Captioning with MAGpie 2.0
Translations of this article are available in:
- German - External Link - courtesy of Anatoli Bauer
Downloading and Installing
Download MAGpie 2 from NCAM's MAGpie download page - external link. Be sure to read the installation instructions. Install all of the elements in the exact order specified in these instructions. MAGpie is written in the Java programming language and your computer must meet certain requirements and have Java components installed before installing MAGpie.
If you want to follow along with this tutorial, download our sample sound clip - pig.wav (168KB, ). Save the file in a place where you can easily find it. Although you will typically be captioning video, this audio file will work just as well. In fact, captioning the audio of your web video is often much easier, because you don't have to deal with video display problems or large file sizes.
Setting Up a Project
Open the MAGpie 2.0 program. A splash screen will appear for a couple of seconds. This screen can be closed by clicking thebutton, pressing the space bar on your keyboard, or you can wait for it to close on its own. When the application opens, you should get a screen that looks like this:
Start a new project by selecting.
In thewindow that appears, select the button to browse to your media file (pig.wav). MAGpie supports the captioning of most media files, including most Quicktime, RealPlayer, and Windows Media formats. If your final media type is not supported you can usually convert your media to a format MAGpie does support to complete the captioning.
Set Media Toolkit to Apple Quicktime player for Quicktime movies and Oratrix GRiNS Player for RealPlayer files. WAV, MPEG/MPG, MP3, AVI, and other common file types should play in either player, but the Quicktime Player seems to be more responsive, so let's leave it selected.
Now set the styles you want for your captions and speakers. The default styles work great for most captions, although at WebAIM we prefer captions that are centered, rather than left aligned. For Video width and height, enter in the values for the size in which you want your video to display. Caption width should usually be set to the same width as your video. Typical caption heights are around 80 pixels high. Even though we are captioning audio only, you would still enter the widths and heights here. When you're done, select.
Thewindow allows you to create a new audio description or caption track for your media. We're only going to focus on creating captions right now, so make sure Captions and English are selected. The Track Name really doesn't matter, so enter whatever suits you. When you're done, select .
Getting to Know the Interface
The main interface contains areas for individual caption displays. For each caption display (represented by a row in the caption table), there is an option to set that caption display's start time, end time, speaker, and Caption text. Above the caption area are controls for playback of the media file.
You will also see a MAGpie Media Player window open. Any video for the media file you are captioning should appear within the window. Because we're captioning audio, it will just display an empty black window.
Navigation in the captioning area is a little different from what you would expect. There are two modes available for navigating the main MAGpie captioning window - Editing Mode and Navigation Mode. Editing Mode allows you to enter caption information into the Window. Navigation Mode allows you to move from caption to caption or between the different options for each caption. To enter Navigation Mode, press Shift + Enter. You can then use the arrow keys to navigate through the table cells. To enter Editing Mode, press Enter or simply begin typing in one of the table cells.
If you are already in Navigation Mode and press Shift + Enter again, MAGpie will insert a new table row or caption. This takes a little getting used to.
If you need to delete rows, you must select the row(s) you want to delete, then Alt + C, D to delete or Alt + C, F to insert rows without having to right click. There is no Undo feature in MAGpie, so be mindful of any changes you make - once a row is deleted, the text and other information can only be replaced manually.and select . You can also insert rows by right clicking. These options are also available in the Captions menu. Press
Before you get too far, select, to save your MAGpie project.
Controlling Media Playback
Although there are interface buttons that allow you to stop, pause, go back a little, go forward a little, and play at slow, normal, and fast speeds, the only playback controls you usually need are available via the keyboard. These controls are F6 to toggle between Play and Pause, and F7 to Rewind to the beginning. If you need more precise control, you can use the buttons. There are even more options under the menu. You can also adjust the playback slider at the top of the screen to navigate to a specific place within the media. For the most part, F6 and F7 are all you need to use.
Make sure you media file (pig.wav) is at the beginning. The timecode area to the right of the playback buttons should read 0:00:00.00. These numbers represent the time, with the first digit representing hours, the next two minutes, the next two seconds, and the final two (after the decimal) represent 100ths of a second. Think of this like a stopwatch that is going to measure the amount of time from the beginning of the media file.
Press F6 to listen to the first sentence or portion of a sentence, then press F6 again to pause. Select the Caption area for Row 1 and type what was spoken. You typically want to limit each row to one or two short sentences. There is a limit as to how much text can be displayed for each caption. If a complete sentence does not fit, you can break it into two captions. Once you have entered the text for the first caption, press the Enter key twice in quick succession. This will insert a new row for a second caption.
Press F6 again to listen to another portion of the audio, transcribe that audio into the caption box, and press Enter twice. Continue this process until all of the audio is transcribed. If you forget what you heard before you get it transcribed, move the slider at the top of the window to the left a little bit to rewind the audio slightly, and press F6 to listen again.
Although MAGpie provides a Speaker area for you to enter the speaker's name, I would suggest not using it. Adding a speaker name will place the speaker on the first line of the caption, with the actual caption text below.
Although this seems fine at first, there are two major drawbacks to having captions set up this way. First, MAGpie will automatically repeat the speaker's name for each successive caption. If you only have one speaker or that speaker's dialog spans across more than one caption, you only need to identify that speaker when he/she begins to speak, not for every caption throughout their dialog. You only need to specify who the speaker is when it is not apparent from the video and when the speaker changes. Second, the speaker is placed on the first line by itself, thus wasting an entire line of our limited captioning area.
A better solution is to add the speaker to the caption area itself.
You should usually caption word for word, though it is common to leave out extraneous information or words, such as "umm" or "huh". Additional information can also be added to the captions, such as non-verbal sounds (laughing, sobbing, horn honking) or other information that is contained in the audio but is not apparent in the video. The text for such information should be italicized or placed in parentheses so as not to be confused with spoken text.
Once you have all the captions entered, double check to make sure all the captions are of an appropriate length. You can check your spelling with MAGpie's built in spell check (). Be sure to save your project ( ) at this point.
For large captioning projects or projects for which you already have a transcript, it will probably be easier to import the caption text into MAGpie. Before importing the text, break the transcript into segments that are a short sentence or two in length. Place an empty blank line between each caption. Make sure to save your file as a text (.txt) file. Inside MAGpie, select. MAGpie will insert a row for each caption segment you have defined in the text file.
Rewind your media to the beginning (F7) and navigate to or click inside row one. Press the F9 key to capture the current time code and insert it into the Start Time field for your first caption. It should display 0:00:00.00. The cursor will automatically move to the next row.
Read through this entire paragraph before continuing. Now, press F6 to begin playing the media. When the beginning of each caption text is spoken, press the F9 key. This will insert the timecode into the Start Time area for that row then move to the next row. Continue listening to the media and pressing F9for each caption.
At the end of the media, MAGpie should insert an empty row after your last caption. Make sure MAGpie is at the very end of the media and press F9 to insert the final timecode for the empty caption. MAGpie will again create an empty row, which should be deleted.
Ensure your beginning timecode is 0:00:00.00 and your final timecode is on an empty caption at the very end of the media. Disregard the End Time column. In theory, you could specify the time in which a caption should disappear, but each caption disappears when the next one begins, so the End Time column is typically unnecessary. If you have a pause at the beginning or middle of your movie where you do not want text to appear, just insert an empty Row and add timecode to it just as you would any other caption.
Now when you preview your clip in the media player, the captions will appear. Make sure they are adequately synchronized and readable. They don't have to be exactly synchronized with the audio, but close. Someone who is deaf won't notice a small discrepancy anyway.
Exporting Caption Files
The next step in the process is to export your caption information in a format that can be used in Quicktime, RealPlayer, or Windows Media Player. MAGpie 2.0 allows you to output file types that correspond to these players. Selectthen the media format of the media you are captioning. will generate a plain text transcript of your project. This is helpful for generating a transcript for the media. Even though your media may be captioned, you should still provide a transcript. MAGpie will save these caption files in the same directory in which your project is saved.