Closed-captioning: live shows vs. taped

I tape some shows to FF past the commercials. If you miss some dialog, I can turn on CC. Recently I did this and noticed that ER is captioned as we would write: With a capitalized first word of a sentence, and lower case characters for the rest.

Survivor Amazon was different. I turned it on to try and see exactly what god JoAnna said she worshiped… Anyway besides the fact that S.A. appears to have a captioner working with it in real-time (mistakes, delays in the captioning) I noticed that the captions are in all upper-case letters. Is this an indication that the captioning is done in real-time?

Not necessarily, lots of filmed shows seem to be closed captioned all in caps, when they clearly had all the time they needed.

My favorite real-time captioning was during the 2000 Presidential Election, I was watching with my mother (who needs the closed caption) and we saw they were discussing “George W. Bush, the Republic canned bait.”

Most shows used to be as followed: THIS IS THE CLOSED CAPTIONING FOR A SHOW

But now, they are more often like this: This is the Closed Captioning for a show.

It’s not an indication of if the cc was done live or from a tape.

But, there are differences. In a live show (like the Oscars or Grammys), the closed captioning will show one line, scroll up to show another line, then scroll up again–three lines in total, I think. Plus errors are more common and the cc may or may not sync up correctly.

In a taped show, it will be one line flashing, then the next line, in sync with the dialogue (most of the time).

*follows, sorry.

A couple of the funnier close-caption typos I’ve seen recently:
“It’s the mother load!”
“Got any tie sticks?” (drug reference)

I have heard that closed captioners don’t actually use a normal keyboard, instead they use one with phonetic keys. They use these to construct words phonetically. While faster than keying in QWERTY, it can result in words that simply cannot be constructed properly. Anyone know if this is true?

Not all captioners use a special keyboard (a stenograph machine) but it is necessary with live captioning. On a qwerty keyboard, you cannot keep up with the spoken word. A good typist does, what, 90 wpm? On a stenograph machine, it is possible to do over 200 wpm. A stenograph machine is what court reporters use to transcribe court proceedings.

I did offline captioning with a regular keyboard.

Now, stenography is an amazing thing, with its own language and yes, a keypad very different than a computer keyboard. I don’t think that I’ll be able to accurately label it here (I think the message board program may move some of this) but this is the general outline:

[number bar]

The asterisk is in the middle, and the letters listed above are underneath one another (S is both top and bottom key on the left, the T is above the K, the P is above the W, the H is above the R, the A and O keys are under the HR and asterisk.) The F is above the R, the P is above the B and so forth.

You’ll notice the entire alphabet is not present on either side. That is because key combinations produce different letters. Hitting “PW” on the left means “b”. “TPH” means “n”. And on the right, hitting “FP” creates the “ch” sound.

In stenography, words are written left to right, and it may take more than one “stroke” to get a whole word out. Like the word stenograph itself is “STEN/GRAF”. On the keypad, that’s S-T-E-P-B
(st on the left, e in the middle, pb on the right makes an “n”) and then from the left again, TKPW makes a “g”-R-A-F.

There are a lot of “briefs” and “outlines” that cut down on a person’s typing time. Hitting T on the left and S on the right at the same time makes “It is”. Or, this gem: STURN. That means “State your name.”

All words can be constructed properly with a stenograph machine.

Okay, my father has done steno for courts for 30 years.

Live closed captioning = stenographers. There is software that can spit out most of the steno by understanding the phoenetics.

After a court reporter/stenographer keys everything in, in a modern stenomachine, the software puts it into text automatically. In daily use after the work day, the stenographer edits alot of similar sounding phrases and words (phonetically similar) into good text…all ‘after work’. Things like deer/dear, or ‘canidate and canned baited’.

When doing something live, errors will pop up when some phonetics are spit out as words by thr stenographers software. If they had a chance to edit the text and make good notes of it, you’d never see the errors. But ‘live’, you are seeing the un-editted software driven text based on the phonetics of the stenographer as he/she enters the live speech into the steno machine.

Mark Burneet, producer of Survivor, is very secretive/paranoid. He doesn’t want anyone to know who got kicked off ahead of time. So they presumably choose to do real-time captioning to eliminate the chance of one of the captioners leaking the treasured info.

First, there are many companies that do captioning & they all use their own methods. Its possible to do them in mix case & even in red or purple (they used to do that for commericals sometimes).

It all depends on the captioner. It also depends on the captioning chip in the tv or decoder as someone them won’t accept new types of captioning format so they show all caps.

The second example most likely comes from WGBH in Boston (the first and oldest closed-captioners), WHO CAPTIONED IN THE NORMAL WAY UNTIL 2000 OR SO, when they changed for some reason. This is actually a good way to date the various programs they’ve captioned-captions with mixed-case and yellow sponsor credits are newer than large-case captions with yellow sponsor credits, which are newer than large-case captions with white sponsor captions.

" WGBH in Boston (the first and oldest closed-captioners)"

I think you mean the National Captioning Institute, this is run by the usa, which explains why they don’t caption XXX flicks, although they may caption nc-17.

Despite the name, the NCI is not government-run. Also, WGBH began captioning Julia Child shows in 1972. The NCI wasn’t founded until seven years later.

“WGBH began captioning Julia Child shows in 1972. The NCI wasn’t founded until seven years later.”

Wow, thats interesting. I know I got a caption box as soon as they came out, A telecaptionI, but I got it from the national captioning institute. I wonder what they used before that?