Thursday, March 27, 2008

Thanks to Bill Creswell for your captioning work!

I complained a few days ago about "Good Morning America" not captioning its story about Marlee Matlin on "Dancing with the Stars" and kids from schools for the deaf in dance programs. ABC didn't come through, but I thought I would tell you about Bill Creswell's blog, which is "captioning the Internet one video at a time."

His blog has an open letter to the TV networks and movie studios challenging them to do what's right and caption their online videos. As he questions them: "How hard is it to make your video sites captioned? You have all the data already - scripts, teleprompters, cc from TV - It’s already there. CC in Flash is not hard, and there are several people producing video players with CC capability built in."

And Creswell reminds them of all the audiences they are losing by not captioning online videos:
- deaf and hard of hearing people
- people at work who can’t turn the sound up
- people without the ability to have sound on their computers
- people who just don’t clearly understand what’s being said.

Back in June 2007, TelevisionWeek wrote an excellent article about how the digital revolution has meant less accessible content for people who need captioning because the mandates that require captioning for broadcast aren't applied to the Internet. "The major broadcast networks have launched state-of-the-art online video players -- that do not include captions," the article said. "Apple has revolutionized TV viewing by making shows available for download on iTunes -- without captions. The television industry is spending billions to deliver spectacular high-definition signals -- but viewing captions on HD programming is a Byzantine process that has frustrated many viewers."

TelevisionWeek even followed up this important story with an editorial explaining, "more than 23 million viewers in the U.S. are being excluded from the future of television in which viewers can watch whatever they want, wherever and whenever they want. We urge the industry to do what's right and devote whatever resources are necessary to provide closed captioning for all the material they are distributing over developing digital media."

Back to Bill Creswell, who is truly doing his part for Equal Communication Access. He's doing what the TV networks won't take time to do, and here's the captioned version of the "Good Morning America" story from his blog.

Bill even takes requests, so if you see something online that you'd like captioned, contact him on his requests page.