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New FCC Captioning Rules for Internet Videos


Starting September 30, all pre-recorded video that has been “substantially edited” for the Internet must be captioned if it was shown on television with captions. Jason Livingston, project manager and developer at CPC, states: “Unlike broadcast video, where every station transmits the same ATSC spec and every consumer TV set can display the closed captions carried in ATSC video, the Web is like the ‘Wild Wild West’ of video formats.”

In late July, Livingston conducted a Webcast updating closed-captioning regulations. The organization’s SMPTE Timed Text [PDF] (SMPTE 2052) format attempts to unite the countless formats for captioning. SMPTE Timed Text can be the captioning format for all Web video delivery systems or playback devices. Livingston notes, “One of the things that makes captioning workflows difficult is that caption data is fragile and can be lost at any step in the process—content creation, editing, transcoding, distribution, hosting, and online delivery. For captioning to work end-to-end, not only do all of these tools have to support closed captioning, but they all have to be mutually compatible in terms of how they work with captioning.”

To read the whole interview, click here.