCAC advocates are concerned about how to best provide quality captioning where none exists now. For online materials, so many and blooming so rapidly, when creators of online content do not include quality captioning, we aim to educate all about the need, and CCAC volunteers also offer free captioning at times (very limited, or mission is to advocate, not to provide free services except when it educates and allows others to start the ball rolling). Copyright is a major developing world story, keep tuned, yet meanwhile, here’s a suggestion from one CCAC member about YouTube videos:

Generally most YouTube videos are okay for sharing and reposting depending on the copyright used. Right now, there are two copyright options and most use the standard license so that option should be fine to copy the original video for your own website/use (just remember to give them credit), and that you are not making money from your efforts to make the video accessible.

 If it has a restricted license, find a way to reach out to the owner, and ask for captions to be added (or you can provide this for them) and/or ask for permission to repost it. Also, (most) music videos may trigger a copyright issue that YouTube now flags and prevents posting until some verification can be done.

 It’s possible to download a video – the easiest way to do this is using a plug-in that allows you to download Youtube/Flash videos. The browser used may make a difference (for author o this, a browser other than Internet Explorer works best). Once you have that video, you can post it on your account with the SRT/Captions file.”

There is also more information on the CCAC website: https://sites.google.com/site/ccacgroup/articles-resources/tools-for-diy-captioning

  1. Education
  • CCAC members in t he Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP) remind all about 2 March – a most important day – for Read Captions Across America – for literacy, for all, see http://readcaptionsacrossamerica.org/ and here’s a special summary for the CCAC, by a CCAC member working with DCMP:

Literacy, Good Reading, and Inclusion: The DCMP annually conducts a campaign called “Read Captions Across  America (RCAA), which is designed to encourage  the use of captioned media in the nation’s schools.

This activity is an annual partnership with the National Education Association’s (NEA) “Read Across America” ( http://www.nea.org/grants/886.htm ), which kicks off on March 2, the birthday of Dr. Seuss.

The NEA event is the nation’s largest reading celebration, focusing attention on motivating children to read in addition to their mastering basic skills. DCMP promotes the fact that captions act as an instant reading incentive and literacy tool. Teachers and parents should visit theDCMP website for loads of ideas to help in event planning. Available, again, is a free RCAA Event Kit (http://readcaptionsacrossamerica.org/downloads.html#orderKit ) consisting of posters, bookmarks, certificates, and a special DVD containing six Dr. Seuss described and captioned titles. DCMP reports that the campaign is off to a great start, as orders for RCAA event materials are coming in from across the country.

From LS, Editor: So many parents notice how captioning on TV enhances reading skills. So many new language learners appreciate captioning on television – once they know about it! Online captioning is vital also since telecommunications are now part of everyday life. Turn on the captions and show others the way.

  • Captioning educational videos online in discussions, e.g., a new blog by a Pennsylvania company, a new presentation in Ireland, more.
  • Education or Internet – take your pick! CCAC consumer members continue to advocate with AARP for captioning inclusion on webinars. Newest information is that, thanks to CCAC advocacy in earlier months, many now have captioning online! (Check it out, tell us if you see it.) If so, congrats and thanks to AARP!
  1. Employment
  • CCAC member asked for CART for upcoming technology conference for further professional training for many – granted!
  • CCAC welcomes readers’ news of captioning and CART inclusion at work – please email us soon. New advocacy needed? Tell us more.

MANAGEMENT MINUTE:

Understand important needs for captioning and CART at work, not being met now in too many places. See what your company can do to collaborate with others – a training video for new salespersons? CART provided for weekly work conference? Remote captioning for conference calls? Make it happen, your company will get a gold star from the CCAC. Be sure to tell us about it, ask us questions, and we’ll record it. Look over the summary of CCAC CAPS in this issue and find the gaps = opportunities!

  1. Government
  • This article by a well-known New York Times person prompted a CCAC response – published – highlighting the importance of captioning online for many reasons. See: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/06/opinion/steal-this-column.html?ref=global-home
  • 911 text messaging for emergencies – updates distributed for USA; good videos for Europe discussed – 112 for “Total Conversation” for emergency response for voice, video and text, latter in development not only for emergencies, but for all communications (access for all).
  • CCAC learned about New Zealand deaf member of Parliament, fighting for equal access, so important. Governments in all countries missing so much talent without more captioning provided (and CART) for interested and qualified representatives. (New Zealand link here: http://www.3news.co.nz/Deaf-MP-warns-of-dangerous-precedent/tabid/160).
  1. Healthcare
  • It’s healthy! This is both health and entertainment, and worth noting. A UK health insurance company is paying for theater captioning. Good for them! Other countries? To be inspired, read this: http://www.westfieldhealth.com/news/stories/article130.aspx. 
  • Do tell us about captioning and CART inclusion in any health care, medical or related settings. Care about advocacy? Tell us more soon.
  1. Entertainment
  • Television, Cinema, Internet Programs all discussed – new advocacy for online financial news, for cinema in several countries, etc.
  • CCAC consumer member in England announces “palantyped” gig, here: http://sohotheatre.com/whats-on/afp/*
  • Here’s what we like to see, accomplished by CCAC member advocate with many teams involved. And to all at Seven Venues Theater, Norfolk, Virginia, thanks from the CCAC: Open Captioning is available for this performance, one among many shows now captioned at this theater.“
  • Utah CAN and Open Captioned Cinema event – to be repeated! Huge success (see related article in this issue).
  • NYC consumer advocate contacted major area theater to request captioning inclusion, and also educate, advocate, for others. CCAC discussion and we hope to hear more from the Brooklyn Academy of Music soon!
  • Captioned Cinema Technology Report from Australia: Behind-the-scenes for the CCAC by Ally Woodford, Project Manager, Media Access Australia:

There’s no doubt cinema is one of the most popular entertainment pastimes available to the majority of the world’s population. And when changes to cinema technologies take place, it generates considerable interest worldwide. As the cinema project manager at Media Access Australia*, I’m running the race to keep up with the changes, specifically as the world’s cinema circuits move to what is known as Digital Cinema. It’s bye bye 35mm film reels and hello DCPs, or Digital Cinema Packages in their full name.

In trying to find out what the move means for captioned movies, I was lucky enough to head to Hong Kong last December to attend CineAsia, Asia’s premiere movie convention and tradeshow.

Before I tell you about CineAsia, let me provide some background on the situation Down Under. In mid-2010 the Federal Government and our four major cinema chains signed an agreement to roll out closed captioned and audio described (video described) screens at all locations nationally. This plan, called the Cinema Access Implementation Plan is now 14 months into its four-year rollout. The Plan loosely runs parallel with the cinemas’ move to Digital Cinema, where the use of DCPs allows a little more flexibility in providing access.

So far Australia has rolled out closed captions at over 70 screens over 40 locations. With these rolling installations comes an escalation in questions around existing technologies, developing technologies, and operational issues post installation, like, “Why can’t we watch open captions anymore?” “Can I book captioned movie tickets online?” “Why don’t closed captioned movies play on every screen in my local cinema complex?” 

In trying to find the answers to these questions, CineAsia was my best bet to catch the manufacturers in the same place at the same time… and sample some amazing Peking Duck.  

 CCAC looks forward to the day when cinema is accessible for all. We were surprised that (a) a google search for a photo of captioned cinema (subtitled, movies) was not easily found, and (b) when found, it was for movies on the Internet!

If you haven’t already read the resulting report it’s downloadable on Media Access Australia’s website. In brief, the report looks at: how digital cinema and access works, including how movies are encoded; which digital server/technology combinations work together; the general consensus amongst manufacturers that existing access technologies meet the needs of industry and consumers; and that beyond existing technologies there are no known technologies in development around the delivery of captions (or audio description) at the time of print.

It’s early days in the report’s release but feedback so far is around the value of having one document encompassing all the technologies and presenting just the technological facts. In Australia the document will assist the Accessible Cinema Advisory Group, convened by the cinemas together with consumer groups, government bodies and Media Access Australia, in ensuring an informed continued rollout of accessible locations. The report serves international markets as well, as many technologies are universal, as are the issues cinemas face in moving to Digital Cinema.

*Media Access Australia is an independent not-for-profit organization devoted to increasing access to media for people with disabilities, see . www.mediaaccess.org.au

  1. Sports – see January issue; send us your Sports captioning inclusion news. And now, drum roll please:

There’s a lot of interest in scoreboard captioning. NAD “kicked it off” with the case against Washington Redskins. In Oregon, the OR-CAP (John Waldo’s group) “advanced the ball” (thanks John for the great metaphors) when the University of Oregon agreed to scoreboard captioning for football and also basketball. One of the OR-CAP team spoke about (from John Waldo)…”how much more enjoyable she found the football game when she could understand what the public-address announcer was saying. That prompted the assistant athletic director to say that as loud as the football stadium is, he found himself looking at the captions…..it’s part of the whole experience.” Also, “it’s …really important for another reason. It is a highly visible accommodation. The more people see what accessibility looks like, the more receptive they are likely to be. Moreover …for…a lot of people whose hearing is normal — or at least who think their hearing is normal — will find that they like and use the captioning as well.”

For more about John and the his CAP, see http://www.hearinglosslaw.com/ . John is a member of the CCAC from early days, with thanks for his participation.

Sports captioning is shown above, in a photo from New York area. It’s found on the screen above the advertisement.

  1. Community (Clubs, Religious Institutions)
  • CCAC consumer member, active advocate, publishes new blog about captioning in places of worship. Reminder: CCAC members earlier created listing of places of worship that include speech-to-text (CART) and readers invited to update and view on CCAC website.
  • CCAC provider member contacted by Laugh Fest, a ten-day charity festival mid March, in Michigan. Provider is donating services or this good cause. Kudos!
  1. Transportation – any news for us? New advocacy for your taxi ride? Train? Bus? Ferry? Plane!
  2. Courts, Justice – send us your news, your interest in captioning inclusion!

 

CCAC Action for CCAC Itself

The CCAC community is very active! We are grateful for all volunteer energies doing all of above, and more, and also to those helping behind the scenes to keep track of membership, manage the members’ forum online, complete other required administrative chores, website things and more!

The special launch issue of this newsletter went out to thousands in February. Good feedback! More sponsors are invited!

CCAC welcomed many new members, both consumers and providers, during February, as usual. We also look forward to sharing a report in the next issue from the first international meeting for the CCAC in London, UK in March.

If you want to show support for the CCAC, please consider placing your message with the CCAC soon (e-mail ccacaptioning@gmail.com for the media kit now). Individuals are also welcome to become a sponsor!

We have begun to shape a new website. Sending first thanks to the generous donation of website hosting from Sustainable Websites: http://www.sustainablewebsites.com/

That’s a wrap for February CCAC CAPS! Whew – that’s in February only among CCAC member discussions! March is shaping up to be even more active if we can keep up with it. Please get involved soon – more of you are welcome and needed. We really look forward to hearing from you! .

Reminder: Visit our Sponsors who contribute to the continuation of the CCAC project!

Become a sponsor yourself, your company, your community!

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