Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Using Compressor to add SCC Captions to Video for Broadcast TV

An inexpensive way to add SCC captions to your video for broadcast TV is to use Apple's Compressor ($49.95 from the App Store). After creating your captions in MovieCaptioner, export your project as Sonic Scenarist (SCC File Only). This is the file you'll use along with your movie in Compressor.
Open Compressor, then go to to the File menu and select Add File and load your movie into the interface. Then in the Settings panel, select the proper preset that your station expects you to use. Most likely it will be something like MPEG-2 Program Stream, which you'll find under the MPEG Files dropdown menu. Just drag that preset onto the movie panel where it says Add Outputs and it should stick there. Then click on that panel to highlight it. On the right, under Metadata, you'll see a button where you can choose your closed caption file. Click that and find your SCC file that you exported from MovieCaptioner. It will have a ".scc" file extension. Once that is loaded the Start Batch button should highlight in blue. Just click that and it will render the captions to your video. Pretty easy, right? Here are the 4 main steps as outlined above. Click to see a larger version...
Once the processing is complete, you can check to see if your captions are there by opening the new movie in VLC Player (a free video player from VideoLAN. After opening it in VLC Player, go to the Video window and select Subtitles > Closed captions 1. You may need to rewind your movie and replay it to see the captions appear.

While the captions in VLC Player will look a bit different from what you'll see on TV, that's just the way VLC displays them. They will look the way they're supposed to look when aired.

 A couple of notes...

SCC files create what are called CEA-608 captions on Line 21 of the video (often called Line 21 captions). Many networks have the capability to up-convert CEA-608 captions to the newer CEA-708 standard. Although this conversion works, it does not allow the viewer at home to change any of the text properties associate with the captions like true CEA-708 captions. To create CEA-708 captions you would need an MCC caption file. MovieCaptioner cannot currently create these, but our affiliate, East Texas Captioning can. For a nominal fee they can add the MCC file to your video for broadcast.

 I don't know that a similar inexpensive solution for Windows users exists. It might actually pay you to get a Mac that can run Compressor just for this purpose.

 Another option would be to purchase the HDProQT plugin for QuickTime Player from PixelTools. Cost is $1495, but it will allow you to choose your SCC or MCC file and export the broadcast video directly from any QuickTime supporting software, such as QuickTime Pro, Final Cut Pro, or Adobe Premiere.