Closed Captioning Solutions for FCP

Discussion in 'Digital Video' started by asuqb1, Jun 29, 2009.

  1. asuqb1 macrumors newbie

    Aug 25, 2008
    I am working on a new project that will need Closed Captioning. I have to be able to turn the projects around in a day from ingest to output, so I am looking for a CC Solution that is as easy to use as possible.
  2. LethalWolfe macrumors G3


    Jan 11, 2002
    Los Angeles
    You can see if MacCaption will fit the bill, but there aren't any complete CC solutions that don't involved additional CC hardware.

  3. jettoblack macrumors member

    Nov 1, 2006
    Actually, MacCaption (and the PC version CaptionMaker by the same company) are the world's only pure software closed caption encoders, meaning they don't require additional CC hardware at all. MacCaption is definitely the best complete CC solution for Mac & Final Cut Pro users.

    There is other software out there, but they require an encoder which costs up to $10,000 and only works for tapes and live broadcast. MacCaption can take your same caption project and export it to HD, SD, any web format, DVD, blu-ray, podcasts, etc. with no additional effort and no generation loss.
  4. ChemiosMurphy macrumors 6502

    Sep 25, 2007
    Warminster, PA
  5. knello macrumors member


    Dec 2, 2004
    First of all: Do you need closed captioning or subtitles?

    Subtitles are easily done in DVD Studio Pro. Closed captions are more difficult, since they're sneakily embedded into an analog video screen and then decoded by the TV.

    If it's being distributed on DVD or web, subtitles are the way to go. Closed captioning is sensible ONLY for broadcast television.

    note: I haven't done closed captioning since the DTV transition, so I don't know how ATSC changes things in this regard.
  6. jettoblack macrumors member

    Nov 1, 2006
    Hi Knello,
    I work in the CC industry and disagree with some of your statements.

    First off, I strongly disagree that subtitles are "easy" in DVDSP. Have you ever tried actually subtitling a project in DVDSP? A two hour film with 3000+ subtitles (and I'm talking about only ONE language here)? The workflow there is terrible! It takes 20 hours to do in DVDSP what you can do in 20 minutes in MacCaption.

    And even if you spend 20 hours doing it in DVDSP, the subtitles are useless outside of DVDSP. If you want to put your project on the web, or broadcast, or a podcast, or Blu-ray... you have to re-do the subtitles or CC from scratch! In MacCaption, you do it once and then you can export to EVERY possible format (both CC and subtitles), and the workflow is much faster and easier. If you don't believe me, download the free MacCaption demo or watch the free video tutorials to see how it works.

    Strongly disagree here too. Ask any hearing impaired person (there are only 40 million of them in the US) and they will probably tell you they strongly prefer closed captions over subtitles.

    A little anecdote, but a month ago I was at a FCC meeting in Washington, DC that dealt with closed captions. One big company representative told the audience "Well, we do subtitles, which are just as good." The deaf and hearing impaired members of the meeting were FURIOUS that he said that! :mad: Most people have no idea how important (and emotional) the issue of CC vs. subtitles is to to the hearing impaired.

    YouTube, Flash, QuickTime, Windows Media, etc. all work better with closed captions than with subtitles. For example, on YouTube, closed captions can automatically be translated into other languages. How cool is that? :)
  7. knello macrumors member


    Dec 2, 2004
    I agree that doing it purely in DVDSP or Encore is a pain, and that's why I do it as a big table in Excel, then export that as a text file for import in DVDSP. The text file can be imported into other apps, with just a slight syntax revision.

    I haven't done a two hour film, but I've done a 30 minute documentary (with continuous narration) subtitled in English and Spanish.

    just sayin... :)
  8. asuqb1 thread starter macrumors newbie

    Aug 25, 2008
    Thanks for the tips

    I do need "Line 21" Closed Captioning. This project will be on Broadcast Television for a 12 week run this fall. Program length is 2 1/2 hours.

    For this project I may need to bite-the-bullet and use a Real-Time service due to short turn-around in post. We shoot on Friday evening and air on Sunday at 11:30 am.

    I will probably look a the software for later projects.

    Thanks again for commenting
  9. jettoblack macrumors member

    Nov 1, 2006
    Believe me, I have done it that way myself before I got MacCaption. It is literally more than an order of magnitude easier and faster than doing it by hand in Excel. Now, I can start-to-finish a 2-language 30 minute documentary in MacCaption in about 45 minutes (not including the time for the actual translation, of course).
  10. jettoblack macrumors member

    Nov 1, 2006
    That sounds like quite a challenge, asuqb1. :eek:

    How are you delivering this show for broadcast? Tape? Satellite feed?

    It may still be possible to keep this in-house and do it in software only, depending on how you deliver the show and how much editing is involved, also whether or not you have a script and how closely the actual content follows that script.

    Real-time (live) captioning with a stenographer is the traditional method, but the hardware and labor costs will be VERY high (an encoder w/modem costs $5k for SD or $10k for HD; plus $100-200 per HOUR for the stenographer).

    CPC's software even has a speech recognition option, with the limitation that it only handles 1 person's voice at a time, but you can use a voice captioner (someone who listens to the whole program on a headset and repeats everything that is being said in his/her own voice, thus getting acceptable accuracy from the speech recognition system). You still need the encoder and the software, but a voice captioner is a lot cheaper per hour than a stenographer.

    I suggest you contact CPC since they are the experts at all kinds of captioning workflows and can probably point you to some better options.
  11. pdpfilms macrumors 68020


    Jun 29, 2004
    What is the price for Maccaption HD, or any other version for that matter? Can't seem to find it anywhere, which worries me.
  12. jettoblack macrumors member

    Nov 1, 2006
    I'm not up-to-date with their latest prices. It isn't cheap, but definitely worth every penny. It saved me enough time and money on just one project to be worth it. If you need captioning then there certainly isn't anything cheaper out there, not to mention powerful and easy to use too.
  13. cdsky macrumors newbie

    Jul 8, 2009
    So if you don't have to buy MacCaption to get the black QuickTime 608 closed captions. Automatic Sync Technologies' CaptionSync offers it as a web-based service at ( for a pretty reasonable rate.

    -- disclaimer: I work for them
  14. justcaptioned macrumors newbie

    Feb 1, 2010
    JustCaptioned captions iTunes TV shows and movies

    Hello all. I am a fellow hard of hearing and have developed a software that will help hard of hearing and deaf watch movies/TV shows on their iPod and iPhones or even on their computer using iTunes.

    Before I move forward and lay capital out to start captioning all new releases, I need a survey filled out but hard of hearing and deaf persons ASAP to see if it is financially stable.

    Please visit the website below to fill out the survey:

    If not, please email me at "" so I have your name and email addresses to keep you posted on the new software and when the closed captions will be available.

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