Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Closed Captioning Still In The Dark Ages!

Why is Closed Captioning so difficult to do on television.
Or is it?

Watch any show on any night and the "CC" goes from the ridiculous to the hilarious. Spelling is atrocious and following the actors timing of speech is never even close.
When you think about it, they know the script on any tapped show, so how hard can it be for the networks to just type the copy in and time it to the scene?
Good God man, we can do so much in animation, special effects, sound effects, but give the networks the task of attaching copy to the visual, it just blows the mind what they do with it.

There are conservatively 30 million D/deaf or Hard of hearing in the United States, and 3 Million of us in Canada that fall into that category. I, like many of my cochlear wearing implanted mates, struggle with sound out of a man made speaker. My brain seems to translate better from lips to processor.

To many of you reading this, you may have never had occasion to care about the world of "CC". Perhaps you saw it once at the doctors office or in the gym where they use closed captioning so the sound need not be put on, and you possible never gave it a thought.
But in my world, and my fellow d/Deaf friends, implanted with a CI or not, the closed captioning is how we get the rest of the story.

There is no rhyme or reason to the madness of how the "cc' consistently fails. Re runs on the Fox network seem to be the worst for some bizarre reason. If I watch the new episode of the same show latter that night, they get it close to bang on. The script follows the lips more or less. Occasionally the speech is too fast, and the script falls behind, but for the most part it seems to work in "new" episodes.
The same station, latter or earlier, broadcasting a 4 or 5 year old rerun of the same comedy show, is so far off the mark, I have to turn off and walk away.
What is the reason for this?

I have emailed at least one broadcaster asking them if they have any idea of how "off" the mark they are on "CC".
No response.
Don't care, don't matter to hearing executives. Besides, how big a market can the deaf world be?

We are a friggin huge market good network and television executives.

Sit up, take note, and pay attention.




Tom Hannon said...

“Entertainment Tonight” has been nicknamed by me to “Irritation Tonight” cuz this program is THE absolute worst CC program my eyes have seen! Not that I care for the program in general, it just happens to be on my wife’s nightly TV list! How about watching a news report with the station banner, story title and reporter name on the bottom of the screen. Then they have a bar running on the right of the screen announcing what is coming up; then there is the tiny ticker running on the screen bottom with latest breaking news. Now put CC over all of it! Kill your television is a bumper sticker that comes to mind, in the meantime stop over here: http://captioningsucks.com/realscience/

~Tom : “If 6 was 9”

Anonymous said...

The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules on closed captioning currently require consumers to file their complaints, in writing, with TV program distributor first. The TV program distributor is the entity responsible for providing closed captions. The distributor may be a TV station (for people who watch free over-the-air TV with an antenna) or a subscription TV service (for people who watch TV provided by a cable, satellite, or phone company).

If you are not satisfied with the response from your TV program distributor, you can forward and file your complaint (along with any response you received from the TV program distributor) with the FCC.

The FCC has “tips” on filing closed captioning complaints at http://www.fcc.gov/cgb/dro/tips_on_filing_cc_complaint.html.

In the future, filing closed captioning complaints will be easier. The FCC is currently waiting for final approval to permit consumers to file closed captioning complaints directly with the FCC. When that happens, we will make that information available on our website at http://www.nad.org/issues/television-and-closed-captioning/filing-closed-captioning-complaints.

Thank you for your advocacy efforts.

Rosaline Crawford
Director, NAD Law and Advocacy Center

Dianrez said...

Appreciate the refresher on the complaint procedure. I'll bookmark it for future reference.

However, watching commercial-sponsored TV already has one strike against it: overproliferation of commercials reducing the quality of the TV time. Add a second strike: lousy captions and I DO walk away.

In my household TV watching is so minimal that our computers and DVD collections take up most of the couch potato time.

Annieofbluegables said...

I do understand the frustration. Plus, I wonder if any of you deaf people ever get to see the actors expressions on their faces of anything else but the words. When I am reading CC then I miss everything else. I like it best with a movie I have purchased or rented. I can watch it with CC the second time after I have enjoyed the gist of the story. Now this time I can enjoy the words and later I can quote from my favorites. But on TV? Idontthinkso

bobbie said...

If you want to see some hilarious captions, watch the Bollywood productions from India. They really have me laughing! You would think whoever is writing captions would learn some basic English.

Government Funded Blogger said...

Maybe slightly off topic: Friends of ours teenage daughter who liked to watch the Leaf games since she could lip read would laugh and say when the camera came on the coaches "his language is bad Dad"

I put CC on in the early morning while watching the toob so as not to wake the wife and you are right about the out of sync and misspellings.

Lori said...

I can only imagine how very frustrating this would all be. I am glad that you are speaking up about it!

Anonymous said...

I've watched CC when working out at the gym, and it drove me crazy because it was so awful! It was always lagging behind the CNN reporters and many words were misspelled. The topic would just trail off and then they'd start a new one to try to keep up. It was never caught up by commercial break. In today's world, I agree, this is just WRONG.

Kay Dennison said...

Argh!!!! Thanks for the eye-opener! Again, you have raised my awareness. I am concerned with any disability's challenges.