Closed captioning — and metadata! — for vlogs

Closed captioning — and metadata! — for vlogs and online video

: Go take a look at this version of the vlog I put up the other day to demonstrate the form for TV and newspaper folks. (The link works only in IE with Microsoft Media Player).

Chicago Captioning Corp. added closed captioning to the video.

They did that in an effort to serve the 10 percent of Americans who are hard of hearing. And that’s great.

But I see another important use that is of value to 100 percent of Internet users:

By attaching a script to the video, we get metadata associated with it. That makes the video searchable via Google et al. That means that the content of the video can be analyzed. That means we can link to specific content.

That’s big.

Now it so happens that because I was using Visual Communicator, I had a script in the teleprompter (aka my laptop) that is timed specifically to my reading of the script. To me, that means it’d be trivial to publish the script as a closed caption file timed to the video.

I even wonder whether URLs could be associated with the graphic files inserted into the video — or simply with text — so people could go to addresses. More metadata. More interactivity.

I got email with that link from Steven Knoerr at Chicago Captioning and emailed him back this bit of excited blathering. I have no idea what Chicago Captioning’s business proposition is; I’m not trying to sell them.

But I do think there’s something important here for citizens’ video (and TV news video brought online): If we can associate closed captions and scripts with video, we make that video far more accessible not only to the hard-of-hearing but also to Google searchers.

: UPDATE: Mark Randall of Serious Magic (the Visual Communicator and VlogIt folks) emails me to report that there is a free plug-in for the latest version of the software (which, regretably won’t work on my machine) that automates the creation of closed captions from the teleprompter script. I hope they include this in VlogIt (hint) and encourage all vloggers to use it.

Metadata, man, metadata.