The Closed Captioning Handbook

It’s safe to say [The Closed Captioning Handbook] will be a “biblical” tome for captioning—this book will always be referenced by those in the captioning industry in the years to come. The industry owes it to Gary Robson.

—Philip Bravin,
former Chairman, Gallaudet University Board of Trustees

The Closed Captioning Handbook is a detailed guide to closed captioning technology for engineers and other broadcast professionals, released in April of 2004 from Focal Press (an imprint of Elsevier). It is now published by Routledge, who released a hardback edition in 2016.

The book contains detailed coverage of captioning technology for engineers, up-to-date analysis of captioning law, a comprehensive glossary, an annotated history of captioning, and much more. The Closed Captioning Handbook covers everything you need to know about closed captioning, including digital television, DVD subtitling, Web site accessibility, and troubleshooting for both consumer and professional captioning equipment.

The Closed Captioning Handbook gives you what you need to:

  • Understand and comply with captioning laws, including the Telecommunications Act and Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act
  • Purchase, understand and use captioning equipment
  • Select and hire captioning professionals
  • Use captioning for broadcast TV, digital TV, DVD, movie theaters, Internet, streaming media and more
  • Design standards-compliant captioning software
  • Understand the terminology of captioning, broadcasting and deafness

Whether you’re a station manager, a video engineer, a realtime captioner, a video or caption editor, or a consumer, there’s something in this book for you.

ISBN 9780240805610 (Trade Paperback)
2004 Focal Press (an imprint of Elsevier)
403 pages
(Also available in hardback)

Mr. Robson knows whereof he speaks, as he is a recognized and published authority in the field of captioning. … “The Closed Captioning Handbook” is a must-read for anyone wanting to learn about captioning and its uses in broadcast and digital television, on DVD, in movie theaters, or anyplace else.

—Bill Stark
Get paperback or hardback from your local indie bookstore
Get paperback or hardback from Amazon.com
Visit the book’s Goodreads page

Table of Contents

FOREWORD BY PHILIP W. BRAVIN
PREFACE AND ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
INTRODUCTION
• Conventions Used in This Book
• A Note on Sample Code
CHAPTER 1: WHY CLOSED CAPTIONING?
• Defining Terminology
• An Overview of Line 21 Closed Captioning
• Captioning Symbols and Logos
CHAPTER 2: A BRIEF HISTORY OF CAPTIONING
CHAPTER 3: CAPTIONING STYLES AND CONVENTIONS
• Measuring Quality
• Mixed-Case vs. All Uppercase
• Verbatim vs. Edited Captions
• Conventions in Caption Presentation
CHAPTER 4: CAPTIONING LAW
• The Americans with Disabilities Act
• The Television Decoder Circuitry Act
• The Telecommunications Act of 1996
• Emergency Captioning
• Rehabilitation Act of 1998, Section 508
• Captioning Complaints
CHAPTER 5: CONSUMER CAPTIONING EQUIPMENT
• Connecting Equipment
• Captions on Consumer Televisions
• Making Captions Work with VCRs
• Making Captions Work with DVD Players
• Caption Readers and Decoders for Computers
CHAPTER 6: TROUBLESHOOTING
• Consumer Troubleshooting
• Broadcast Troubleshooting
CHAPTER 7: LINE 21 TECHNICAL DETAILS
• The Line 21 Waveform
• The Line 21 Character Set
• Text Attributes
• Caption Display Area
• Preamble Address Codes (PACs)
• Decoder Memories and Caption Styles
• Roll-Up Captioning
• Pop-On Captioning
• Paint-On Captioning
• Text Mode
CHAPTER 8: ENCODING EQUIPMENT
• Encoder Modes
• Open Captioning and Character Generators
• Encoder Form Factors
• Encoder Interfaces
• DTV Encoders (Servers) and Transcoders
• XDS Encoders
• Caption Bridges and Relocation
• Handling Multiple Lines and Fields
• Software Encoding
CHAPTER 9: DECODING EQUIPMENT
• Consumer vs. Broadcast Decoders
• Decoder Chips
• Data Recovery Decoders
CHAPTER 10: ONLINE CAPTIONING OVERVIEW
• Working with Scripts
• Autofeed
• “Typed Realtime”
• Stock Captions
• Online Captioning Software
CHAPTER 11: REALTIME STENOCAPTIONING
• Stenotype Theory
• Fingerspelling
• Writing Numbers
• Punctuation and Speaker Identification
• Control and Editing Strokes
• Conflict Resolution
• Automatic Conflict Resolution
• Obscenities in Captioning
• Stenotype Keyboards
• Translation Dictionaries
• Bloopers
CHAPTER 12: REALTIME VOICE WRITING
• Why Voice Writing?
• Voice Writing vs. Stenocaptioning
• The Training Process
• Punctuation and Speaker Identification
• Speech Recognition Engines
• History of Voice Writing
CHAPTER 13: OFFLINE AND NONLINEAR CAPTIONING
• Linear vs. Nonlinear
• System Configurations
• File Manipulation
• Editing
• Validation
CHAPTER 14: CAPTION PLACEMENT STRATEGIES
• Placement Objectives
• Dealing with Air-Time Graphics and Crawls
• Historical Considerations
• Nonbroadcast Options
CHAPTER 15: CAPTION TIMING
• Timing Objectives
• Timecodes
• Concerns at the Start
• Assigning Timecodes to Captions
• Timing Multiple Caption Streams
• Asynchronous Data
CHAPTER 16: DTV CAPTIONING
• Bandwidth
• DTVCC Caption Windows
• Character Formatting in DTVCC
• DTVCC Layering Model
• Legacy Captioning
CHAPTER 17: CAPTIONING ON DVDS
• DVD Subtitles
• Line 21 on a DVD
• Ripping and Fansubs
CHAPTER 18: OTHER LINE 21 DATA
• ITV Links
• XDS Data
• V-Chip
• Content Filters
CHAPTER 19: CAPTIONS IN INTERNET STREAMING & COMPUTER MEDIA
• A Historical Perspective
• Captions in Today’s Media Players
• SAMI
• SMIL
• Software Tools
• Captioning Live Streaming Video
• Proprietary Streaming Systems
CHAPTER 20: DESIGNING ACCESSIBLE WEB SITES
• Fundamentals of Accessibility
• Images
• Video
• Audio
• Macromedia Flash
• Embedded Programming
• Is Attractive Layout Incompatible with Accessibility?
CHAPTER 21: MOVIE THEATER CAPTIONING
• Open Captions
• Dedicated Caption Signs
• Rear Window Captioning
• Bounce-Back System
• Personal Captioning Systems
CHAPTER 22: CART & LIVE EVENT CAPTIONING
• CART Display Options
• CART Interaction
• CART vs. Sign Language
• CART vs. Electronic Note Taking
• Live Event Captioning
CHAPTER 23: VIDEO DESCRIPTION FOR THE BLIND
• Guidelines for Producing Audio Description
• Audio Description Icons
• Legal Mandates
• Key Companies and Organizations
CHAPTER 24: LANGUAGE ISSUES IN LINE 21
• Character Sets
APPENDIX 1: CAPTIONING EQUIPMENT VENDORS
• Hardware Vendors
• Software Vendors
APPENDIX 2: CAPTIONING SERVICE PROVIDERS
• United States
• Australia
• Canada
• Germany
• New Zealand
• Spain
• United Kingdom
• Venezuela
APPENDIX 3: CAPTIONING RESOURCES ONLINE
• General Closed Captioning Information
• Captioning Products and Services
• Broadcasting Associations and Standards Bodies
• Deafness
• Disabilities Rights and ADA
• Stenocaptioning and CART
• Voice Writing and Speech Recognition
• Related Government Sites
• Audio Description
APPENDIX 4: STANDARDS DOCUMENTS
GLOSSARY
INDEX

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