Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Close Captioning and Videos

Close Captioning, YouTube and Videos

I have been experimenting in the last couple days with close captioning and a video I created for a DNP course. 

I was able to check out the flip cam from the CAT lab and record my video on location (on campus) and easily download the .mp4 onto my computer. Our video was 7 minutes long. The next step was to decide where to post the video and figure out how I might get this close captioned for accessibility. 

My first option was to post the video on Kaltura, however, it would not be close captioned there. I could include a transcript with the video as opposed to close captioning, and that would be acceptable. But I thought I'd take this as an opportunity to experiment a bit.

I had heard a little while back that YouTube offered free closed-captioning, so I wanted to see how that worked and how accurate it was. I actually started with TeacherTube instead of YouTube because I made an assumption that TeacherTube was owned and run by the folks at YouTube. I eventually discovered that wasn't the case. I like TeacherTube over YouTube in that it is focused on education and you won't find unsavory distractions like you do on YouTube. I uploaded the video initially to TeacherTube and found that there was a limit of 100MB and my 7 minute mp4 was more than that. I also found that I had to convert the mp4 to .flv. I did that using Adobe Media Encoder. It also compressed the file down to just under 100MB. 
So then I uploaded the .flv to TeacherTube and was disappointed that it would take a 24 hour turnaround to get posted. I guess it is an approval process for 'safe' content. 24 hours later I checked my video and noticed there was no closed captioning and I didn't see any buttons or mention for it. I have to admit this surprised me. This is where I realized that just because YouTube offered the CC doesn't automatically mean that TeacherTube would. 

So my next stop was to upload the video to YouTube. To my delight, they would accept my original .mp4 and it only took about 20 minutes to upload. Once it was there, I saw the button for CC and poked around. I found that I had to click a button (as owner of the video) to generate the CC. I downloaded the .sbv file. I'm not sure what .sbv is but I was able to open it in Word. Then I proceeded to check the accuracy of the CC with the video. Gadzooks it was awful! It was quite inaccurate to the point where in some places actually obscene and comical. And I had pretty good audio in my video. There is a disclaimer on YouTube regarding the CC that is an experimental process. I'd say! 
However, one redeeming factor of this comical .sbv file is that it does lay it out with the timing of the the words and the video. So as you go through to correct it you can then save and reupload your .sbv file and it will resync back up and flow beautifully. 
It took me roughly about 2 hours for the 7 minute video to edit, correct and set up the CC. Now the video is fully accessible and looks great! 

One more bit of information regarding privacy and YouTube. When I posted the video I choose to make it unlisted. This sets it up so it is not open to the public but anyone who has the link can view it. I plan on actually embedding the video onto the course page anyway, so students won't even be distracted by the other garbage on YouTube that may appear as recommended videos along the side bar.

Please take a look at our video and let me know what you think. I am quite proud of the result and Lynn and Cris were great to work with.

In conclusion, I would just reiterate how important it is to make all our content accessible. Whether you have close captioning or transcripts; whether you do it yourself or pay someone to do it, please plan on making arrangements for accessibility! Contact us in Learning Technologies for assistance or advice, we are here to help.