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Jan 27, 2017
Captions or Subtitles: A case of "You say tomahto I say tomayto"?
Did you know the terms "captions" and "subtitles" carry different meanings in the US and Canada but not around the world!

Captions or Subtitles: A case of "You say tomahto

fotolia 35480643Did you know that most of the world does not distinguishbetween the terms “captions” and “subtitles”? Except that is, in the United States and Canada, where these terms do carry different meanings:
 

Subtitles

In North America, "subtitles" are designed to help viewers who can hear but cannot understand the language or accent, or the speech is not entirely clear; "subtitles" only transcribe dialogue and some on-screen text.
 

Captions

"Captions" on the other hand, are designed for to the deaf and hard of hearing and describe all significant audio content —spoken dialogue and non-speech information such as the identity of speakers and, occasionally, their manner of speaking— along with any significant music or sound effects using words or symbols.
 

Same thing?

The United Kingdom, Ireland and many other countries use the term "subtitles" and there is often a single “subtitle” stream that serves the hard of hearing, deaf and foreign language communities. This may largely be due to the fact that in many parts of the world, many different languages are spoken, and content is often created for use across international boundaries. In which case, putting sufficient text on the screen for a foreign speaker to understand, and putting sufficient text on the screen for somebody who's hard of hearing to understand is pretty much the same thing.
 

Open or closed?

Captioning also comes in different flavors. "Open captioning" is typically used to describe something that's going to be “burned into the video” and will thus be on-screen and visible to all viewers. Whereas "closed captioning" is typically used to describe something that's carried as data, and will be put on the screen by the display or decoder at the discretion of the viewer. Closed captioning is also slightly different for TV compared to DVD and cinema.

So whether you say 'tomahto', or 'tomayto', when it comes to handling "captions", and "subtitles" in your file based workflows, the challenges (and solutions) are exactly the same!

 

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Dalet solutions and services are used around the world at hundreds of content producers and distributors, including public broadcasters (BBC, CBC, France TV, RAI, TV2 Denmark, RFI, Russia Today, RT Malaysia, SBS Australia, VOA), commercial networks and operators (Canal+, FOX, MBC Dubai, Mediacorp, Fox Sports Australia, Turner Asia, Mediaset, Orange, Charter Spectrum, Warner Bros, Sirius XM Radio), sporting organisations (National Rugby League, FIVB, Bundesliga) and government organisations (UK Parliament, NATO, United Nations, Veterans Affairs, NASA). Dalet is traded on the NYSE-EURONEXT stock exchange (Eurolist C): ISIN: FR0011026749, Bloomberg DLT:FP, Reuters: DALE.PA. Dalet® is a registered trademark of Dalet Digital Media Systems. All other products and trademarks mentioned herein belong to their respective owners.
The Recipe for Smart Captions with Dalet Media Cortex
Why caption? Why subtitle? Because a large chunk of your audience either needs or prefers to watch video reading text without sound. Subtitles and captions are an essential part of business for any media organization who wants to reach the widest possible audience, for a multitude of reasons: legal requirements, international distribution, accessibility.... Captions provide a textual representation of dialogue and other important audio for people with hearing loss. They also give the viewer additional information about the video, such as context for a news clip. Subtitles provide a translation of the dialogue, essential to reach international markets. So, we all agree captions and subtitles are key, but... creating them is hard. First, you need solid speech-to-text transcription so that the right words are created from the audio stream. As many of us who have been working with this technology for a while quickly learnt, this is not enough. There is the complicated business of correctly segmenting, laying the text out, punctuation, timing and so on, often creating much manual work for captioning and subtitling teams. What if you could be smart about captioning and subtitling? What if you had a technology solution that automates most of these editorial decisions applying artificial intelligence to the output of a good speech-to-text engine? Enter Dalet Media Cortex. Over the last few months, our teams have worked tirelessly to improve the quality of our Smart Captions, part of the Dalet Media Cortex Speech service, providing users with high-quality automatic captions and subtitles for their video content. If you are using the Dalet Media Cortex API, Smart Captions will be delivered to you in the form of SRT or TTML files. If you are using Dalet Media Cortex integrated with Dalet Galaxy five or the Ooyala Flex Media Platform, captions will also be displayed as timecoded locators so that users can search and navigate through subtitles and captions easily. What is so special about Smart Captions? We have developed algorithms based on speech density, natural language processing and speaker diarization (the process of partitioning an input audio stream into homogeneous segments according to the speaker identity) to generate captions and subtitles that are as close as possible to the BBC Subtitle Guidelines. This takes care of essential elements in captioning and subtitling: such as text that flows well and is synchronized with the speakers’ voice and cadence, lines that split at natural points based on sentence structure and text length that is properly adjusted to screen size. How does this help you? Beyond the improved quality of these AI-generated subtitles and captions, there are immediate and tangible benefits. You will see the time you spent in adjusting subtitles or captions cut in half, when compared to traditional speech-to-text based solutions. You don’t have an automatic captioning/subtitling system today? Good news: you will save over 80% of your time in generating quality captioning and subtitles for your video content. Besides, having great captions and subtitles will increase the value of your media, and bring you new business opportunities, such as expanding to new markets or increase your online and social media engagement. No doubt Smart Captions is one of the multiple differentiators that makes Dalet Media Cortex an "IBC Best of Show Award” winner. Want to know more? Get in touch with the Dalet team here!
ProSiebenSat.1 PULS 4 GmbH Brings Its Media Operation into the Future with Dalet
Dalet, a leading provider of solutions and services for broadcasters and content professionals, has signed a deal with Austrian private broadcaster group ProSiebenSat.1 PULS 4 to fully revamp their media operation with the agile Dalet Galaxy five Media Asset Management (MAM), Workflow Orchestration and Editorial platform. ProSiebenSat.1 PULS 4 is home to hits such as Austrian’s Next Top Model, iconic UEFA Europa League and international sports coverage such as National Football League and popular thematic news, talk and show programs. The Dalet Galaxy five installation will equip the well-known broadcaster with a state-of-the-art media production workflow that realigns production and delivery to optimize cross-functional team collaboration and multi-platform content output across its three channels PULS 4, ATV and ATV 2. ProSiebenSat.1 PULS 4 Broadcast System Engineers, Christoph Stadlhofer and Dirk Raschig comment on the vision for the leap forward and partnering with Dalet to better manage the news, sports, archives and program preparation workflows, “We have a rapidly growing pool of content that needs to be centralized and enriched with metadata. In addition, we need tools that enable our staff to easily search, prepare and distribute that content. Facilitating these needs combined with managing a much higher output of program and news content to our digital platforms is what we expect to accomplish with the move to Dalet Galaxy five.” Tobias Stößel, Project Manager of this Project at ProSiebenSat.1 PULS 4 continues, “The Dalet Galaxy five core media asset management and orchestration capabilities will free our users from many manual processes and technical duties that currently weigh them down. It will enable them to reach a higher level of collaboration, giving them more time to focus on the project at hand.” The full implementation of Dalet Galaxy five will allow ProSiebenSat.1 PULS 4 to build an end-to-end, cohesive digital content supply chain that unifies all operations and processes from the newsroom to program preparation to post-production to distribution and archives. Key components include: a centralized content catalogue (MAM) that houses enriched metadata for ProSiebenSat.1 PULS 4’s three channels; Dalet Webspace for browse, search and media management; Dalet Workflow Engine for the orchestration of operations and processes; the Dalet Brio I/O platform for centralized ingest management; and Dalet AmberFin scalable transcoding. The Dalet installation will facilitate seamless collaboration between all users including editors on Adobe® Premiere® Pro through Dalet Xtend and Avid® Pro Tools®. “Dalet Galaxy five will unify the infrastructure with an underlying component-based workflow that enables ProSiebenSat.1 PULS 4 to scale at will its content production and multi-platform delivery and thrive in an ever-changing media landscape,” comments Johann Zemmour, General Manager, EMEA and APAC, Dalet. “We look forward to working closely with ProSiebenSat.1 PULS 4 to revamp its infrastructure and deliver on the ambitious roadmap that will undoubtedly transform the way they produce and deliver their premium product to the delight of ProSiebenSat.1 PULS 4 audiences.” Philipp Beuchert, Head of Broadcast & Production Systems at ProSiebenSat.1 PULS 4 concludes on partnering with Dalet, “We are also looking into future technology and here, we think Dalet is one of the key players on the market. ProSiebenSat.1 PULS 4 is happy to improve the in-house technology together.” About Dalet Digital Media Systems Dalet solutions and services enable media organizations to create, manage and distribute content faster and more efficiently, fully maximizing the value of assets. Based on an agile foundation, Dalet offers rich collaborative tools empowering end-to-end workflows for news, sports, program preparation, post-production, archives and enterprise content management, radio, education, governments and institutions. Dalet platforms are scalable and modular. They offer targeted applications with key capabilities to address critical functions of small to large media operations - such as planning, workflow orchestration, ingest, cataloguing, editing, chat & notifications, transcoding, play out automation, multi-platform distribution and analytics. Dalet solutions and services are used around the world at hundreds of content producers and distributors, including public broadcasters (BBC, CBC, France TV, RAI, RFI, Russia Today, RT Malaysia, SBS Australia, VOA), commercial networks and operators (Canal+, FOX, MBC Dubai, Mediacorp, Mediaset, Orange, Charter Spectrum, Warner Bros, Sirius XM Radio) and government organisations (UK Parliament, NATO, United Nations, Veterans Affairs, NASA). Dalet is traded on the NYSE-EURONEXT stock exchange (Eurolist C): ISIN: FR0011026749, Bloomberg DLT:FP, Reuters: DALE.PA. Dalet® is a registered trademark of Dalet Digital Media Systems. All other products and trademarks mentioned herein belong to their respective owners. For more information on ProSiebenSat.1 PULS 4, visit http://www.prosiebensat1puls4.com.
The Future of Transcode
A long time ago in a time in a laboratory far, far away, a small team unpacked a shiny new server and ran their media software. Discovering that they could get standard definition video to decode and encode at almost real time, the transcode market was born. Thanks to Moore’s law and a little performance optimization, things progressed rapidly and, for a little over a decade, the bulk of the transcoding market was all about getting the codecs right. The rise of online services The rise of online services, the move from tape delivery to file delivery and an increased focus on efficiency and cost savings has changed the transcode landscape forever. We’ve moved from a focus on codecs to a focus on the industrial manufacture of deliverables to satisfy a media business. So what does that mean in practice, and what is the outlook for the future? As a long time, high quality transcoder manufacturer, we see a change in the way our customers are engaging with us and a change in the way the humble transcoder is viewed within the business. A decade ago, the transcoder was a necessary evil because different companies could not agree on common formats. The transcoder is now seen as a business tool for optimizing the content for different customers to maximize revenue. It is rare to see a “simple” transcode job nowadays. We often see jobs where bumpers are being added to the start and end of material, extra audio channels are being added and / or replaced. Captions are a BIG deal. The insertion / extraction and replacement of captions is increasingly an area where significant cost savings can be made. What mezzanine format should I use? A decade ago, the big decision for a media company was “What mezzanine format should I use?” The choices were limited to variants of MPEG2, DV or JPEG2000. Today that choice is still critical, but in addition to optimizing CPU usage, storage, network bandwidth and I/O loading, there is also the question of optimizing the versioning capability of the mezzanine. With captioning and versioning becoming a critical business function, it is worth considering what caption mezzanine should be used. In my opinion, the only viable choice is a TTML variant and that almost certainly means either an EBU-TT variant or an IMSC1 variant. Caption mezzanine workflows are pretty rare today, but continued downward pressure on pricing makes them inevitable. It’s worth remembering that a good choice of mezzanine can dramatically improve business efficiency and that workflow islands can use different mezzanines if there is no dependency on those mezzanine formats in upstream workflows. Upstream workflows may be tied to editing format mezzanines, but the distribution and archive portions of the business can improve flexibility by considering new formats like IMF as the mezzanine for future transcoding. It is gaining a lot of traction and there are definitely more companies attending “interoperability events” (such as the UK’s DPP events) than a couple of years ago. The future of transcoding If the future of transcoding is becoming more business oriented, then the transcoding engines themselves are migrating to have split personalities. There will always be the high speed calculation engine that optimizes the use of the underlying hardware. Anyone who has tried to encode High Dynamic Range UHDTV 120fps video on a 5-year-old laptop will have an intimate knowledge of a progress bar that moves like an aged tortoise through setting concrete. In addition to that engine will be a workflow controller of some kind where bespoke business logic can be quickly and easily implemented. This is key for the users of the transcoder to move quickly and efficiently and to harness the underlying power of the transcode engine. What is the future of transcoding? I think that it is very healthy and that the media conversion tool will be with us for a long time. The high power processing element of the transcoder will be hidden from view and the business functionality of optimizing media for consumption by businesses and consumers alike will be the way in which the humble transcoder is viewed. If you’re coming to SMPTE’s IMF interoperability event in Amsterdam, then I will see you there between my moderation duties. If not, then keep reading this blog for more news of good stuff from the Dalet Academy. Until next time. Bruce P.S. No tortoises were harmed in the writing of this blog. Go further with the Future Series - The Future of Ingest - The Future of Media Asset Management
5 Steps to familiarize yourself with AmberFin iCR API
Workflow automation remains a hot topic for our customers, some simply drop incoming files into a watchfolder and allow iCR to process the files to meet their output or delivery requirements in a transcode workflow, others drive iCR via VDCP to an ingestor tape playback workflow: However recently I have noticed an increase in requests of how to achieve a GUI function via the APIs more and more customers investigate the benefits of the Web Service with a view to either develop a standalone application to drive their workflow or for better integration with their MAM. This blog introduces a tool to allow familiarization with the API either as a stepping stone to full API integration or as a test platform for debugging problems with existing Web Service integration. Point a web browser at port 8080 on the iCR host, http://Machine Name:8080/, and you will be greeted with the iCR Web Service landing page detailing the available WSDLs, clicking on one of the three links will display that WSDL information in XML format. While this information will give you a better idea of the SOAP interface capabilities it will not allow you to start playing, for this you will need a SOAP client. I have tried various clients and my preferred is SOAPUI, a free tool available for download from the internet. Connecting the application to the iCR WSDLs allows you to familiarize yourself with the API, its capabilities and send instructions to iCR. Below are the steps required to connect the SOAPUI to iCR and get started… Step 1: Start by enabling Web Service mode in iCR, launch the GUI and ensure the ‘Web Service Control’ check box is enabled. Step 2: Next, install SOAPUI on a machine and point it to the WSDLs. Open the SOAPUI application and create a new Project. Step 3: Now populate your new project with the three WSDLs; http://hostname:8080/icr/ICRControl?WSDL http://hostname:8080/icr/Library?WSDL http://hostname:8080/icr/VTRControl?WSDL SOAPUI will extract information from the iCR WSDL and create a structure for each of the available API calls for that WSDL, these will be available in the left hand pane of the SOAPUI tool. Step 4: Next, add the remaining WSDLs to the project by right clicking the project in the left panel, clicking ‘Add WSDL’ and pasting in the address in the WSDL Location field before clicking OK. Step 5: SOAPUI now has full access to the iCR Web Service interface and is ready to start playing. Expanding the three WSDL groups displays all available API commands in basic form, I say basic form because some of the API calls require parameters to be passed, for example atranscode request requires input file, transcode template and conversion name, below is an example transcode request; <soapenv:Envelope xmlns:soapenv="http://schemas.xmlsoap.org/soap/envelope/" xmlns:con="http://snellwilcox.com/xmlbinding/icr/2007/04/control"> <soapenv:Header/> <soapenv:Body> <con:transcode> <arg0><![CDATA[ <ns2:transcodeparameters xmlns:ns2="http://www.amberfin.com/schema/TranscoderParameters"> <ns2:inputs> <ns2:input id="SOURCE"> <ns2:file name="D:\Input\Test_input.mxf"> </ns2:file> </ns2:input> </ns2:inputs> <ns2:segments style="in(inclusive),out(exclusive)"> <ns2:segment id="0"> <ns2:input>SOURCE</ns2:input> </ns2:segment> </ns2:segments> <ns2:output template="Proxy" conversion="H.264 Proxy"> </ns2:output> </ns2:transcodeparameters> </arg0> </con:transcode> </soapenv:Body> </soapenv:Envelope> Further API call examples are available on request, please contact us or raise a ticket with the support team giving an overview of your workflow and specifics of the Web Service request you would like an example of, we will endeavour to provide you with the details.
An IBC preview that won’t leave you dizzy
When we write these blog entries each week, we normally ensure we have a draft a few days in advance to make sure we have plenty of time to review, edit and make sure that the content is worth publishing. This entry was late, very late. This pre-IBC post has been hugely challenging to write for two reasons: Drone-mounted Moccachino machines are not on the agenda – but Bruce’s post last week definitely has me avoiding marketing “spin.” There are so many things I could talk about, it’s been a struggle to determine what to leave out. Earlier this year, at the NAB Show, we announced the combination of our Workflow Engine, including the Business Process Model & Notation (BPMN) 2.0-compliant workflow designer, and our Dalet AmberFin media processing platform. Now generally available in the AmberFin v11 release, we’ll be demonstrating how customers are using this system to design, automate and monitor their media transcode and QC workflows, in mission-critical multi-platform distribution operations. Talking of multi-platform distribution, our Dalet Galaxy media asset management now has the capability to publish directly to social media outlets such as Facebook and Twitter, while the new Media Packages feature simplifies the management of complex assets, enabling users to see all of the elements associated with a specific asset, such as different episodes, promos etc., visually mapped out in a clear and simple way. Making things simple is somewhat of a theme for Dalet at IBC this year. Making ingest really easy for Adobe Premiere users, the new Adobe Panel for Dalet Brio enables users to start, stop, monitor, quality check and ingest directly from the Adobe Premiere Pro interface with new recordings brought directly into the edit bin. We’ll also be demonstrating the newly redesigned chat and messaging module in Dalet Galaxy, Dalet WebSpace and the Dalet On-the-Go mobile application. The modern, and familiar, chat interface has support for persistent chats, group chats, messaging offline users and much more. Legislation and consolidation of workflows mean that captioning and subtitling are a common challenge for many facilities. We are directly addressing that challenge with a standards-based, cross-platform strategy for the handling of captioning workflows across Dalet Galaxy, Dalet Brio and Dalet AmberFin. With the ability to read and write standards-constrained TTML, caption and subtitle data is searchable and editable inside the Dalet Galaxy MAM, while Dalet Brio is able to capture caption- and subtitle-containing ancillary data packets to disk and play them back. Dalet AmberFin natively supports the extraction and insertion of subtitle and caption data to and from .SCC and .STL formats respectively, while tight integration with other vendors extends support for other vendors. There are so many other exciting new features I could talk about, but it’s probably best to see them for yourself live in Amsterdam. Of course, if you’re not going to the show, you can always get the latest by subscribing to the blog, or get in touch with your local representative to get more information. There, and I didn’t even mention buzzwords 4K and cloud… …yet!