How to create Closed Captions using TimedText

Closed caption works like subtitling explained in How to use TimedText for subtitling, but difference is that you are required to indicate sounds and music in the back- or foreground with square brackets. You use the TimedText format for this, which is quite easy to do.

For the full explanation how this works, follow the article on How to use TimedText for subtitling. Here I show you the fundamental difference between subtitles and Closed Captions. To start with, Closed Captions (CC) are not shown automatically, while subtitles are. The reason is that CC only need to show up for the hearing impaired and they activate it by clicking on the CC button, which is either located in the Dock Area or the control bar.

controlbar

dockarea

The sample below shows in bold the sound events. The rest is exactly the same as regular subtitling. Subtitles and closed captions work on audios as well, provided you set the height big enough so that they show in the dock area. The closed captions technique is ideal for radio plays while subtitles are good for spoken text or music with voicing.

<tt xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2006/10/ttaf1">
<body>
<div xml:id="captions">
<p begin="00:02" end="00:03">That's very good</p>
<p begin="00:08" end="00:09.2">Wel, that is very nice.</p>
<p begin="00:09.3" end="00:10.5">No, it isn't.</p>
<p begin="00:17" end="00:017.5">[big sigh]</p>
<p begin="00:18" end="00:19">How is it going, Data?</p>
<p begin="00:20.5" end="00:21">I have finished.</p>
<p begin="00:22" end="00:25">The dimensions are accurate to within one point three percent.</p>
<p begin="00:25.2" end="00:27">I am sure they are...</p>
<p begin="00:28" end="00:31">Data,you obviously don't have a problem with realism...</p>
<p begin="00:32" end="00:34.5">but, you are here to work on your imagination.</p>
<p begin="00:35" end="00:37">Maybe, you should try to something little more...</p>
<p begin="00:37.2" end="00:38">abstract?</p>
<p begin="00:39" end="00:45">[slightly tense violin-like music in the background]</p>
<p begin="00:46" end="00:46.8">It's a start...</p>
<p begin="00:49" end="00:37">[Tense violin-like music in the background]</p>
<p begin="00:58.5" end="00:59">[inhales quickly]</p>
<p begin="01:02.5" end="01:03">[Sliding door]</p>
<p begin="01:03" end="01:03.5">[inhales sharply]</p>
<p begin="01:05.5" end="01:06">Deck thirty-six</p>
<p begin="01:09" end="01:09.5">[Small Yelp]</p>
<p begin="01:10" end="01:11">[Intensified string Music]</p>
<p begin="01:11.5" end="01:12">[Deep sigh of relief]</p>
<p begin="01:13.2" end="01:14">Hello, Data!</p>
<p begin="01:17" end="01:18">[Eerie music]</p>
<p begin="01:18" end="01:19">What are you doing?</p>
<p begin="01:19.8" end="01:20.2">No!!!</p>
<p begin="01:20.8" end="01:21.5">[slashing sound] No!!!</p>
<p begin="01:26" end="01:27">[Door slides open - Soft music in background]</p>
<p begin="01:28" end="01:29">Honey?</p>
<p begin="01:30" end="01:30.6">I'm home!</p>
</div>
</body>
</tt>

Trigger a mental picture

You can see here that every sound apart from speech is described in a more or less visual way. This helps the hearing impaired to trigger a visual picture in their mind to compensate for the lack of sound. The better you describe a sound (without making long sentences), the better the mental picture will be.

Reasons to use Closed Captions

We tend to forget about the hearing impaired while they are a large group of people, often cut off from society. One day, you might be one of them when you grow older. Yet, Closed Captions can be useful too if nothing is wrong with your hearing, namely when you have no sound on your computer! So, you might want to take this into consideration. It is not a lot of extra work and you'll feel a lot better helping everyone to appreciate fully what you show. Apart from that, you tap into a society that otherwise would not get your information. Thus, you create a big gap between you and your competition!

And this is the result:

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