Hearing Impaired Captions?

Discussion in 'iPod' started by Boneflower, Dec 19, 2005.

  1. Boneflower macrumors newbie

    Dec 19, 2005

    I know this may seem an odd question for most, but I recently started downloading some TV show episodes of Battlestar Galactica that I missed from the first season off iTunes.

    I am deaf, and to my dismay, I could not find any options for captions associated with the video or the iTunes player.

    Please, can someone help me with this? Am I missing something? Is there anything I can do to access the caption data in the episode, or is it not even there in these versions?


    Thanks for any info at all...

  2. Chef Medeski macrumors 6502a

    Chef Medeski

    Jun 14, 2005
    New York, NY
    I guess they weren't anticipating this since the videos are made for iPods and well.... iPods aren't really the most useful for deaf people.
  3. darwen macrumors 6502a


    Apr 12, 2005
    California, US

    I am sorry, this reply is kinda funny. A nice way of saying that people who can't hear have little use for an mp3 player.

    As for your question, I do not believe that there are any sub titles available for the videos on itunes. I don't know where they would have stored the text as there is only one video track. DVD's have a separate line that can be turned on and off so subtitles are possible but these videos really cant do that. Maybe there is an application that can be found on the internet that types what it hears onto the screen.
  4. PlaceofDis macrumors Core

    Jan 6, 2004
    i would contact iTunes support about the issue. they would probably be of more help than us really.
  5. Anonymous Freak macrumors 603

    Anonymous Freak

    Dec 12, 2002
    Possible, but not enabled...

    Short: It is possible to embed overlay tracks for subtitles (like DVDs do,) or to overlay pure text, into a QuickTime file. But, the downloaded files from iTMS do not have such a track. You'd have to ask Apple to change their files to provide it. (And they probably wouldn't replace or refund you, you'd probably have to buy the new subtitled versions.)

    Long: QuickTime files can have many 'tracks' to them. One is usually video. One is usually audio. There can be 'metadata' tracks that include things like 'hot spots' you can click on to go to a website, go to a different file, etc. (Mostly used in the 3d files,) they can also include extra audio or video tracks, or even text overlays. My purchased episode of 'Lost' has just a Sound Track and a Video Track.

    So it is POSSIBLE to include such things in a QuickTime file. It's just that Apple DOESN'T include them in purchased videos. It may be an Apple decision, it may be a studio decision. No way to know without having Apple comment on it. As it stands, though, they would be DVD-style, not 'Closed Captioned' style. (Closed Captioning encodes the text into the analog video stream itself, which generally doesn't survive digitizing, and which wouldn't be there yet if taken from an already digital form. Whereas DVDs put the text really as a 'picture' of the words that is shown on top of the video.)

    If they did include a subtitle track, they'd then have to add an easy way to view it from within iTunes. Right now, iTunes video-playback is very limited. It's definitely something to request, though. I had never thought about it. I'll go fill out a 'feature request' for it, too.
  6. Joedy macrumors member

    Dec 27, 2006
    Actually, I know that it just doesn't occur to hearing people, but iPods with video are the perfect medium for podcasting in ASL (American Sign Language), a language impossible to record in written form.

    Captioning in iTunes should be required by law, but Apple has always set the standards for accommodating users with impairments. In fact, Apple stores will hire a deaf interpreter for deaf customers who are interested in learning more about Apple products with a few days notice.

    I am very impressed at this, but at the same time I am confused as to why iTunes doesn't offer this same level of accomodation?

  7. Anonymous Freak macrumors 603

    Anonymous Freak

    Dec 12, 2002
    It's not impossible to record in written form. I'm doing it right now!

    (Yeah, I know, ASL has different structure and grammar than written English, it was a joke.)
  8. Joedy macrumors member

    Dec 27, 2006
    There are actually several distinctions of "deaf".

    I consider myself "Hard of Hearing" which is a deaf way of saying that I have some form of useable hearing, but more importantly that my native language is English.

    And then there are the "Deaf" as considered by the general deaf community as being native users of American Sign Language.

    There are also different forms of visual communication systems that use some form of "signing" such as signed English (also known as Pidgen) and Cued Speech.

    However the distinction, captioning is a requirement for all of these groups. Has anyone ever tried to "lipread" a Centurion Cylon on Battlestar Galactica or a Muppet on Seasame Street?

    Everyone (including Steve Jobs) should watch an award-winning foreign film with absolutely no sound at least one time in their life. The frustration and aggravation will be indicative of the trials that Deaf users experience on a daily basis.

    What would happen if the spoken tracks were excluded from iTunes movie purchases? Would anyone purchase a second iTunes movie if this were the case?

    There is no reason why captioning is not included with iTunes purchases, irrespective of any technical difficulties that Apple might experience.

  9. Joedy macrumors member

    Dec 27, 2006
    By the way, I used Handbrake to encode an iTunes compatible movie and set the subtitles to "hard code" onto the movie. Once this is done, the subtitles cannot be removed or turned off in iTunes when the movie is playing, but it still demonstrates that some form of deaf-assistive captioning is indeed possible using iTunes and 5G iPods.

  10. mrgreen4242 macrumors 601


    Feb 10, 2004
    I'd ask Apple for a refund. I'm sure they'd oblige as it's a pretty reasonable assumption that there'd be a caption for these (I mean, the original broadcast almost assuredly had one and the DVD version of the same media also likely does/will) and suggest that they make it clear they don't include captioning on the purchase pages until they start offering it (which I also agree they should do).

    On the more lofty discussion, I'm not a fan of the government telling a private company what they have to do, at least for a luxury product like a TV download/iPod. I think Apple SHOULD do it, but simply for the reason that they would get more sales and it'd be good for them as a company, fulfilling an obligation to their shareholders as well as doing something "good". It shouldn't be a difficult thing for them to do, especially since the bulk of the work is already done (someone already typed up and timed out the syncing of the closed captioning for TV shows).

    Also, just to head off the impending question, I do agree that broadcast stations should have to have closed captioning as they are using an asset that is owned by all citizens of the US (the broadcast spectrum) including those who require those captions. So, as a part of the price to use this publicly owned asset they need to make a good faith effort to accommodate as many citizens as possible.

    Onto a related, but not overly so, topic, I have been messing with ripping the audio out of TV shows to listen to on my iPod, without the accompanying video. Can't do it for shows that you haven't watched yet, but if it's your second or third time through that same episode I've actually found it quite enjoyable and I often catch things that I missed or think about things in a new way. (Eg, hear a joke that I missed, consider another meaning of words that I hadn't before, etc).

    Well, best of wishes to the OP and other people who benefit from a change like this. In fact, I'll drop a suggestion to Apple through the iTMS that they offer this service as soon as possible and for the entire back catalog of material, where possible.
  11. Joedy macrumors member

    Dec 27, 2006
    I just noticed that iTunes 7.4 and some of the TV settings on the new iPods now have a captioning option!

    Finally, the deaf and hard-of-hearing can utilize the video features of the iPods now!

  12. BennyK macrumors 6502

    Sep 14, 2004
    Appleton, WI
  13. Cameront9 macrumors 6502a


    Aug 6, 2006
    I Too am hearing impaired and the announcement that captions are in 7.4 is the most important thing for me. However, i don't have any video that has captioning in it. :( Can someone post if previously downloaded videos have captioning? has Apple indicated anywhere on a video's download page if it has captioning?

    I am ready to give Apple my money for TV shows if I knew for sure that some were captioned...
  14. pjac macrumors regular

    Jun 20, 2007
  15. Anonymous Freak macrumors 603

    Anonymous Freak

    Dec 12, 2002
    None of the videos I downloaded before the announcement of the new CC-capable iPods have CC tracks. I've only downloaded two videos since then, both season premiers, so they were added to the iTunes Store after the release of the CC-capable iPods. Neither one has CC.

    It is possible to include CC in a rip from a DVD using the software "Handbrake" (See an earlier post.) But it hard-codes the CC track onto the video, so the CC is always visible. (May not be preferred if you share your video files (computer, iPod, :apple:tv, etc,) with someone who doesn't always like CC to be on.)

    I have yet to try to encode a video with a "real" CC track to see what happens in iTunes, and I don't own one of the new iPods, so I couldn't test it on one of them anyway.
  16. Shorties macrumors 6502a

    Jul 22, 2007
    Southern California
    Yeah soon, but they aren't in the files yet.

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