All You Need To Know About Closed Captioning

People are often getting confused in referring to the captions and subtitles. They are two different things that have different purposes and functions for a video or movie. A caption is a written dialog that also transcribes sound exactly the same as the sound and dialog being spoken. They’re used to help those with hearing disabilities understand what’s being said in a program. Meanwhile, a subtitle is a translation of dialog from the original language to a specific target language.

Closed captioning was originally designed to make TV programming accessible to the deaf and hard of hearing. But today, they’ve become increasingly important for anyone watching videos online, especially those videos recording real events that often have poor audio quality.

Closed captions aren’t just for people with hearing impairments. They’re also helpful for those who are learning English since they allow them to follow along without having to listen to every word. And sometimes, they’re even fun. The National Caption Coalition describes closed captions as “a public good.”

The National Caption Coalition describes closed captioning as "a public good."

The history behind closed captions

In July 2000, the FCC mandated sections of industry-specific standards into its broadcast regulations. One such standard, EIA-708-A, “Digital Closed Captioning Implementation,” requires closed captioning for all digital broadcasts. This includes cable, satellite, IPTV, over-the-air broadcasters, and others.

EIA-708-B specifies how closed captioning should work in terms of the physical characteristics of the display device, the type of encoding method, and the way the data is presented. The standard describes three different types of closed captioning: text only, audio description, and video description.

Text only refers to a single stream of information containing both the spoken dialogue and any accompanying sound effects. Audio description uses a separate channel of data to convey additional information about what is happening onscreen. Video description is similar to the audio description except it contains visual elements like movement, facial expressions, etc.

How does closed captioning work?

Closed captioning is a technology used in the United States to make hearing-impaired people aware of what is being said on TV. It works by adding text to the audio track of a broadcast, either during the vertical blanking interval (VBI) or just prior to it depending on how the broadcaster chooses to encode the information. This allows people who cannot hear well to see what is being said on screen, even though the image itself is silent.

The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) defines closed captioning as “the addition of descriptive words to a visual presentation to assist those who are deaf or hard of hearing.” There are three different kinds of closed captioning: Teletext, VTT, and CCITT. Teletext is a system developed in the 1960s to allow blind and visually impaired individuals access to printed material.

VTT stands for Video Text Track, and it is defined as “a digital description of a moving picture or sound recording that is synchronized with the associated media.” Finally, CCITT refers to the International Telegraph & Telephone Consultative Committee, which is an international organization that establishes standards for telecommunications equipment.

What are the closed captioning requirements?

The Federal Communication Commission recently updated the rules regarding closed captioning. These changes apply to both broadcast and cable networks. They require that all English and Spanish audio programming that airs on television with captions also be captioned when posted online.

Additionally, the video program must also be captioned if it’s “substantially similar.” This includes live or near-live programs, user-generated content that is similar to professional production, and archival or public domain content.

The 21st Century Communications and Television Accessibility Act also requires any newly created or edited programming must be captioned when posted on the Internet. If there is no captioning option, the video must include a text description of what is being viewed.

All prerecorded video programming that airs on television without captions must be captioned when offered online unless an exemption applies.

Closed captions vs. open captions

Closed captions are captions generally used when absolutely necessary, as it limits viewer choice. Closed captioning is also optional since users can turn this function on or off just like in Youtube videos or other online content. Meanwhile, the open caption is preset and cannot be turned off. This kind of caption is often used in TV shows or programs.

The most common types of closed captioning are CC1 and CC2, though there are others. These are the standard formats for closed captioning, and they’re designed to work with both analog and digital televisions. They’re also known as “CCTV,” short for closed caption television.

Subtitles, on the other hand, are often referred to as SAGA, short for subtitling audiovisual media. This term is sometimes used interchangeably with closed captioning, however. Subtitles are usually found on DVD releases and Blu-ray discs, but you’ll find them on many online videos as well.

There are different levels of closed captioning, ranging from Level I to Level IV. Level I is the least complicated; it includes just the basic dialogue. Level II adds additional descriptions like names of people and places, and level III adds even more detail. Level IV is the highest form of closed captioning, including everything from facial expressions to special effects.

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