Trivia question: What famous female television celebrity and author hosted the very first show in the US that featured closed-captioning for the hearing impaired? In what year? Answer below….
What is the difference between “closed” and “open” captioning?
What are captions?
Captions are words displayed on a television screen that describe the audio or sound portion of a program. Captions allow viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing to follow the dialogue and the action of a program simultaneously. They can also provide information about who is speaking or about sound effects that may be important to understanding a news story, a political event, or the plot of a program.
Captions are created from the transcript of a program. A captioner separates the dialogue into captions and makes sure the words appear in sync with the audio they describe. A specially designed computer software program encodes the captioning information and combines it with the audio and video to create a new master tape or digital file of the program.
Open and closed captions
Captions may be “open” or “closed.” To view closed captions, viewers need a set-top decoder or a television with built-in decoder circuitry. Open captions appear on all television sets and can be viewed without a decoder. In the past, some news bulletins, presidential addresses, or programming created by or for deaf and hard-of-hearing audiences were open captioned. With the widespread availability of closed-caption technology, open captions are rarely used.
Answer to trivia question: On August 5, 1972, Julia Child, “The French Chef,” in a program televised from WGBH studios in Boston, taught viewers how to make one of her prized chicken recipes. The significance of that day stretched far beyond the details of the entrée to have a profound and lasting impact on human communication. It was the first time Americans who are deaf and hard-of-hearing could enjoy the audio portion of a national television program through the use of captions.
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