WGBH Creates Tool For Captioning Flash Media

WGBH Creates Tool For Captioning Flash Media

Editor: The folks at WGBH have long been on the forefront of creating tools to enable captioning of new media formats. That trend continues with their new tools to simplify captioning of Flash media. Here’s their press release.

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WGBH Access Division Creates “CC for Flash” to Simplify Captioning for Adobe Flash Technology

Accessibility and Search Enhanced by Free Tool; Easy-to-Embed Flash- Based-Media Player also Available

Use of Adobe(r) Flash(r) technology to add dynamic and engaging video content to Web sites is growing exponentially. With WGBH’s new solution, developers are able to more easily add captions in Flash. Now, millions of users who are deaf or hard of hearing are better able to experience Web-based video in Flash and search engines are able to capitalize on captions as search metadata for SWF content.

WGBH, Boston’s public broadcaster and a decades-long pioneer in developing access solutions to media for audiences with disabilities has created a component for Flash, CC for Flash, that can be authored into any SWF file for playback in Adobe Flash Player. The component is easy to use, and freely available from the NCAM Web site at http://ncam.wgbh.org/webaccess/ccforflash.

Funding for development of CC for Flash was provided by a grant to WGBH’s Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) from the NEC Foundation of America, with additional support provided by Yahoo!

CC for Flash: The Details

• Uses external files produced in the W3C’s Distribution Format Exchange Profile (DFXP) of the Timed-Text Authoring Format.

• Imports existing formats such as Apple QuickTime’s QTtext, with support for Microsoft’s SAMI format soon to follow.

• Exposes many of its internal functions through ActionScriptTM language so that the author can control and customize many of the features.

• Can play back caption metadata that has been embedded in the video by tools such as Captionate.

• Can be linked to any video playback components in Flash or directly to Netstream objects in the SWF of the FLV file.

• Allows the author to set the caption display box coordinates and default text attributes, like background color, text foreground color, font face and size, opacity, etc., at authoring time. At playback time, any text attributes that are explicitly defined in the external caption file will override the defaults.

• Captions can be added after the video content in Flash is posted, allowing for flexibility across production and distribution environments.

• Allows captions to be searched.

• Comes with an optional player, ccPlayer for Flash, which allows those unfamiliar with Flash programming to embed video content in Flash into a Web page with minimal effort.

• Is compatible with Flash MX2004 (7) and 8 authoring packages.

A Best Friend for CC for Flash: MAGpie

MAGpie, NCAM’s free do-it-yourself captioning and description application allows developers to create captions once, and then to output those captions in multiple formats, including QuickTime, Windows Media, and Real.

NCAM has now added the W3C’s new timed-text format, the Distribution Format Exchange Profile (DFXP), to MAGpie’s caption export options. MAGpie version 2.0.2 is the only tool available today for authoring DFXP caption files. With MAGpie and CC for Flash, it’s now easier than ever to provide captions for Flash Player compatible video content.

WGBH’s Media Access Group can also provide Flash caption authoring services for long-form content not easily handled by MAGpie, and for producers who would rather outsource their captioning work. WGBH’s Media Access Group, since 1972 the leader in providing captioning and description to the broadcast, film, educational and online media worlds, is now the first organization that can provide DFXP captions for Flash presentations.

About NCAM and WGBH

The Carl and Ruth Shapiro Family National Center for Accessible Media at WGBH is a research, development and advocacy entity that works to make existing and emerging technologies accessible to all audiences. NCAM is part of the Media Access Group at WGBH, which also includes The Caption Center (est. 1972), and Descriptive Video Service(r) (est. 1990). For more information, visit access. wgbh.org.

WGBH Boston is America’s preeminent public broadcasting producer, the source of fully one-third of PBS’s prime-time lineup, along with some of public television’s best-known lifestyle shows and children’s programs and many public radio favorites. WGBH is the number one producer of Web sites on pbs.org, one of the most trafficked dot-org Web sites in the world. For more information, visit www.wgbh.org.

Adobe, ActionScript and Flash are either trademarks or registered trademarks of Adobe Systems Incorporated in the United States and/or other countries.