~ subtitles ~

Vimeo overhauls its video player, introducing closed captioning and better HTML5 support

I’m a little slow in noticing this announcement from January 7 on the Vimeo staff blog. But it’s exciting stuff, with big consequences both for filmmakers and publishers who rely on Vimeo for video hosting.

A lot has changed since we launched the last all-new version of our player, two and a half years ago:

  • Browser innovation has brought new HTML5 capabilities (full-screen viewing is now available on every major desktop browser).
  • Smartphones have gotten more powerful (and in many cases, bigger), and the variety of smartphones has increased tremendously (three years ago, when we debuted the HTML player, there were only a handful in existence.)
  • Firefox added support for H.264 on mobile, Windows, and Linux (with OS X support on the horizon).
  • The introduction of devices that support multiple kinds of inputs (e.g., touch, mouse, and pen) at the same time.

With all these advancements, it was clear that we needed a more flexible and accommodating base for our player. So we did the only thing that made sense: we rebuilt the whole thing from scratch.

The player may look (mostly) the same on the surface, but behind the scenes we rethought everything from the ground up. Our re-engineered back end means that videos load twice as fast, and we simplified the front end to make it compatible with way more devices.

New features outlined in the post include faster playback, in-player purchasing, a redesigned share screen, new accessibility features, HTML5 by default (about time!), more responsiveness, and perhaps most significantly, closed captions/subtitles support.

This last is especially important for poetry films, I think, because many of us have tended to feel that putting words on the screen by default when the poem is already included in the soundtrack is redundant and distracting… for people who don’t have hearing problems. But those who do haven’t been very well served by this approach. It should also be a lot easier to reach readers in foreign languages now (given good translations, of course).

Read the whole post, and check out the new FAQ page on Captions and Subtitles.

How to make subtitles for videos with YouTube captioning — new tutorial

Brenda Clews — sometime contributor to this forum and author of several videopoems on the main site — has knuckled down and figured out how to add subtitles to her YouTube videos using CaptionTube. Needless to say, captioning is an extremely valuable addition to videos not only for accessibility, but also to offer English translations of videopoems in other languages that can be turned off by those who know the languages. And YouTube captions in any of Google Translate’s languages can be machine-translated with a click of a button into any other. Brenda shares what she’s learned so far in a post at her blog.

Subtitles drive me mad!

Why put English subtitles on an English poetry video??

I run Viral Verse (a website like Moving Poems) which features video poetry. I regularly crawl the net for new (and old) work. For some reason I cannot figure out, poetry videos often have the verse both spoken and written. It’s horribly distracting and a total waste of the poet’s (or actor’s) voice. We can’t help but read when we see words on a screen, but having 2 voices in my head – the actor’s and mine – becomes irritating .

I’m at the point now where if the subtitles start I turn off the video. English movies don’t have English subtitles. Is poetry so bloody special that it has to be drummed into the viewer?