Captions in a File-based Workflow: Is There Light at the End of the Tunnel?


At IBC AmberFin demonstrates how to simplify the complexity of multilingual multi-format, multi-channel captioning workflows

Last Updated: September 10, 2012 5:49 pm GMT
(Basingstoke, UK--September 10, 2012) Since the creation of the first captioning systems in the early 1970s, technology and commercial constraints have limited most captioning workflows to the “insert them at the last minute into the broadcast chain” methodology. So, if this has worked for the last 40 years then why change now? The simple answer is economics, says one senior IBC attendee and exhibitor Bruce Devlin, Chief Technology Officer at AmberFin (http://www.amberfin/ibc2012) and co-author of the MXF specification.

"Captions rarely increase the revenues of broadcasters or content owners. They are an add-on service that is in many cases required by law and those laws are changing. We are entering a world where multi-platform delivery to broadcast, VoD and web streaming channels now also require captions and subtitles by law. The traditional captioning workflows that go around the outside of the main workflow are now too expensive and time consuming to justify when the number of platforms is growing and the number of viewers per platform is inevitably diminishing," says Devlin.

To reduce operational costs, improve productivity and deliver quicker ROI, broadcasters and content owners need to ensure they have a full captioning/subtitling solution ready as they make the transition to file-based workflows. This way, significant savings can be achieved by processing video, audio and subtitles/captions together on the same platform, and the integrity of subtitle or closed caption data can be securely preserved as video files are converted from one format to another.

AmberFin has teamed up with caption solution specialist, Softel to show how placing captions in the heart of a file-based ingest and transcode workflow can dramatically improve the efficiency and reliability of otherwise difficult captioning and subtitling workflows. Showcased at IBC on booth 7.J39, the integration of Softel's Swift vTX with AmberFin's iCR supports transcoding to a wide array of media formats whilst delivering the correctly formatted subtitle, caption and ancillary data, with a rich feature set that fits easily into any broadcast workflow.

"By applying the lessons we learned manipulating high-quality video mezzanine files to captions, we have developed a new breed of easy to manage captioning and subtitling workflows. Whether you need OP-47, an A/53 transport stream, SMPTE-TT or a simple .stl file, we have an AmberFin’s iCR captioning mezzanine workflow for you," says Devlin.

“We had a vision when we wrote the MXF ST 436 specification that we could build caption and subtitle workflows that were independent of compression codecs – it’s great to see that dream finally becoming a reality," he concludes.

About AmberFin
AmberFin is a company at the heart of solving file-based workflow problems for content owners, broadcasters, sports organizations and post-production houses. The AmberFin Media Factory, based on the iCR family of modular software products, digitizes and transforms new and archived content, combining a service oriented design philosophy with intelligent use of cost-effective generic IT. This enables customers to save time, increase revenues and grow in-line with business demands.

Unique to the Media Factory system, AmberFin’s industry first approach to Quality Control, known as Unified Quality Control (UQC), introduces a QC mark that brings a new level of trust to media assets. UQC uniquely combines an automated process with a human touch, enabling more efficient and effective decision-making and new levels of confidence in the file creation and transformation processes.

AmberFin has experienced growth of 65% in the last year thanks to hundreds of iCR systems being deployed worldwide. Systems that are trusted where quality matters by some of the world’s leading media organizations including HBO, AP, Reuters, WWE, ITV, Sony Pictures, NBA, Turner Broadcasting, ZDF, NRK, National Geographic, BT, Discovery and Warner Brothers.


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