Closed Caption Information
In a nut shell, the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) is requiring Closed Captions (or subtitles) for both television and internet based video for the hearing impaired. You can go onto their website Here to read the entire rules and regulations that they have set forth. I will forewarn you though, it does read like Chinese radio instructions; I mean hey, it’s the government and it’s law, so it’s always fun to try and read this stuff. But basically, like I said before, it’s pretty much a requirement to have CC information attached (in some way) to your video.
What does this mean for the independent filmmaker?
Welcome to a long and annoying process. It’s not really hard to create CC/subtitles, but it does take several hours to complete a .srt (subtitle) file.
Think of it this way, if you have a typed script (that your actors had to stick to) some of your work is already done. But if you have a lot of improv work…you will be typing all of that out verbatim.
Now, there are programs out there to help facilitate this process; an unfortunately, if you have a lot of background noise or accents, you will be doing a majority of it manually.
There are programs out there such as Voxcribe that do offer an “automatic” dialog recognition. But I will say (from personal experience), if you are trying to caption accents with their program, be prepared to have most of it botched. Example, recently I attempted to use Voxcribe to subtitle a video clip that featured English actors, after approximately five minutes of dialog detection, I ended up stopping the process because most of it was wrong.
If you are the type of person who already knows the subtitle format, you can simply write out everything in a notepad .txt format. For those who do not, I suggest something along the lines of AHD Subtitles Maker. The GUI interface of the program is not far off of most video editing software (like Adobe Premiere or FinalCut) and figuring out how to use the program is pretty straight forward.
But can’t you do dialog detection in Premiere?
Technically, yes…well you can try. Most of the clips that I have attempted to perform dialog detection inside of Premiere was a total botch job. I would have actually spent more time correcting the detection than I would writing it manually.
As an independent filmmaker, should I even worry about creating subtitles?
Yes! Like I said at the top of this blog, the FCC is requiring more CC services for video now. And let’s face it from a common sense view point; as an independent filmmaker you are, essentially attempting to please people. People who are hearing impaired will not want to watch something when try don’t understand what is doing on. Even in the early days of silent film, there were caption scenes explaining the concept of what was going on. Imaging trying at watch a movie with no sound at all, I’m pretty sure most people will be lost fairly quickly.
Whether you do it yourself or pay someone to do it, it will eventually have to be done. Even more so if you are doing commercials or shows for TV. It’s better off spending a few days doing it after the final edit, than it is waiting until the last minute to do so. There is also the possibility (no matter how small of a chance) of getting fined by the FCC for not offering CC/Subtitles. And that is not a risk that I (or we) will be taking.
Recently, we were able to demo the very nice Canon EOS C100 with the Canon EF 24-105mm lens and I must say…I definitely like this camera.
For those of you out there that have around $7,000 to drop on a pro camera, this is one that you will want to look at!
The first thing that I will say out right is that you better have a computer that is capable to edit 1080i at 17mbps and you will want a decent sized hard drive. But after other than that, this camera is awesome (and I’m not just saying this because I’m a Canon user).
It has a huge Super 35mm sized CMOS sensor at the heart of it all allowing a good digital equivalence to the Super 35mm film cameras out there.
It features 2 SDHC/SDXC card slots for prolonged filming and has the ability to write to both cards simultaneously for a quick and easy redundancy backup. You get a bit over two hours of recording time out of a 32gb card while filming at 1080i @ 24mbps @ 24 fps (which was what we were using at the time).
Low light was another plus for the camera, boasting the need for only 0.3 lux of light while filming at 59 Hz. Typically we use strategic lighting for nighttime or low light shots but during our testing we didn’t have to insanely worry about lighting like we normally do.
Like other cameras out there, we do like the fact that this camera has dual XLR mic inputs so there is no need for a XLR box (like when using DSLRs). The one thing that we did not like was the LCD screen on the camera. Viewing angles are good but sporting only a 3.5″ screen definitely requires an external HD monitor (which is possible via the uncompressed HDMI output.
If you have the possibility to demo this camera at a camera shop, definitely check it out!
Okay, there has been many questions launched our way via email and in person concerning graphic design and more importantly Photoshop vs Illustrator vs InDesign. We are going to quickly sort this out.
Honestly, I love photoshop…and have been using it for years and although it is definitely a powerful program, it still has its limitations.
First and foremost, Photoshop is a pixel or raster based program. This means that your photo is comprised of thousands (if not) millions of tiny colored squares that make up the image. For photos, web designs, etc, this is not a problem (most of the time). The problem with a raster based image is if you attempt to upscale a smaller (or lower quality) image, it will pixelate and you will lose quality. We’ve all seen it when zooming into a picture. A rule of thumb for photoshop is to keep it in the realm that it is typically designed for.
This means using photoshop for:
1. Photo editing and/or restoration
2. Website graphics design (content creation.
3. Digital “painting”
4. UI > User Interfaces
5. Website Advertisements
6. Motion graphics
7. Special effects/filters
There is a common misconception that you should use photoshop for stuff like business card design or catalog layouts…DON’T. I’ll explain shortly.
Illustrator on the other hand is math or “Vector” based. This means that no matter how small or large you decide to scale the image or artwork, it will retain its quality and not pixelate. A lot of people do not take this into consideration when designing things.
You should be using Illustrator for some of the following:
1. Logo creation
2. Business Card design
3. Scalable designs for banners and posters (I.e. designs for large format printing).
4. Apparel design
5. Motion graphics
6. Vector painting and illustration
Although I’m sure that you can use InDesign for more than I’m going to mention here; we typically associate InDesign with literature and graphic/text based design work.
Examples for these types of work include:
1. Letterhead design
2. Pamphlet design
3. Catalog design
5. Multiple page brochures
7. Interactive PDF documents
Now, I’m not saying that you are only allowed to perform the fore mentioned tasks with those programs, I am just saying that you should take into consideration of what you plan on doing with your design work and what the limitations of the programs are. I can design an entire website inside illustrator (and many people have), but I personally do not feel the need to have superior quality (or larger file sizes for that matter) for base website creation. Just like I can create letterhead designs inside illustrator, but why not use a program designed to do that?
I also say this based on the fact that we are running Adobe’s Master Collection and I do understand that there are people out there that only have legitimate access to one or the other, but just keep some of this information in mind. Also, by all means, we are not proclaiming to be SMEs or subject matter experts…we’re just trying to shed some light on this topic.
The “vs” breakdown follow below:
Illustrator vs. Indesign
1. Illustrator does not have master pages.
2. Illustrator cannot define page numbers.
3. Indesign cannot draw objects as well as Illustrator.
4. Indesign does not have filters, as Illustrator does.
5. Indesign has superior type wrapping tools, while it maybe a bit confusing with Illustrator.
Illustrator vs. Photoshop
1. Illustrator has superior vector support, while Photoshop has limited.
Illustrator does better page layout than Photoshop.
2. Illustrator does not handle pixel art the same way as Photoshop does in terms of effects.
3. Photoshop is superior for photo enhancing.
4. Photoshop creates precise pixel based UI designs compared to Illustrator.
5. Illustrator supports multiple page output for PDF while Photoshop does not.
6. Photoshop layers is much straight forward than Illustrator. Organizing elements is much easier in Photoshop because of this.
7. Illustrator supports the “Place” (Importing graphics) command through dynamic file linking. Photoshop’s “Place” command is strictly embedded into the .PSD file and is not linked. This means that you can make changes to a certain file outside of Illustrator and you can reflect the changes in Illustrator using the Links panel. In Photoshop, whatever you place is permanent.
8. Illustrator exports .EPS file formats better than Photoshop.
Indesign vs. Photoshop
1. Indesign creates page layouts while Photoshop does not.
2. Indesign links elements or design objects from various locations in your hard drive. Photoshop does not. It is all placed in the document.
3. Indesign supports multiple pages for PDF and print. Photoshop is all one document.
4. Photoshop has filter effects while Indesign is limited.
5. Indesign supports XML, Photoshop does not.
6. Indesign supports vectors, imports .AI and .EPS with vector data encoded. In Photoshop this gets converted to paths or pseudo vector. The final output is still pixel based.