The way in which programmes for television are made has changed dramatically over the past decade, with broadcasters needing to include a range of ancillary data in order to address the needs of the widest possible web of viewers. It is not just a simple case of turning to subtitling in order to appeal to the hard of hearing. There is also a need to offer services that ensure television remains a necessary part of modern life, moving it beyond the traditional role of entertainment provider.
There is no doubt that captioning software has been one of the most significant developments in modern broadcasting, as broadcasters seek to meet the challenges from the international aspect of the industry, for example. The trading of television programmes and coverage of international sport has created the need for caption extraction and reinsertion at a rate of near immediacy. Meanwhile, digital teletext is the latest generation of the long serving text service, but must now offer a greater range of functions to keep the public interested.
Captioning is not as difficult and time consuming a process as it once was, with software that has effectively simplified the tasks of caption creation, insertion and transmission. These can now be done almost simultaneously, with interfaces that complete the task so quickly they have been described as quicker than real time in their operation. It means that whole management systems can be overseen easily.
Of course, television broadcasters have an option on the extent of their captioning service, with either transcoded or uber captioning on offer. Transcoded provides the no frills option that is most prevalent, with words appearing in clear print on the screen, while the uber captioning process involves greater artistic creativity, such as font types and effects.
Multi language captioning has also provided something of a headache in the past, but modern software has made the process much easier and faster, with integration between various file and video formats making it possible to extract and reinstert captions from a range of formats. It is now also possible to complete processing directly on the video server.
Perhaps, the biggest challenge for any software is its ability to serve the demands of caption insertion on near to air or even live broadcast situations, where captions need to be created, encoded and transmitted within minutes or even seconds of the event itself. Obviously, the difficulty here has always been the pressure of time, and the risk of frustration for viewers caused by captions that are out of sync with the images.
However, the whole process is now far simpler with software that allows broadcasters themselves to easily create and insert inhouse. The quality and efficiency of the interface itself, through which captions are applied, is designed to give users greater confidence to accomplish the challenges. Meanwhile, the ability of the latest software to draw from an archive of captions also helps to produce captions quicker.
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