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Argument against open captioning


From: Scott Standifer
Date: Aug 27, 2001 10:15AM

Hi Johanna,
I have wondered about open captioning occasionally, too. And your
points about its usefulness beyond people with hearing impairments are
well taken. In actual practice, however, I find that open captioning can
be quite distracting when you _don't_ need it.
The main point of using video (I think) is to give other people a sense
"place" and a feel for the scene. When I was working as a video
producer, I always advised clients to think in those terms when deciding
if video was appropriate for their project. When captions are on the
screen I always find myself automatically reading them, tracking how
well they match the spoken dialogue, etc. This makes it harder (for me,
at least) to "see" the image, since I am looking mostly at and thinking
about the text. It takes a conscious effort to not be distracted this
way. Since the image should be an important part of why you are using
video in the first place and since it is so much work to put video
together well, you want to maximize viewer attention to it.
I think it depends on your audience and how many you think will want
captioning. But unless you think that a majority of your audience needs
the captioning, I would opt for closed captioning rather than open.
Just my thoughts on the matter,
Scott Standifer, Ph.D..
Region 7 Rehabilitation Continuing Education Program
University of Missouri, Columbia
> Date: 25 Aug 2001 11:37:52 -0600
> From: Johanna Frohm < <EMAIL REMOVED> >
> Subject: Using closed captioning versus open captioning
> I noted the questions regarding how to display the captioning in the
> SMIL file in RealPlayer. I am wondering about the merits of using open
> captioning in a SMIL file versus using closed captioning. Closed
> captioning will display if the accessibility feature is enabled in
> RealPlayer Preferences. If open captioning is used, it will be visible
> to everyone without any additional steps. It benefits the person with
> the hearing impairment, but it may also benefit others, such as the
> person working at a workstation with their speakers turned off, the
> person working at a computer without speakers, or a person working in a
> noisy environment. There are probably other reasons open captioning can
> be useful, but are their reasons for not using it?
> Thanks,
> Johanna