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  • iheartsubtitles 9:15 pm on July 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , DVD, , ,   

    CEA – UK published report on cinema subtitling technology and my experience in the USA 

    Back in March 2013, some, including myself were lucky enough to take part in a trial to test some personalised technology that provides subtitles to cinemas. The trial took place in London and was organised by the Cinema Exhibitors Association and they have now published the results to those that attended. I have summarised the main points below:

    The project was designed to gather:

    • Findings from a demonstration of four of the leading CC technologies for interested industry partners;
    • Initial and headline structured feedback from a small sample of people with varying degrees of hearing loss on their experience of using the systems;
    • And preliminary feedback from an operator perspective on the potential management, practical and technical considerations around each of the systems.

    The suppliers and products involved were:

    • Doremi – Captiview for CC, and Fidelio for audio description (AD) and hearing assist.
    • Sony – Entertainment Access Glasses (SEAG) for CC and connecting headphones for AD and hearing assist.
    • USL – Captionwear glasses and screens for CC and connecting headphones for AD and hearing assist.

    While the AD functionalities of the products were part of the industry showcase, the audience screenings concentrated solely on CC, that being the technology which offers something completely new for customers.

    For more details read the CEA’s published report. Now that this detail has finally been released I can talk more freely about the device I got to test. I was given the Captiview device to watch the movie Wreck It Ralph. The good thing about it was that the subtitles worked, were pretty accurate with the exception of a few letters dropping of the ends of words at the end of a line on the screen. They were easy to follow for someone used to reading subtitles but trying to watch the action on screen is much harder and so the movie experience itself was not as immersive as it would’ve been through no fault of the movie itself. More recently whilst on holiday in the United States I got to use the device again in a real screening for Iron Man 3:

    I got a few strange looks from some people in the cinema who clearly hadn’t seen this device being used before but that didn’t bother me. What did bother me was the fact that I couldn’t get the device positioned correctly. Why? Because the device is supposed to sit in the cup holder on your seat. Except in this cinema it didn’t fit correctly. This made it an even worse experience than during the trial where the device was fitted for me and correctly before sitting in my seat. Again whilst the subtitles were accurate, it’s the practicality of using the device that left me feeling a bit disheartened by it all. For a start, collecting a device at the point that you purchase the ticket, and then having to carry it around. It is not very heavy but it is bulky. Trying to juggle carrying that whilst also purchasing popcorn, and then what if you want a toilet visit prior to being allowed into the cinema to take your seat? What do you do with the piece of kit you are carrying around? (I hope the cinema’s that provide these devices consider hygiene and that they are wiped clean after each use).

    Back in the UK and open subtitled cinema screenings has been a bit of mixed bag. I failed to get to see Star Trek into Darkness with subtitles because the advertised subtitled screening I wanted to go to got cancelled. More recently though I did get to successfully go to a subtitled screening of Man Of Steel. A life long fan of Superman, Man of Steel is actually the first ever Superman-related subtitled cinema screening I have attended. To be able to hear all the dialogue prior to the movies DVD release and turning on the subtitles months after struggling to watch it without is a complete joy and something I suspect hearing people take for granted (I can’t tell you the number of movies I’ve re-watched on DVD with the subtitles on after its cinema release to find myself thinking ‘Oh, so that’s what they said, now I get it!’).

    Will the UK see personalised subtitling solutions in cinemas? The CEA don’t have an answer for that just yet. Since the feedback from the trials was mixed and sometimes conflicting I hope that there are more trials to come before committing to the right technological solution. The CEA have said that if/when there is further progress they will make this known so keep an eye on the CEA website.

    • Richard Turner 10:19 pm on July 9, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Great blog. I do feel in the future that personalised captioning is the only way that cinema will become fully accessible. However it is work in progress.


  • iheartsubtitles 10:24 pm on February 26, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , DVD,   

    The DVD media format – is it the best example of closed captioning and subtitles workflow? 

    Screen shot of the Video Caption Reader logo explaining captions will appear if a decoder is connected to your TV and video recorder.

    Video Caption Reader – Some VHS players could decode captions that were provided on some VHS releases.

    Remember the above? When the DVD replaced the VHS it was a revolution in access to media for those of us that use subtitles or closed captioning. No longer did you require the more expensive end of the market of VHS players capable of decoding a captioning track that only some released titles on VHS had available. Distributors started to supply captions and subtitles with many titles released on the DVD format. And so I have heard many say that the DVD supply chain is the best subtitle or captioning model to follow when it comes to other ways that we are now choosing to view our media content be it streamed or downloaded to and from multiple devices. On a general level I would agree with this statement but there are still issues with it which I will discuss in this post.

    • Regions – DVD distribution globally is split into regions. This allows distributors to control release dates, content and price, according to the region in which it is being sold. I don’t actually think there is any benefit to the consumer for this, it is only a benefit to the distributors themselves. Please comment and correct me if you think otherwise. In fact when it comes to subtitles or captions it can lead to much frustration. To give an example, a region 1 DVD for a particular title may be subtitled or captioned, but in another region it is not. This can be for a variety of reasons. Sometimes it is because different distributors are responsible for the DVD release in different regions. Has anyone reading had to buy a different region DVD to their home region in order to get access to captioning or subtitles? I have.
      Animated GIF of a scene from the TV series Due South

      TV Series Due South, Region 1 DVD has English subtitles, Region 2 does not. Why? Because the different regions have different distributors responsible for the DVD rights. IMAGE SOURCE: tumblr

      My DVD home region is region 2 but the DVD release of one of my favourite TV shows Due South is not provided with subtitles because the distributor for region 2 Due South DVD has not provided them on the disc. Instead I had to purchase a Region 1 DVD released by a different distributor who has provided captions and subtitles on the disc. In order to play this disc however I have to ensure that my DVD player is multi-regional. What was a simple work-flow has become complicated by the creation of different regions for the sale of DVD media to the consumer.

    • Not all distributors choose to provide subtitles or captions for every single release. It is probably fair to say however that the DVD is the most widely subtitled/captioned format.
    • Many distributors for reasons I cannot understand do not subtitle media that they consider exempt. This is often applied to DVDs on sports, music (see my blog post here), and documentaries. Why should any of these be exempt?
    • DVD labelling – You would think that distributors could get this right. Now on the whole they do but I have purchased DVDs which according to the labelling has subtitles available only to find that when I insert the disc into my DVD player, there are no subtitles available. Even worse, some distributors are missing out on potential sales by not making it clear on labelling that subtitles are available for titles (this is a much rarer occurrence in my experience). This situation worries me more than it did recently. Over recent weeks in the UK there have been announcement of the closure of high street stores and DVD stockists HMV and Blockbuster. Changes in buying habits from the high street to online and from DVD to download have been some of the claimed reasons for the closure of these stores. I fear that the subtitle user has much more to lose from this. This is because online shops don’t always provide the information to the consumer for DVD titles as to whether subtitles are available. When this information isn’t listed online I have often picked up the DVD media in the shop to check the labelling which usually does provide this info. I might not be able to do this for much longer*. Moreover it is subtitle users that are probably more likely to purchase the DVD format over downloads or streaming since these formats currently are rarely subtitled.

    Do I want to go back to VHS? Of course not, DVD has certainly seen a massive step in the right direction with subtitles and captions availability. Wouldn’t it be nice if the new ways in which we are choosing to watch media eventually does even better than the DVD with subtitles and caption availability? Get rid of regions, provide captions for all titles – including music, sports, documentaries, and make it clear when subtitles and captions are available.

    *A fantastic resource for those in region 2 DVD and Blu-Ray zones is DVD subtitles which tries to correct where labelling and/or online shops go wrong. It provides detailed analysis of subtitle availability for all aspects including extras on DVD discs. This information is collated by volunteers so do help contribute if you find this useful. I know I do.

    • codeman38 1:53 pm on February 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      The situation with captioning on “Due South” is even weirder than you’ve suggested here.

      There are two different Region 1 releases of the show; it was originally distributed by a Canadian company (being a Canadian show), but then a US studio picked it up and started handling distribution on the American side of the border. The original Canadian release, which is still sold in Canada, is captioned. The US re-release isn’t.


    • iheartsubtitles 1:57 pm on February 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      Thanks for the info. The inconsistency is a nightmare!


    • Nick Tee 3:02 pm on February 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I thought you might be interested to see that the US Department of Education has just published in January 2013 – the first Research paper on the link between the use of subtitles and the ability to improve Reading and Literacy skills.

      This is wonderful for all of us here at Zane Education – and those of you that are supporting the use of captions. Although extensive research has been done by different parties over the last 20 years into this link, this is the first research published by a Government organisation. Furthermore most of those researchers have been forced to use either children’s Hollywood Movies or Karaoke videos.

      However here at Zane Education we provide subtitles on K-12 curriculum-based videos which enables each child or student to improve their reading and literacy skills AT THE SAME TIME they are studying school subjects in the classroom or at home.

      With the publishing of this Research we might all start to see a much wider acceptance and awareness of the value of subtitles beyond those who think subtitles are simply of use to the hearing impaired.

      Here is a link to that Research document:



      • iheartsubtitles 10:15 pm on February 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        Hi Nick, thank you for the link. It is great that the value of captioning is being recognised in more areas.


    • happyzinny 9:16 pm on February 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply

      I downloaded the first episode of a massively popular series- I think it was Game of Thrones- off iTunes and was bitterly disappointed by the lack of subtitles. Perhaps they’ve added them by now, but this consumer is afraid of getting burned again!


      • iheartsubtitles 10:13 pm on February 27, 2013 Permalink | Reply

        iTunes does support closed captioning but for reasons I fail to understand the distributors often don’t provide them. They did for the DVD format, why stop for downloads? iTunes should listed when closed captions are available – you can filter searches to show only those results. I haven’t done this for a while because the results were so few titles. I hope this improves.


  • iheartsubtitles 10:31 am on January 17, 2013 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , DVD   

    Universal blu-ray DVDs – uHear™ 

    Looking at my blog stats I can see which of my posts have received the biggest number of hits, and the search terms being used that bring people to my blog. By a long shot the most popular post and term is something I had to research myself and couldn’t find much on when I blogged about it over a year ago, and that is Universal blu-ray DVD featured called uHear™. Turns out its not actually that complicated a thing. It is a feature that allows viewers who might not always have the subtitles or closed captioning turned on to “rewind” the blu-ray DVD they are watching by 15 seconds and the subtitles will display. The idea being this featured would be used by hearing people who can’t make out the dialogue for certain scenes.

    Universal now have an explanation of this feature and how to use on their website:

    Experience BD-Live – uHear – Universal Studios Home Entertainment Hi Def.

    You can see my original post on this here. I would like to say I have used it but then I have the subtitles on all the time and so I never need to rewind to hear the dialogue! It is nice to see that something provided for access reasons its being marketed at another audience.

  • iheartsubtitles 9:03 pm on June 2, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: DVD,   

    Music Concert DVD’s # song plays # – why no lyrics? 

    First off, if there are any fans reading, this is not an attack on the band Take That. I am a fan. Why else would I own some of their DVDs?  I am just using them as an example to illustrate something that I find puzzling about music concert DVDs. More often than not there are no subtitles at all. Sometimes when there are subtitles it is only for the spoken dialogue. For example the DVD feature – behind the scenes of Take That’s Beautiful World tour is very helpfully subtitled. Here’s an example:

    Take That - Beautiful World DVD

    Behind the scenes, documentary, commentary, interviews are subtitled.

    For that I am grateful. But why isn’t the main feature – the concert on the DVD subtitled? Take That’s The Circus Tour DVD– no subtitles Is this down to lyrics and copyright? And if that is the case, why then if the same songs and therefore the same lyrics air on TV those lyrics are then subtitled. In this case the TV channels are doing a better job than the DVD distributors. If its down to copyright does that mean technically TV channels shouldn’t subtitle lyrics? That’s absurd as well. The inconsistency is confusing. I’ve read somewhere (I wish I could remember where) that concert DVD’s are sometimes listed as ‘E’ Exempt from requiring subtitles. Why?! I would like concerts on DVD to be fully subtitled to include song lyrics. On my Twitter account I asked if anyone knows if the DVD box sets of Glee are subtitled and include the lyrics. I never got an answer from anyone which is a shame as I’d of liked to have included the info in this post. For those that don’t know Glee is a popular US musical drama series. When broadcast on UK TV of course the songs and lyrics are subtitled – it would be impossible to follow without. I don’t see anything different about music concert DVDs. The only music concert DVD I own that does include subtitled lyrics along with dialogue is Michael Jackson’s This Is It:

    The entire main feature is subtitled, including the song lyrics.

    This was released as a movie so perhaps is categorised differently as a movie DVD which isn’t “exempt”, but again, why different rules/approaches for different DVDs? Can anyone shed any light on this?

    • Meghan 8:00 pm on June 3, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      I have a few regular movie DVDs that does not have captions or subtitles, and plenty of music/concert DVDs with no captions/subtitles as well. Michael Jackson’s This Is It is the only one fully caption AND subtitled (although I was pleasantly surprised to see MJ’s Moonwalker DVD offered English subtitles for spoken parts, I don’t recall the VHS tape even being captioned). I can understand music/concert DVDs not always having the captions/subtitles available, as it’s songs/lyrics, and lyrics are pretty easy to find online if one really wants to understand the songs word for word. For the most part, non-captioned concert DVDs do not bother me much, as I understand the songs enough from listening to them over and over and over and over on my ipod or computer. It could also be the productor of the DVDs just do not think to include captions/subtitles. Most musicians/record labels probably just do not think about it when the DVDs are being made. I don’t know. Whoever produces the DVDs, I’m sure, will all have their own rules/guidelines/etc.


    • Page 888 4:21 pm on June 6, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Hi, the Atomic Kitten DVD “Be With Us” contains a subtitle track with subtitles in German, Spanish, Italian and French – but not English. The DVD is exempt from classification. The All Saints DVD “The Videos” contains English subtitles to all of the music videos featured, although they describe the subtitles as ‘English song lyrics’. This DVD is also exempt from classification. The “Now” series of music videos DVDs do not contain any subtitle tracks at all.


    • Fred Evans 6:38 pm on April 28, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Why do the DVD industry assume that people with hearing disabilities do not watch music DVDs? I am hard of hearing and I am a big fan of classic rock. There are many DVDs that feature classic rock artists but they are not subitled!


    • iheartsubtitles 7:59 pm on April 28, 2015 Permalink | Reply

      Hi Fred, thanks for commenting. My suspicion is that it is less to do with an assumption that those with a hearing loss aren’t music lovers, but more to do with the annoyingly complex issue of lyrics and copyright. 😦


    • elenagmaroto 12:22 pm on December 25, 2016 Permalink | Reply


      I work for a company that provides closed captions and SDH among other services and one of our clients in particular (just one) always asks us for CC for music content media (concerts, documentaries…). It might not be 100% related to your post but every time I’ve said I do this, people get all puzzled (even my workmates) because they just assume the deaf and hard of hearing have no interest in this kind of content, that it’s kind of cruel. That’s just ignorance and prejudice but I can’t help but think that it is the same disease some distributors suffer from (and it’s their loss; their loss of money, too).

      Also, I just want to say that including the lyrics is the easiest part from a subtitler point of view when captioning musical content and it’s just outrageous that copyright gets in the way. Whenever I come across plot-relevant music with lyrics on the media I’m working on, I have to ask for permission to include them.

      Thank you for your blog, I love it!


      • iheartsubtitles 5:15 pm on January 4, 2017 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you for your comment, please educate your colleagues that a lack of hearing does not mean a lack of interest in music. Point them to this blog! Just a search on social media sites should illustrate how popular music is amongst the deaf and HOH community who will often share subtitled/captioned music videos.

        Liked by 1 person

  • iheartsubtitles 8:37 pm on January 27, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , DVD, , , ,   

    Cinema, smart phones and subtitles/closed captions 

    As lucky as I am to be living in an area where subtitled cinema screenings are available sometimes I struggle to make them because the times available don’t match my lifestyle (I can’t go to the cinema at 2pm on a weekday as much as I’d like to, I have to work during those hours for example).  The obvious answer is to wait until the movie comes out on DVD and unless your really unlucky, thankfully most DVDs will provided closed captioning or subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing. But some movies are meant to be seen on the big screen right? And what if you have a DVD that does not have closed captions or subtitles available? If you have a smart phone there is an option that whilst I don’t think is anywhere near as good as going to a subtitled screening or watching a subtitled DVD, it does at least offer an alternative that is better than struggling with no help at all.

    For the iPhone there is an app available simply called subtitles. Once you’ve downloaded the app you can search for the film you want subtitles for. The app then searches the database from opensubtitles.org to see if they are available. Here is its first limitation, the film you want might not be available (just today I searched for The Kings Speech – none available). However there is a large database, and I was able to find subtitles for two movies – The Other Guys, and The American which I downloaded and used to go to a non-subtitled screenings at my local cinema last year. Once you have downloaded the subtitles you can then view them on your iPhone screen. The app gives you control and it is up to you to sync the subtitles with film audio and press play as soon as the movie starts. Here in is another limitation as it can be tricky to get it right but to be fair it took me less than a minute to get the timing right at the beginning of the film (for someone with a more severe hearing loss I wonder how easy that might be?) I did have to keep redoing this when the subtitles occasionally would lose sync again. Whether this is a technical limitation of the app or an error in the subtitling file itself I don’t know. I suspect the latter. The most impressive thing about the app for me is the text itself is easy to read and you can also control how bright or dim the text appears for the comfort of your own reading and the lighting within the cinema itself. You can make your screen very dim so not to annoy other people watching the movie with bright light glaring from your phone and the text still remains easy to read and follow. This is well thought out and considered. For another detailed user review of this app complete with screen grabs etc visit Able Bodied.

    The subtitles app is free to download and despite some of the limitations that I’ve mentioned, ultimately I think its fantastic that it has been developed and created and I know now that I can always try it and search for subtitles to use at no extra cost to me. This is a great example of new technology providing greater access with little cost.

    Sticking with the iPhone for a moment, even at the cinema and on your DVD, any trailers for upcoming releases are not subtitled or captioned.  Make sure you download the CaptionFish Trailers app which allows you to watch movie trailers complete with the subtitles/captions.  This too is free to download. Brilliant 🙂 Note: Since the company is US based, the trailers provided will predominantly be the US trailers and not the international versions which are sometimes different.

    For those without an iPhone, an alternative to the iPhone subtitles app reviewed above comes from David King (@oodavid on twitter) who voluntary developed a free application that should work on most modern phones and allow it to display subtitles – check out oosubtitles! That’s clever right? And if anyone else knows of any more alternatives please comment and let me know.

    • amy 6:38 pm on January 29, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      seriously cool. thanks for sharing. we don’t have cc for movies in our area at all. my son is an implant user but really needs captions at the movies. I am not sure he’d really be able to follow the captions on the phone and the movie as well- and there is the detail that i don’t have an iphone LOL. but this is pretty NEATO!


    • jane 12:46 am on January 30, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Thank you for this info. My mother who is deaf is thrilled to know about this. She recently purchased an iphone to be able to communicate through text and facetime (she is an amazing lip reader). To be able to visit a new release movie is an exciting prospect.


    • Bill 3:50 pm on March 13, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      There is an app for Droid called “SubtitlePlayer” that sounds the same


    • Bill 4:00 pm on March 13, 2011 Permalink | Reply

  • iheartsubtitles 1:53 pm on January 16, 2011 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: DVD, ,   

    Funny Bollywood subtitles (via www.Sozialgeschnatter.de) 

    Bollywood is not a genre I am particularly familiar with but it seems it too has its bizarre and funny moments when it comes to subtitles. Check out the blog post below for some examples and screen caps.

    “When I asked you to blow, why do you suck?” Bollywood subtitles from hell – posted on the page “Paagal Subtitle”: This fine site is a side project of the Beth Loves Hollwood blog (Twitter: bethlovesbolly). And there’s a lot more from where this came from: “Shut up.. I’m trying to think.. you know how hard it is..” [caption id=”attachment_2769″ align=”aligncenter” width= … Read More

    via http://www.Sozialgeschnatter.de

  • iheartsubtitles 5:00 pm on December 7, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , DVD,   

    More subtitles as art 

    As a follow up to this post, I discovered  the work of artist Jason Bryant.   One of his pieces of work is Rubric, a series of four paintings with added subtitles with a twist:

    Based on source images of iconic black and white stills from classic Hollywood films like The Wild One (1947) starring Marlon Brando, and Bringing Up Baby (1938) starring Katharine Hepburn and Carey Grant, Bryant builds canvases that evoke a dramatic, cinematic format. He then adds subtitles to the bottom of the composition, creating dissonance between the overall image and the meaning of the copy. These subtitles are either of Bryant’s own creation or plucked from the cultural landscape of song lyrics and movie dialogue ultimately changing the complexion of the original film still.

    SOURCE: Juxtapoz Magazine

    In an interview with NY Arts magazine, Bryant explains his purpose in using different subtitles:

    “My love for film has always carried over into my work, so with this series I used film stills from the 1940s and 50s, like Crisis and Bringing Up Baby, and cropped them to enhance the cinematic narrative and add a bit of mystery to the figures in the paintings. I wanted to take these images a bit further to bring the viewer in, so I created my own subtitles to talk about and explore modern-day issues. I’m not trying to change a person’s perspective, but by seeing a recognizable image that draws the viewer in, and combining that with the subtitles, I offer a new way of perceiving the familiar. In a sense, I re-edit the past, and inject it into a modern way of dealing with things. I really like working with images from this time in film because it was a less diluted form of today, a purer form of life and film. When I add the subtitles to these images it blatantly states something contemporary and pulls the film into today.”

    SOURCE: NY Arts magazine

    What do you think? I’m a movie fan so I like the source material:

    Rubric by Jason Bryant, adds subtitles to a series of paintings

    Rubric by Jason Bryant, adds subtitles to a series of paintings

    A not so artistic, but similar thing is being done for fun online.  Taking screen grabs from a movie  DVD  and imposing subtitles from an entirely different movie on top to the scene.  It can lead to some pretty funny results although it often relies on the reader understanding where both sources are from for the joke to be understood.  If your curious there are ten pages worth over at Something Awful.  Enjoy!

    • Heather Freeman 5:41 pm on December 7, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I dug up a couple more of Bryant’s Rubric series here: http://raandeskgallery.com/artist.php?artistId=7 (Threshold of Revelations and Fairness).

      Interesting idea, though he seems to be concentrating more on the cropping effect than the subtitles – in most of these, they seem anticlimactic or just out of context rather than really adding another level of meaning.


      • iheartsubtitles 8:42 pm on December 7, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Hi Heather thanks for the link to more of Bryant’s work. I agree with your comments. I do like how it appears to make something you think is familiar seem unfamiliar.


    • ccacblog 10:45 am on December 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      We love this article – hope to read it again and find a way to create something for the CCAC too :-).
      All the best, Lauren
      Join the CCAC here: http://www.ccacaptioning.org – free membership; good collaborations world-wide
      Blog with us here: ccacblog.wordpress.com


  • iheartsubtitles 9:09 pm on November 30, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: DVD,   

    Streaming content – how not to provide access 

    The last 5-10 years have given us different platforms from which to obtain TV programmes and movies.  And with it have come new services including online streaming of content.  In the US and Canada one such service is Netflix.  It But last week the company made a decision which has proved unpopular.  The decision in the USA to increase the cost of DVD rental (for which a greater amount is subtitled/captioned) making it more costly than the option to watch streamed content for which far less choice is available with subtitles or closed captioning available.  It’s been described as a ‘deaf tax’ and I think people are rightly angry. For a more detailed analysis of the history of Netflix and closed captioning make sure you read Don’s Blog.  And if you are angry about this Deaf Politics are urging USAers to unsubscribe from Netflix and let them know here. Some are trying to do what Netflix should be doing in the first place. Using online resources this blog currently lists streamed titles from Netflix for which they have sourced subtitles/closed captions.  And this  wiki site makes it easier to search titles where closed captions are available because in the words of the site developer:

    I’ve started this wiki because Netflix sees no reason to offer a category on their site to identify captioned movies. (Of course, they do offer a category for HD streams, but captions are apparently not important enough.) YouTube and Hulu both have the option to search only for captioned movies, so the omission of such a category on Netflix is particularly surprising– and thus, for the meantime, I’ve decided to take this matter into my own hands

    Clearly there is a demand then, and if a consumer can provide the service, it should be well within the capabilities of a company to pull the resources to provide it in the first place.

    In the UK, Netflix is not available but there is a similar service from Love Film. I would remind any such company providing this service that ensuring subtitles/closed captioning is available is a service that can be used by ALL consumers.  For example anybody regardless of hearing ability who might choose to watch streamed content via their computer or smart phone is not going to have the same quality audio that can be provided via TV. In addition the environment that they are in when watching streamed content might not be quiet! Or they might have to use headphones – having subtitles available would ensure nothing would be missed by anyone. It’s that simple.

  • iheartsubtitles 10:15 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: DVD,   

    Sherlock – storytelling through visual text 

    The BBC’s Sherlock has proved to be a hit. Much of this is surely down to a clever re-imagining of the characters placing them in a modern setting with modern technology. Those of you who have watched it will know this already but I wanted to share something a little off topic. What I really enjoy in watching the episodes is the way that visual clues are displayed to the viewer in a creative way with text graphics. Whilst this is not closed captioning or subtitling it is on screen text and so I am including it in this blog.

    For example, this Sherlock makes constant use of his and other people’s mobile phones to carry out his work. Rather than have an obligatory camera shot of someone holding a mobile phone followed by a close up shot of said message on the phone, the text is creatively added in post production to the shot and placed in a prominent position on screen. Far from being distracting I really felt it added to the story telling.

    Sherlock sends a text message to DI Lestrade:

    Sherlock - text message - on screen typography

    When Sherlock sent the same text message to all journalists at a press conference, the text was displayed multiple times representing all the mobile phone text messages being read:

    Sherlock - text message - on screen typography

    Although not obvious from the screen caps the text was animated on and off screen but in a simple and effective way so not to draw any more attention to it than is needed.

    Watson reads a text message on his phone:

    Sherlock - text message - on screen typography

    This technique is repeated in all episodes and is also used for non-text clues including a graffiti tag. I hope this style of storytelling continues when the series returns. For the record, the region 2 DVD does come with subtitles/closed captioning available. The making of is also subtitled. However the commentaries are not. *sigh* Very frustrating!

    And to get this blog a little bit more on topic I recently came across a tweet with a link to a Flickr account containing selected key scenes from movies and TV with the closed captioning also screen grabbed to illustrate the key impact of the dialogue in the chosen scene. Check it out here. I like the idea. I could have a lot of fun doing that with my own DVD collection. What scenes of closed captioning dialogue would you choose as a key scene/dramatic impact?

    I chose this one for Sherlock:

    Sherlock - English subtitles

    Edit: Not related at all to the BBC’s Sherlock series but thought I would share this Russian animation for Sherlock Holmes subtitled into English on You Tube. Enjoy!

    • chris bradley 11:49 pm on November 12, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      i think you could have a lot of fun CCing horror movies. I am not the ghoulish type but it strikes me that descriptions such as ” she screams loudly” could easily be jazzed up with some good descriptive analogies.
      How about ” she yells like a cat giving birth to a telephone box” or some such nonsense.


      • iheartsubtitles 11:58 am on November 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        I am sure there are some great ones out there already when it comes to audio description. Music descriptions especially can be very imaginative.


    • Artie Hippley 3:44 am on November 13, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Very Nice website. I just finished mine and i was looking for some ideas and your website gave me some. Did you develop the website alone?



      • iheartsubtitles 12:00 pm on November 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Thank you for the kind words. All the ideas displayed on this site are my own yes. Just years of observation and analysis and of course changes in technology. I decided I ought to write some of it down. And so here it is. Hope you enjoy it and come back to read more. 🙂 Good luck with your site.


    • chris bradley 8:04 pm on November 13, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      It’s got to be said that’s there’s something truly beautiful about subtitles as an expression of both, the spoken and printed word. A sort of marriage of the two.
      I will never forget the closing words, and therefore, subtitles of A I, the Spielberg film. It is a real breathing out moment as the story i have read/watched, concludes with the little boy falling asleep for the first time and going ” to the place where dreams are born ”


      • iheartsubtitles 12:03 pm on November 15, 2010 Permalink | Reply

        Yep. The spoken word written down can sometime emphasis the meaning. I felt the same way with the last lines of dialogue subtitled for American Beauty:

        You have no idea what I’m talking about, I’m sure. But don’t worry… you will someday.


    • Sonia 8:30 pm on November 28, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I really enjoyed the use of text in the first episode, and I hope they continue with the trend. I’ve been trying to show A study in pink to my mother on pbs.org site. But she needs closed captions. Does anyone know if there is an option for closed captions in the online viewing? And if so how do you turn them on?


    • Katya 4:56 pm on January 25, 2011 Permalink | Reply

      Just cross posted this lovely blog on my tumblr http://findingsherlock.tumblr.com/

      This is a perspective of the updated version of Sherlock that I would love to hear more about. Lovely blog in general. Thanks!


      • iheartsubtitles 5:01 pm on January 25, 2011 Permalink | Reply

        Hi Katya – thanks very much. Nice tumblr blog. I’m a fandom lurker myself 🙂 I am hoping the new series continues using text on screen in a creative way, I really like it.


  • iheartsubtitles 8:03 pm on October 9, 2010 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: DVD,   

    Censored subtitles – your f***ing joking! 

    Recently I came across an article that discussed the battle of censorship in subtitling movies and translating an offensive word with something more acceptable in the subtitles. You can read it here.  This is a completely alien concept to me I must admit. I cannot ever recall watching subtitles on UK TV or on a DVD and finding the subtitles replace the language being spoken with a less offensive word. Of course the vast majority of films I watch are in the English language and are American, British, Australian, Canadian etc. Perhaps our culture’s are less offended?  According to the same article other regions of the world require a more conservative dialogue.  The difference here is that the subtitles are then not same language subtitles but a translation from English to the native language of the country.  But assuming that the films still must pass censorship boards for all its content – not just the language – it strikes me as a little extreme.  Shouldn’t translations be as accurate as possible?  The writer or director chose such words for a reason – to convey a particular message – changing it risks losing the dramatic effect – whether it be for shock, emotion or comedy. I’d love to hear from anyone who has come across such censorship or if you have a different view and think its a good thing.

    It reminds me of the extras on Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz DVD’s. The distributor requires the film makers to provide a softer version for TV/aeroplane  viewership etc thus resulting in some of the offensive language being dubbed by the actors by different words.  I found the Hot Fuzz version on You Tube but to put the fun back in, I have added subtitles both for the replacement dialogue dub and what the original ‘offensive’ language was. To be honest, it’s really not difficult to guess! Enjoy!

    Last week saw the UK TV Premiere of Hot Fuzz on the channel ITV. The director Edgar Wright asked on Twitter for people to let him know if any of the TV safe dialogue was used to replace the offensive language. Since I was watching the film with subtitles on I was able to tweet the evidence that ITV had kept in the ‘offensive’ language and this too was reflected in the subtitles, as I think it should be:

    • codeman38 10:11 pm on October 9, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I’ve actually seen something related happen on a few post-watershed shows here in the States: the audio is completely uncensored, but the captioning is censored. Usually not replaced with other words, either; they’ll do things like “s—” or “b!#@$”. Nobody’s entirely sure why this is done, but the general concensus seems to be that the station wanted to use the same masters for later airings earlier in the day with censored dialogue and didn’t want to have to do the captioning twice.

      Of course, I’ve seen the opposite happen, too: movies shown in the daytime where the dialogue was censored… but the captioning wasn’t.


    • iheartsubtitles 3:26 pm on October 10, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      If offensive language is bleeped out in the audio then yes it should be bleeped out in the subtitles also – that I agree with – because it is still an accurate translation. In fact there should be a notification that it there has been a [BLEEP] so that a deaf viewer is aware that this is the case and that they are not missing out on any words. This is common practice that I have observed on UK TV subtitles.


    • Len Van Renterghem 8:58 pm on November 9, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      I translated and subtitled Hot Fuzz into Dutch for a commercial TV channel in Belgium. ‘Offensive’ words weren’t bleeped out in the original video, so I included them in the subtitles. However, as the channel is considered a ‘family channel’, I was asked to translate them a bit more euphemistically.


    • iheartsubtitles 9:36 pm on November 9, 2010 Permalink | Reply

      Ah ok, interesting, thanks for the info 🙂


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