EDUDEAF: Accessibility of Video on the Web

Key words: Information, Technologies for Deaf/HH

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Subj: Surprising Silence
Date: 97-01-14 18:45:43 EST
From: berke@EROLS.COM (Steve and Jamie Berke)
Sender: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education)
Reply-to: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education)

To: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF)

I am surprised at the silence on this list since I sent out the message about online video players on the web.

I thought the teachers on this list would be concerned because unless we are vigilant, I foresee a future in which educational videos would be available on the Internet without captions. What the American Film Institute is doing now is only the beginning. What if National Geographic decided to put free, uncaptioned educational videos on the Internet? Or a science museum? A historical museum?

This is very important because until now, playing video on the web has meant an excruciatingly long wait while said video downloaded. This new software actually plays the video as it downloads, making it a whole new ballgame. I urge those of you with web access to download their video player (www.vdo.net) and try it on the sample video "About VDO net" on their web site, to see what I mean.

I am still waiting for a response from VDO net regarding accessibility (that is, caption display) features on their software. I got an inquiry today from vdopsupp@vdo.net which is different from their support@vdo.net e-mail address that I posted earlier. That e-mail was sent to me by them after I called their office in Palo Alto, California to make sure they were aware of my concerns.

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Subj: Re: Surprising Silence
Date: 97-01-15 12:17:51 EST
From: stevel@HCDB.K12.HI.US (steve laracuente)
Sender: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education)
Reply-to: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education)

To: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF)

Are you talking about Closed Captions or Open Captions. If you are talking about Closed Captions, then how to decode? Maybe the American Film Institute can offer both uncaptioned and captioned films.

Steve Laracuente

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Subj: Re: Surprising Silence
Date: 97-01-15 13:34:53 EST
From: berke@EROLS.COM (Steve and Jamie Berke)
Sender: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education)
Reply-to: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education)

To: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF)

To Steve:

I'm talking about captions, period. Because most hearing wont want to see the captions, obviously it has to be closed captions.

We can't afford to be reactive, we must be proactive on this. Or as early as later this year, we could start seeing lots of educational video on the web inaccessible for teachers (& parents) of the deaf, if VDO Net's video player & similar web video players catch on.

Still no response yet from the folks at VDO Net to my inquiry. I encourage other people to call them at their office to make similar inquiries so they will take us seriously.

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Subj: Re: Surprising Silence
Date: 97-01-15 14:48:03 EST
From: THESAP@AOL.COM ()
Sender: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education)
Reply-to: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education)

To: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF)

I went to a conference for technology and deafness earlier this year and learned how to use a specific program to caption web videos. It was pretty cool and not that difficult to do. I forget the specifics, but I have the brochure packed away somewhere. It was sort of the answer to this problem though it is time consuming for a teacher to have to do this. And I am not sure how you would do this without somehow copying the video and putting into your own computer to use.

Elizabeth

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Subj: Re: Surprising Silence
Date: 97-01-16 10:03:59 EST
From: ckrepel@POST.ITS.MCW.EDU (Candace Krepel)
Sender: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education)
Reply-to: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education)

To: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF)

And it would be useless for deaf adults who don't have a hearing adult available and willing to create the captions. It should not be that difficult to embed the captions, and provide a "button" to click on if you want sound, captions, or both. I agree with Steve and Jamie that this has to be done front-end. My message to vdo.net is on the way.

Candy Krepel

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Subj: Re: Surprising Silence
Date: 97-01-15 21:20:59 EST
From: dhag@MTSI.COM (DeLores)
Sender: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education)
Reply-to: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education)

To: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF)

I am confused. How do you view closed captions without something to 'open' them?

DeLores Wilson
dhag@mtsi.com
Hillsboro, Oregon, USA

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Subj: Re: Surprising Silence
Date: 97-01-15 21:30:15 EST
From: dehahn@TIAC.NET (Christofer deHahn)
Sender: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education)
Reply-to: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education)

To: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF)

Steve's question is valid. Open captions are easy, closed captions are a lot more difficult. Captioned television is enabled by broadcasting the captions within the sync signal of the video. Video over the web would most likely be via MPEG or Quicktime. Quicktime has no provisions for closed captions, and neither does MPEG, although the next major revision of the MPEG spec is supposed to include the capability. So your fight for captions on the web today is basically for awareness only, unless there is some other technology that I'm not aware of.

Chris

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Subj: Re: Surprising Silence [long]
Date: 97-01-15 22:39:29 EST
From: berke@EROLS.COM (Steve and Jamie Berke)
Sender: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education)
Reply-to: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education)

To: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF)

You are absolutely correct that open captions are easier and closed captions more difficult. But the reality is that most hearing people don't want their viewing experience - whether it is television, the movies, or the internet - contaminated by the presence of captions. So some form of hidden captions is needed.

Last year, the WGBH National Center for Accessible Media http://www.wgbh.org/ncam (go to Captioned Movies & Audio Description) put their pedal to the metal (I think that's the idiom) and came up with a way to put "closed captions" on web video. You can download sample "captioned" clips from the web site, in both Quicktime and AVI format.

From the NCAM web site:
NCAM has been experimenting with ways to provide captioning and audio description on Web sites, through the use of QuickTime video clips. Captions have been added as a text track, and descriptions have been recorded onto a separate audio track (in addition to the program audio and video tracks). With one particular movie player that we've found, MoviePlayer version 2.1 or greater for the Macintosh, the descriptions and captions may actually be turned on or off by the user. If you're using a different Mac or PC player, all captions and descriptions will be open-- that is, you won't be able to turn them off.

MoviePlayer Instructions: To turn the captions off from within MoviePlayer version 2.1 or higher for the Mac, open the EDIT menu, choose ENABLE TRACKS and click on TEXT TRACK. This feature is a toggle; to turn the captions back on, click on TEXT TRACK again. To toggle the descriptions on and off, click on the AUDIO DESCRIPTION track.

Other movie players (Simple Player, Fast Player, Sparkle, etc.) show the clip with open captions and descriptions only. [another one is called Net Toob] {end info from NCAM site}

As you can see from the NCAM web site information,,l,l, the key is the video player(s). The web site contains instructions on how to toggle on or off the hidden text track captions. The problem I have with a fantastic new video player like the VDO Live Player is that as far as I can tell, it does not have similar text track features. I tried to find one on the software and was unable to. Unless there are such features on the video player software, no hidden captions can be seen on the web video.

This following sentence is copied directly from the VDO Live software help: No download! Video plays directly from the Internet to your screen, so you enjoy minimal waiting time, and no risk of contaminated files.

If you have ever downloaded video from the Internet, you know how long it can take and that is part of the reason there hasn't been as much concern expressed to date about accessibility of web video, especially when there are other accessibility issues confronting us. But now...

This VDO Live player is the first internet video player I have seen that does NOT require downloading of video, but plays it right on the screen. I have tried it and found it impressive. They seem to have revamped their web site since I downloaded the software because I can't find the sample "about vdonet" video on their site anymore. I was amazed at how quickly and easily the VDO Live player played the video. I did not have to wait for it to download.

I predict that this player and similar players will catch on, especially after the American Film Institute begins to play FULL movies on the internet. And if no one bothers to make the player accessible (give it text track capability; hopefully that is already available in the software) and if no one bothers to make a text track (captions) then the deaf community is on the verge of missing out on a very important leap forward on the Internet, starting January 22, 1997.

I have not had any response yet from the American Film Institute to my e-mail inquiring about accessibility, by the way.

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Subj: Re: Surprising Silence [long]
Date: 97-01-15 23:39:49 EST
From: dehahn@TIAC.NET (Christofer deHahn)
Sender: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education)
Reply-to: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education)

To: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF)

At 10:02 PM 1/15/97 -0500, Jamie Berke wrote: >Last year, the WGBH National Center for Accessible Media http://www.wgbh.org/ncam (go to Captioned Movies & Audio Description) put their pedal to the metal (I think that's the idiom) and came up with a way to put "closed captions" on web video.

Thanks for the update. I'm familiar with WGBH as they made it possible for us to get a free caption decoder for our tv through them and Dunkin' Donuts.

>This VDO Live player is the first internet video player I have seen that does NOT require downloading of video, but plays it right on the screen.

There are many online video players available as Netscape plugins which will play a variety of formats. These stream the audio and video directly through your connection. However, if it burps, the video/audio burps.

I'll load up the VDO player and check it out. Meanwhile, I think that you should lobby VDO to port the included text features available on the Mac version to support Win95 and WinNT 4.0.

Thanks
Chris

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Subj: Re: Surprising Silence
Date: 97-01-16 11:06:21 EST
From: berke@EROLS.COM (Steve and Jamie Berke)
Sender: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education)
Reply-to: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education)

To: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF)

Thanks Candy, and I just e-mailed VDO net again with a clarified question, asking if their software has the ability to display a hidden text track like what the folks at the NCAM did. And I gave them the URL for the NCAM page on captioning and audio description.

If I didn't already post it, here is a new e-mail address for them:
vdopsupp@vdo.net

If they don't reply within a week, I'm going to place another long-distance call to their offices in Palo Alto, California.

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Subj: A response from VDONet!
Date: 97-01-22 10:34:54 EST
From: berke@EROLS.COM (Steve and Jamie Berke)
Sender: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education)
Reply-to: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education)

To: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF)

Dear EduDeafers,

Just got this response from VDONet!

As my son would say, "Yessss!" [and pardon me for saying so, but I'm a little miffed that the captioning feature wasn't included in the first generation of the software - why aren't they designing in the first place with accessibility in mind?]
From: Ori Cohen
To: "'access@sjuvm.stjohns.edu'"
Cc: Yetta Jaworski ,
"'Larry Goldberg'"
,
"'berke@EROLS.COM'"
Subject: RE: FWD>Interesting reaction
Date: Tue, 21 Jan 1997 14:15:31 -0500

Steve and Jamie,

VDOnet is not ignoring special accesibility issues.

We are in the process of working with Microsoft on the new generation of video technology. In this architecture, you will be able to very easily add effects to the video. One of these "effects" will be captioning in a very easy and user friendly way.

At this stage, I do not have an exact time estimate as to when this will be ready but we hope that it will happen (ie, shipped) during the first half of 1997.

Best regards,
Ori Cohen
Director of Technical Marketing
VDOnet Corp.

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Subj: Re: A response from VDONet!
Date: 97-01-22 11:06:03 EST
From: ckrepel@POST.ITS.MCW.EDU (Candace Krepel)
Sender: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education)
Reply-to: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education)

To: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF)

I will withhold my praise until I know who the "you" is. If it is VDONet's intention that the user add the captions, instead of having them already encoded and available through a "button", then that is not acceptable.

Candy Krepel

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Subj: Re: A response from VDONet!
Date: 97-01-22 11:37:14 EST
From: berke@EROLS.COM (Steve and Jamie Berke)
Sender: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education)
Reply-to: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education)

To: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF)

Ok..maybe I exulted too soon. Thanks for pointing that out, Candy! I was just so glad to get a response from them. I have already e-mailed Ori Cohen to request clarification per your comments. Feel free to e-mail him yourself as well.

Ironically, today is the day that AFI begins showcasing full videos on the web.

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Subj: Clarification from VDONet
Date: 97-01-22 12:32:55 EST
From: berke@EROLS.COM (Steve and Jamie Berke)
Sender: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education)
Reply-to: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (A Practical Discussion List Regarding Deaf Education)
To: EDUDEAF@LSV.UKY.EDU (Multiple recipients of list EDUDEAF)
From: Ori Cohen
To: "'Steve and Jamie Berke'"
Subject: RE: Please clarify
Date: Wed, 22 Jan 1997 11:43:44 -0500

Captioning will be done by the content provider. The user will have an option to switch it on.

Ori

Uploaded by: B.J. Lawrence / Kent State University / Deaf Education Major