Saturday, November 16, 2013

How to Extract a QT Text Track from a Video and Import It into MovieCaptioner

A reader had a movie with a QuickTime Text track and wanted to be able to use those captions for other caption formats. To do this you will need QuickTime Pro, a $30 upgrade to the QuickTime 7 Player from Apple. Start by opening your captioned movie in QuickTime Pro, then go to the Movie Properties window (under the Window menu). Select the Text Track, then click the Extract button... select the text track then click the Extract button This will open the Text Track as a new movie. Now go to the File menu and select Export. Use the pulldown menu to select Text to Text, give the file a name and click Save... select the text track then click the Extract button This will create a QT Text file which you can import into MovieCaptioner. importing as QT Text Now open MovieCaptioner, load your movie and save your project. Then go to the Import menu and select "QT Text". Once the text and timecode are loaded you can export as any format you see under the Export menu.

You can download a free 14-day, fully functional demo of MovieCaptioner and try it for yourself and see why so many are turning to this software for their captioning needs.

Security settings for Windows Media Player

How to Import CAP Caption Files into MovieCaptioner

A reader recently asked if there was a way to import CAP files into MovieCaptioner. MovieCaptioner currently does not import CAP files directly, but there is a way, thanks to YouTube. As you may know, YouTube can import and display captions. What you may not know is that CAP files (with the .cap file extension) are one of the formats YouTube can accept. YouTube can also accept SRT (what MovieCaptioner uses for the YouTube caption export), SUB, SBV, and MPsub files. So, all you need to do is upload a movie to YouTube or use a movie you already have up there. It does not matter if it's the same movie that the CAP file goes to or how long the movie is. After you have a movie on YouTube, go to YouTube's Video Manager, check the box next to the video you want to edit, and use the pulldown menu next to your video to select Captions. select your movie then choose captions from the pulldown menu This will take you to a new screen where you will choose your caption file to upload. Just click the Add New Track button and find your CAP file on your computer. After you upload the CAP file, click the new box that appears (English in the example below)... click the Add New Track button to add your caption file You will see your captions listed along with the timecode that goes with them. Now click the Actions button... click the Actions button and select .SRT from the menu under the Download section. This will download a converted SRT file to your computer. select SRT under the download section Now you can import this SRT file into MovieCaptioner by going to MovieCaptioner's Import menu and selecting Subrip SRT. import the SRT file into MovieCaptioner You can download a free 14-day, fully functional demo of MovieCaptioner and try it for yourself and see why so many are turning to this software for their captioning needs.
Security settings for Windows Media Player

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Adding Captions to Windows Media Movies Using Microsoft Expresssion Encoder 4

There are three different ways of adding captions to Windows Media movies: SAMI captions, Windows Media Encoder 9 (using WMP Text captions), and Microsoft Expression Encoder 4 (using SRT captions).
Microsoft Expression Encoder 4 logo
Today we'll add them using Microsoft Expression Encoder 4. One of the problems with using SAMI captions for Windows Media is that the caption file must always be linked to the movie, since it's separate from the movie. A better way is to actually embed the captions into the movie so they travel with it and are always available as long as the user has closed captioning turned on in their Windows
Media Player.
Setting captions in MovieCaptioner
We're going to start by creating our captions in MovieCaptioner as we normally would. Make sure you create an MPEG-4 or .MOV version of your WMV file for use in MovieCaptioner as it's QuickTime-based. You'll still use your WMV movie for the final version, however. Instead of breaking up the captions using a forced line break as you might usually do, we're not going to add any line breaks at all. In fact if your project already has line breaks, you're going to need to remove them. This is easily done by going to the Edit menu in MovieCaptioner and selecting Delete All Line Breaks "|" In Caption List.
Deleting line breaks in MovieCaptioner
The reason for this is because Expression Encoder will only read one line per caption. If you have 2 or more lines, it will only display the last line for each caption. Once you have all the captions set, just export as Subrip SRT.
Exporting SRT file from MovieCaptioner
Now that you have your SRT file, open Microsoft Expression Encoder 4. Select New Transcoding Project from the startup screen.

select new transcoding project from Expression Encoder startup screen
Once it opens, go to the File menu and import your WMV movie. After the movie loads go to the Metadata tab on the right, then scroll down if necessary and click the little cog wheel at the bottom of the Script Commands section of the Metadata tab. That will allow you to import your SRT file to the project.
importing the SRT file in Expression Encoder
Once the SRT file is imported, you should see all your captions listed in the Script Commands section. You can actually edit them here if necessary. Now you're ready to encode.
captions are displayed in the Script Commands area
First, click on the Output tab (next to Metadata usually). Here you can set the file name and the target directory. After that's set go to the Encode tab and set it to whatever you need. I'm leaving the default in this instance.
encoding settings
Then go to the File menu and select Encode.
Go to File and select Encode to make the final movie
After it's done encoding you can open the encoded movie in Windows Media Player and you should see your captions appear right on cue.
SRT captions displayed in Windows Media Player
If you don't see your captions, right-click on your movie and select Lyrics, captions, and subtitles and then select On if available from its submenu.
Right-click and enable closed captions to display
If they still don't display, there is a security setting you need to check. Right-click on your movie again and go to More options.... Click the Security tab and select the radio button next to Show local captions when present.
Security settings for Windows Media Player
That should do it. Creating embedded captions for Windows Media movies is a snap with Microsoft Expression Encoder 4. And creating the caption file is also very easy if you use MovieCaptioner to do it. You can download a free 14-day, fully functional demo of MovieCaptioner and try it for yourself and see why so many are turning to this software for their captioning needs.
Security settings for Windows Media Player

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Creating Closed Captioned Movies for iBooks

One of the great things about iBooks is that you can make your movies accessible by providing closed captions. It's very easy to do, too, if you own a Mac and have the right tools. For this tutorial we'll be using the following software:

Your captions will play in the iBook if you have closed captioning enabled.

A Little Setup

iBooks support a caption format known as Sonic Scenarist (SCC). This format is also known in broadcasting circles as Line 21 captions. To be able to import these captions into our movie, we'll need QuickTime Pro ($30 upgrade to the QuickTime 7 Player from Apple) and the ClosedCaptionImporter plugin for QuickTime from Apple as well.

QuickTime 7 is required even though your Mac already ships with QuickTime X, but QuickTime X will not allow you to add captions to your movie, so either download QuickTime 7 from the Apple site or install it from your Mac OS X install disk as a custom install. It will install it in your Applications/Utilities folder and can coexist perfectly with QuickTime X as a separate application.

Once you get QuickTime 7 installed, upgrade it to QuickTime Pro by purchasing a serial number from the Apple website to unlock the editing features of QuickTime 7.

You will also need to download the ClosedCaptionImporter plugin for QuickTime from Apple. It's a bit hard to find on their Web site, so drop me an email if you can't find it and I'll send you a link. Once you get the plugin, just drop it in your Library/QuickTime folder. If you can't find your hidden Library folder, just to to the Finder's Go menu and select Go to Folder. Type "~/Library/QuickTime" into the form and hit Go and it should open the right folder for you. Drop the file "ClosedCaptionImporter.component" in this folder and restart QuickTime 7 to make the plugin available to the software.

Use Go To Folder to find your Library/Quicktime folder.

Fomatting the Movie

We want to start by opening our movie and converting it to an MPEG-4 (MP4) movie. This is necessary for the captions to display properly in the final movie. Using a plain ".mov" file may display your captions initially, but if you quit out of QuickTime Player and open it again, they will not display even though the caption track is still present. So you MUST use an MP4 movie. We'll use MPEG Streamclip for this. MPEG Streamclip is a free video converter available from Squared5 (http://www.squared5.com). After you open your movie in MPEG Streamclip, go to the File menu and select Export to MPEG-4...

This will bring up a settings window where you can adjust the final movie's properties. I've set it to the best quality and kept the same size for this movie...

You will get a window to help you format your movie export.

Then click the Make MP4 button in the lower right and give your movie a different name, being sure to keep the ".mp4" extension. Your movie will export.

Creating the Captions with MovieCaptioner

Now that we have our MP4 movie, open a new project in MovieCaptioner. Click the Load Movie button and find your new MP4 movie on your hard drive. Make sure it's on your main hard drive and not a mounted drive for best results.

Click the Load Movie button and find your MP4 on your hard drive.

After your movie is loaded, click the Start button (NOT the movie's play button). It will begin to play the first 4 seconds of your movie (or whatever number you have set in the Repeat Interval setting).

Use the Start button, not the movie's play button.

Once you've typed everything you heard in that loop of the movie, hit your Return key and it will record the start time and the caption on the right. Continue typing what you hear, as MovieCaptioner will move on to the next 4 second loop of your movie. Just keep typing and hitting the Return key to record each caption. It will stop when you've done the last caption automatically.

The captions and timecode will be recorded on the right.

There is no need to save along the way. Each time you set a caption the project gets saved automatically.

If you need to stop at any time and perhaps edit a caption, click the Stop/Start button to stop the loop and edit your captions directly in the caption list on the right. Use the text area under the movie exclusively for creating new captions not for editing recorded captions. Once you make an edit, hit the Return key to save the edit and MovieCaptioner will save the edit automatically.

If you need to go back to setting new captions, first click the Cue Next button to insure that your next caption will start at the interval after your last saved caption.

If you stop to edit captions, click Cue Next before hitting the Start button.

When you're all done setting captions, go to the Export menu and choose "Sonic Scenarist (SCC Embed in QT)." MovieCaptioner will then analyze each caption and automatically break each up into no more than 32 characters per line and no more than 4 lines per caption. This is due to the strict specifications of the SCC format. Once it's done adding line breaks it will convert the captions into hexidecimal numbers and ask you to save the SCC file. Once you give it a name and save it, it will automatically launch QuickTime 7 Pro and add your captions to your movie.

MovieCaptioner adds the SCC captions to the movie for you.

Review your movie with the captions. If you need to change anything, just close the QuickTime Player window without saving. Return to MovieCaptioner and make your final edits before exporting again. Once the captions on in the movie in the QuickTime player to your satisfaction, just save the movie. Saving the movie will actually bring up the Save As window where you'll give the movie and new name and it will make you keep the ".mov" extension in order to save it. This is perfectly fine for use in the iBook and will still open correctly in QuickTime Player as long as the movie was first saved as MPEG-4. You can change it back to ".mp4" when it's done saving.

On to iBooks Author

Now that you have a captioned movie, open iBooks Author. Decide on which page you want to put the movie and just drag your captioned MP4 movie to that page. It will create a movie widget for you automatically. Resize and place the widget where you want it.

Drag your movie onto an iBook page and it will create a widget for you.

See it on your iPad

To see what it's going to look like, attach an iPad to your computer via USB cable and go to iBooks on your iPad. In iBooks Author click on the Preview icon bar at the top of the interface.

Click the Preview icon at the top of the iBooks Author interface.

It will create a preview right on your iPad and will launch the book automatically to that page. If you have Closed Captioning turned on on your iPad you should be able to see your captions.

Your captions will play in the iBook if you have closed captioning enabled.

If you need to turn on closed captioning, go to the Settings, scroll down on the left until you find Videos, select it and Closed Captioning should appear on the right. Then just slide the switch on and closed captioning will be enabled.

Enabling closed captioning on the iPad.

Please give MovieCaptioner a try. You can download a free, fully-functional demo that is good for 14 days from http://www.synchrimedia.com. Please view the tutorial videos there to see how easy it is to be up and running with MovieCaptioner in a few minutes.

Good luck with your captioning projects!

Friday, January 18, 2013

Creating Video Captions with Asian and Other Accented Characters

A common problem with creating captions for video is when you run into non-Enlish characters. Asian characters and European accented characters can present special problems for captioning. People will often create QT Text files with these characters...

image of chinese text in a QT Text file

...and find out they look like gibberish when they view them embedded into their movies.

image of chinese text in a QT Text movie

What's the answer?

MovieCaptioner tackles this problem by using TeXML files instead of QT Text files to embed captions into a movie. The XML file it creates will support many characters. You can import a Chinese transcript into MovieCaptioner, for example, but you must prepare the file first.

Let's say you have a Chinese transcript in Microsoft Word...

image of chinese text in a Microsoft Word document (Thanks to William Roth, Broadcast Operations Engineer at the Cleveland Clinic for providing this sample transcript.)

Don't try to directly import a MS Word document or and RTF file. First, save it as a new "Plain Text" file.

image of chinese text file with Save As dialog box where Plain Text is selected from a pulldown menu

After selecting Plain Text and giving it a new name, click the Save button. An alert screen will come up telling you the formatting of your document will be lost. On this alert page, click the Other Encoding radio button, then choose Unicode 6.1 UTF-8 from the menu to its right. It will give you a preview at the bottom of the window. Click OK to save the file. The UTF-8 encoding is extremely important as it will remap the characters to ones supported by that encoder.

alert box appears

Open it in a text editor like Text Wrangler or BBedit on the Mac or Notepad++ on Windows and break the lines up into separate captions by line like so...

text broken up by line

Save it and close it.

Note: If you are on Windows, you might want to open the text file you just created and copy all the text, create a new text file, and paste all the text in the new file. Save this file again as plain text with UTF-8 Encoding. The reason for this is that sometimes Windows doesn't do such a red hot job of removing the unsupported character formatting. Going this one extra step seems to cure it. Having these unsupported characters in your project can cause lots of problems, especially if you are exporting to the SCC format.

Now open a new project in MovieCaptioner and load your movie. Then go to the Import menu and select Text in Line Form.

image of chinese text in a QT Text file

This means text that has been broken up line by line into captions as we've just done.

The text will flow right into the interface with all characters intact.

chinese text imported into MovieCaptioner

Since there was no timecode associated with this transcript, 00:00:00.00 is set as a default for each caption. All we need to do is synch the captions with the movie. We do this using the Set Timecode at the top that appears automatically when you import text (also available under the View menu).

To synch the captions, click the Set Timecode button and it will automatically set the first caption's timecode at 00:00:00.00. If you don't want the first one to start there, add a blank caption to the beginning by selecting the first caption and clicking the Insert Caption button. The movie will begin playing once you hit the Set Timecode button and you'll notice the second caption is highlighted in blue. When the first word of this caption is spoken, quickly hit your Return key to record the timecode for that caption. It will insert the timecode and then highlight the next one and you'll listen for that next. Continue this process until you've gotten through the whole video. It will stop automatically at the end.

You now have timecode associated with each caption...

timecode is added

Now you can Preview your handiwork by clicking the Preview button.

image of chinese captions in a movie

If everything is okay, click the Save As button to save it as a new movie with captions. If not, just close the Preview window and go back to editing.

Give MovieCaptioner a try. You can download a free, fully-functional demo that is good for 14 days from http://www.synchrimedia.com. Please view the tutorial videos there to see how easy it is to be up and running with MovieCaptioner in a few minutes.

Good luck with your captioning projects!