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12 Peers:

A Round Table Conversation Where New Thinking Leverages Your Creativity!

 
The Art of Closed Captioning

Closed captioning is an art form. A very overlooked art form, perhaps, but an art form nonetheless. By elevating something as mundane as monospaced characters on the screen that only a small portion of our population ever see to the level of art, it helps us understand the real value of the process and it helps us value good captioning over poor captioning.

At Paladin Media Group, we recently created a video to explain why you should caption all of your videos. You can see it here. So in this post I won’t get into the higher SEO and broader audience (far beyond the hearing impaired) that captions afford your video. Instead, the purpose of this post is to discuss some of the intricacies of captioning that you may not be familiar with. For example, onomatopoeias. Go ahead and say it, it’s just a fun word to pronounce. Onomatopoeias are the written description of sound effects. So the onomatopoeia of “door opens” might be “creak” or “creeaaaak” depending on the actual sound effect used in the film.

A study was conducted by Gallaudet University that showed that “a combination of description and onomatopoeia was the preference of more consumers (56%) than was description alone (31%) or onomatopoeia alone (13%).” This means that when captioning your project you should include the description of the sound effect, which appear in all lowercase letters enclosed in brackets, like this [gun fire], as well as the artists interpretation of the sound effect, bam-bam—bam, or plink-plink—plink, or poof-poof—poof, depending on the actual sound of the gun. When making up spellings of these sound effects you can see where you might want to employ a creative brain over a sterile one.

Another subtle detail of Closed Captions is the hyphen. When should you use a single hyphen and when should you use two? There are specific rules for this, too. How should you space your captions? What if there is on-screen text where captions typically are placed? What if a voice is heard off camera? What about a character screaming? All of these are handled in a manner that a true caption artist will handle appropriately and consistently.

At Paladin most of the material we caption is between 3 and 5 minutes long, often times they are pretty simple with a single person being interviewed, but we recently set out to caption an 85-minute documentary film. Part of this film includes protests, street preachers, and angry crowds. Fortunately, with captions you can rely on the pictures of the film to help set the seen, but really trying to set the mood of the soundtrack through text on screen can be a huge challenge.

As we set out to accomplish this, we realized that the short videos we had previously captioned were very limited compared to the types of things we would encounter in a feature-length film. In our research we came across an incredibly valuable document that was created by the Described and Captioned Media Program. This downloadable pdf will give you an incredible amount of insight into the Art of Captioning. So whether you are setting out to caption your own video or if you’re just interested in the world of captioning, take a look at this great resource.

If you do have a project that needs captioning and don’t intend to do it yourself, please give Paladin Media Group a call. We would love to help.

Kent C. Williamson is a filmmaker, the founder of Paladin Media Group, and the father of six kids. His current documentary is Stained Glass Rainbows.

TRAILER: By War & By God

In 2008 I made my first trip to Vietnam with an organization called Vets With A Mission. These Vietnam veterans all have war stories that will make your heart stop. The hell of war leaves it's mark... sometimes in the form of physical scars, but almost always in the form of mental scars. What's amazing about this particular group of veterans is their committment to reconciliation; between themselves and the people of Vietnam, between themselves and the land, and between themselves and God. The reason they return to that beautiful country is to love, serve, and care for the people there. These men have all been shaped By War & By God.

Here's the first look at the trailer for the film we at Paladin Pictures are currently producing on behalf of the Community Films Foundation and Vets With A Mission. The film is being edited by James Burgess with an original score by Will Musser.

 

 

Learn more at Vets With A Mission.

Our Approach to Filming In Schools

As one prepares to film on location, there are numerous details to take into consideration, including lighting, power requirements, room measurements, window and door placement, ceiling height, etc. But when someone prepares to film in a pre-school, kindergarten, or elementary school classroom environment, there are even more fine points to consider.

• How many students will occupy the space?

• Will Teachers’ Aids be available to assist with children?

• What materials are being taught and what is the best approach to capturing it on film?

• Will teachers be working with small or large groups or one-on-one with students?

• Will students act naturally with cameras pointed at them?

Years of filming in and around classroom environments has taught me that it is generally a good idea to take a few minutes prior to production to let the class warm-up to the camera and crew. We at Paladin do this by showing the camera to them, talking about the lens and the microphone, having them look through the viewfinder and letting them see their friends on the monitor. This only takes a few minutes, and it is amazing how quickly most children’s fears and inhibitions fade away.

Small groups of young students and one-on-one teacher-student interaction make for great moments on video. Larger groups can get a bit unruly, which may require additional work in the edit suite. If the goal is to capture specific interaction between teachers and their students, it can often be like attempting to catch lightning in a bottle. I prefer to have a minimum of two cameras rolling at all times to increase my odds of obtaining those precious words, those magical smiles, and those eyes of wonder and amazement.

The physical size of the classroom can also aid or hinder the filming experience. Medium sized rooms often work best as they provide room to move about, but not too much room for students to wander. It is nice to be able to film, and then rotate the lights on the stands to re-light with minimal adjustment for the next scene, as opposed to having to move the lights, stands, stingers, etc. to the other end of a large room. At the same time a room that is too small may cause light stands and cords to be in your shots. A phone call ahead of time to the teacher can let you know what to expect and if there are other options available.

When a film crew arrives on location it can often be like the circus has arrived in town. Vehicles, equipment, cases, and new faces are all cause for attention and distraction. People in the hallways of the school often want to know what is going on. Take time to tell them. Satisfy their curiosity and an onlooker may become someone willing to help wrangle a few of your extra students, or run a timely errand. Make sure extra space is available to stage the equipment, somewhere close by, yet away from the area of focus. Once shooting begins, it is critical that the crew become invisible, sort of the fly-on-the-wall with the camera, filming the magic of education as it happens.

Checking in at the front desk is a requirement at most schools in this day and age. It informs the school staff of your presence and helps you get the lay of the land. The secretaries and receptionists are normally very good at helping visitors acclimate to the environment. It is also a great idea to stop by the Principal’s office on the way to the shoot. Introduce the crew and tell them how excited you are to have access to their world for the day. Then get to work and be on your best behavior… lest you find yourself sitting in that dreaded chair just outside the Principal’s door!

 

Kent C. Williamson is an owner of the Paladin Media Group, a film and video production company located in Charlottesville, Virginia. As a grade school student at Dowell Elementary, he spent much of his time day-dreaming of ways to creatively film in a classroom environment.

© 2003-2015 Paladin Pictures, Inc. All Rights Reserved

 

Behind The Scenes

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We are the team to transform your concept into cinematic existence!
We are the team to transform your concept into cinematic existence!
Paladin Crew members behind the scenes managing audio and video.

The Crew At Work

Paladin Crew members behind the scenes managing audio and video.

Steve, Production Supervisor, working away transferring old media to new media for our customers.

Media Transfers

Steve, Production Supervisor, transferring old media to new media for clients like you!
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Melissa, Editor, hard at work editing Sandler Training testimonials.

Video Editing

Melissa, Editor, hard at work editing Sandler Training testimonials.
Paladin Crew making adjustments before filming a Nursing Pride video for the UVA Heath System.

Nursing Pride Project

Paladin Crew making adjustments before filming a Nursing Pride video for the UVA Heath System.
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Kent and Dan with our clients during the UVA Children’s Hospital location scout.

UVA Health System

Kent and Dan with our clients during the UVA Children’s Hospital location scout.
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Shooting an online video series “Heads Up!” for our client Head Coaching.

On Location

Shooting an online video series “Heads Up!” for our client Head Coaching.
Steve adjusting audio before filming a University of Virginia Educational video.

Audio Perfection

Steve adjusting audio before filming a University of Virginia Educational video.
Discussing the shooting details for the next University of Virginia’s Battle Building scene.

Attention to Detail

Discussing the shooting details for the next University of Virginia’s Battle Building scene.
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Paladin Crew filming at the University of Virginia Health System using a steadicam.

Steadicam Ready

Paladin Crew filming at the University of Virginia Health System using a steadicam.
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Director, Kent C. Williamson discussing logistics before filming at the UVA Health System.

Managing Logistics

Director, Kent C. Williamson discussing logistics before filming at the UVA Health System.
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This season we're now filming in 4K! Here are some of our new Blackmagic cameras are using.

Blackmagic 4K

This season we're now filming in 4K! Here are some of our new Blackmagic cameras are using.
Admiring our Paladin Media Group Box truck in the sunset.

Paladin Delivers!

Admiring our Paladin Media Group Box truck in the sunset.
Filming on location, while Tad Coffin shares the history of his saddle business.

Saddle Up!

Filming on location, while Tad Coffin shares the history of his saddle business.
Filming at the University of Virginia Health System’s beautiful Battle Building.

Battle Building Beauty

Filming at the University of Virginia Health System’s beautiful Battle Building.
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Testing the macro capabilities of one of our Blackmagic cameras.

Extreme Close Ups

Testing the macro capabilities of one of our Blackmagic cameras.

 PALADIN MEDIA GROUP | 608 Preston Avenue, Suite 102 | Charlottesville | Virginia | 22903 | 434.817.2700 

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