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Syncing Up with Automatic Sync

March 2011 Volume 6
Automatic Sync offers broadcasters, educational institutions and government agencies a transcribing and captioning service for media. CaptionSync was funded by a US Department of Education grant to research and develop a cost-effective way to automate the process of making media accessible to comply with a variety of federal and state and local laws.

Cover Story

NBC Learn Captions its Archives with CaptionSync

NBC Learn is the education arm of NBC News, making the video archives of NBC News available to teachers, students, schools and universities. The extensive video archive at NBC Learn will be a valuable asset for K-12 and Higher Ed institutions alike. Automatic Sync Technologies (AST) is proud to have been selected as the captioning provider for NBC Learn. AST’s CaptionSync service will be providing closed captioning for video appearing on the NBC Learn website.

NBC Learn Logo

The NBC Learn archive contains thousands of videos covering a broad range of topics. Making that content widely accessible was an essential component of the NBC Learn project. Michael Levin, Director, Sales Operations for NBC Learn says, “Making the valuable content in the NBC Learn archives as accessible as possible is very important to NBC, not just to meet compliance requirements, but also to make this content accessible to the broadest possible audience. AST's CaptionSync is a great solution for our needs -- allowing us to caption a vast amount of material very quickly and easily.”

In the past few months, NBC Learn has captioned thousands of video clips using CaptionSync. Check out the archive at to see examples of AST’s captioning on the NBC Learn website.

Company News

AST Announces Spanish Language Captioning

Keyboard showing Spanish characters

AST is pleased to announce that Spanish language transcription, captioning and subtitling are now available through our CaptionSync service. For several years CaptionSync has provided an efficient and cost-effective captioning solution for English media and that same high level of service is now available to our clients with Spanish media files. Whether you are providing your own transcripts or need AST to produce the transcript for you, we can easily accommodate your Spanish media. CaptionSync now supports all of the special characters used in Spanish, and those characters will render correctly in all of the caption and subtitle output formats which support them.

AST se complace en anunciar que los servicios de transcripción, capción y subtitulación en español están ahora disponibles a través de CaptionSync. Durante varios años, CaptionSync ha proporcionado una solución eficiente y económica para la producción de capciones para medios en inglés. Ahora, este mismo servicio de alta calidad está disponible para nuestros clientes que tengan contenido en español. Sin importar si usted proporciona sus propios textos o necesita que AST se los produzca, podemos fácilmente trabajar con audio y video en español – con los símbolos en español fielmente reproducidos en todos los formatos de capción y subtítulos que respaldamos.

Customer Spotlight

Cisco Systems Customers Benefit from Captions

Cisco Systems, Inc. is the worldwide leader in networking for the Internet. Today, networks are an essential part of business, education, government and home communications, and Cisco Internet Protocol-based (IP) networking solutions are the foundation of these networks. The Cisco name has become synonymous with the Internet, as well as with the productivity improvements that Internet business solutions provide.

Cisco TV is a division of Cisco Systems that produces and manages video for both Internal and External delivery. Cisco TV uses Automatic Sync Technologies as a provider of closed captioning for the Video Data Sheets (VDS) that are posted on VDS are video presentations providing unique insight, features and benefits about Cisco products, and are usually hosted by the Cisco product managers or engineers. Cisco TV started using CaptionSync to caption this content in 2010 and now captions the majority of the new VDS it posts.

Cisco uses closed captioning from Automatic Sync for ADA compliance and also to help make their videos more easily understood for their global customers.


TECH APPLICATION recommends AST to Clients

Theo Mayer, Senior Technology Advisor for Tech Application has chosen AST as a provider for closed captioning for webcasts. Tech Application's mission is to conceptualize, define, develop and implement effective programs that apply new technologies to organizations and businesses.

Department of Homeland Security Logo

One of Tech Application's clients is the US Department of Homeland Security which uses webcasting to reach a large audience with its content in a very cost effective way. The Department's web channel hosts hundreds of hours of media. The site gets 40,000 unique visitors per month currently, and this number has grown every month since the site was launched in 2008. Since 2010, TechApplication has used AST to caption Homeland Security's public Webcasts so that they are accessible to all viewers as well as 508 compliant.

Theo Mayer says, "We are solidly ahead of the curve with regard to 508 compliance thanks to Automatic Sync Technologies. They are an affordable solution and I will continue to recommend their services to all government agencies who want to make their content accessible."

AST is proud to be a part of this important project.

Legislative News

21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act Becomes Law

The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act was signed into law by President Obama in October (2010). The new law brings the ADA into the digital age by significantly improving communication technology & media experiences for the hearing and visually impaired. Features of the new law include:

President Obama signing the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act
  • Closed captioning for online TV programs.
  • Improved smart phone user interfaces for Web access.
  • Insures compatibility of equipment for internet phone calls and hearing aids.
  • Access to closed captioning for TV broadcasts via the remote control.
  • Audible descriptions of TV action and improved access to TV menus for the visually impaired.
  • Financial support for qualifying deaf-blind Americans needing assistive communications technology.

The ADA and FCC laws put in place 20 years ago could not have foreseen the popularity of the internet and its variety of uses. The rapid evolution of technology outpaced equal access legislation -- until now. Recent court decisions and now this legislation suggest that the government intends to fill the gaps quickly by requiring businesses to comply with accessibility standards for web services and web broadcasts.

AST can help you meet these expectations. We will be happy to work with you to figure out the appropriate process and workflow for captioning your web media. We'll help you stay on track with compliance requirements while minimizing the impact on your production schedules and reducing costs at the same time.

Partnership News

ReelSurfer Partners with Automatic Sync

AST is pleased to announce a partnership with ReelSurfer. ReelSurfer helps take your captions beyond accessibility and use them to power video search for your website, improve your SEO, and allow viewers to clip and share video easily. ReelSurfer works with several leading providers of content within the education, online video and entertainment segments. ReelSurfer can be found at

ReelSurfer Logo

AST's partnership with ReelSurfer facilitates the transcription and captioning of video assets from within ReelSurfer’s web-based video search platform. ReelSurfer is now fully integrated with AST’s CaptionSync service, allowing ReelSurfer users to caption videos with just a few mouse clicks. This new feature allows users to make their video content accessible and compliant with state and federal accessibility laws, as well as enable a powerful search capability for viewers.

The ReelSurfer platform also allows viewers to rapidly find and make clips from existing videos, making it a simple matter to find, create, and organize tailored content from your video archive.

“Captioning offers so many benefits beyond accessibility; this partnership offers many of our users a simple path to realize the powerful benefits of video search that captioning can enable,” said Brent Robertson, SVP of Marketing at Automatic Sync Technologies.

Neil Joglekar, Co-Founder of ReelSurfer adds, “Video captions are a key enabler for the search functionality that the ReelSurfer platform offers; this important addition to the ReelSurfer platform offers our users a simple and efficient workflow to get their videos captioned.”

Read more about using CaptionSync with ReelSurfer.


CaptionSync Service for Brightcove Online Video Platform

Brightcove Logo

AST recently expanded its service offerings to streamline the captioning process for users of the Brightcove video platform. Brightcove is used by some of the world's most recognized organizations and brands to deliver video to audiences on a broad variety of devices, and it recently added improved support for captions. AST now supports Brightcove's preferred caption format and has also added features that will help Brightcove users automate their workflow processes when adding captions to videos. Watch for more features to support Brightcove soon.


CaptionSync Delivers Captions for Camtasia

Automatic Sync Technologies recently announced that CaptionSync delivers captions for TechSmith’s Camtasia Studio 7.1 and Camtasia for Mac. Camtasia users can easily add captions to their videos faster and more affordably than before, thereby enhancing accessibility and usability. Additionally the captions are completely searchable, empowering viewers to quickly find relevant points in the video. These caption files are available immediately at no additional cost to AST users.

Camtasia Logo

The new Camtasia coupled with our CaptionSync caption files makes captioning scalable for any institution or business. Furthermore, captioned content in Camtasia Studio 7.1 is now searchable, powered by the closed caption data.

Because it’s now so easy to import captions into Camtasia, users can not only make their video accessible to the deaf, hard of hearing, those with learning disabilities, and those with English as a second language, but they can also deliver video search to benefit all viewers, at no additional cost.

Watch our How-To Tutorial on using CaptionSync with Camtasia for full details. More information about Camtasia Studio 7.1 and Camtasia for Mac can be found at

Tech Tidbits

AST Introduces New URL List Feature

Do you have a bunch of URLs you would like us to caption and/or transcribe, such as a list of YouTube videos, videos on your webserver or FTP site? Our new Submit a List of URLs feature can help you out! With this feature, we will download the media files for you, send them off for captioning and transcription (or transcription only) and email results back to you.

Screen shot of URL lists interface

A few things to keep in mind:

  • It works in a similar fashion to submitting a group of files via AST-Link, except we download the files for you.
  • You can add notes to the transcriber, but keep in mind that like AST-Link, they will be added to all the submissions.
  • You can choose to have results emailed either as they are completed or when the whole list is completed (this is the same as submitting as a batch with AST-Link).
  • Since this is automated, your URL needs to be to the media file itself -- not just to a page containing the media (e.g. rather than ).

If have transcription only with your account, you can submit a list to be transcribed. You just need to make sure you've selected the correct submission type first.

To enable this feature on your account, go to the help page (upper right after login) and submit a support ticket requesting the List of URLs feature.


Useful Resources

  • WHY NOT USE SPEECH REC? - Check out this very entertaining look at why you should not use speech recognition solutions for captioning.

  • HOW-TO-TUTORIALS - We're always updating and developing new web tutorials for captioning with emerging technologies. Be sure to check our website's How-To Tutorials page for updates and additions of videos for captioning with various technologies using CaptionSync.

  • HIGH TECH TRAINING CENTER - The HTCTU is an accessibility traning resource for the California Community College system, but is a offers a great resource for accessibility information and recommendations. See

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