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Syncing Up with Automatic Sync

November 2009 Volume 3
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.

Company News

AST Expands Business Focus In Europe

Automatic Sync is increasing the focus on delivering transcripts, captions and subtitles to the European market and has added Martin Laycock as European Director of Sales and Marketing. Martin brings over 20 years of experience working with higher education media capture and captioning, and resides in the UK. Automatic Sync offers English language services that are delivered via the Web, and are available 24/7. As more and more video is used to deliver instruction and communications over the Web, the need to deliver accessible media becomes a challenge. AST can help European customers comply with disability discrimination policies by providing transcripts for Podcasts and subtitles for video at an affordable price. For more information or prices, please contact


Customer Spotlight

Edustream Hosts Accessible Media For Colleges

Need a hosting partner for captioned video? Want to share your courseware with other colleges? Edustream is a cost-effective, centralized resource for providing educational institutions with the video-on-demand. Edustream is sponsored by the San Bernardino Community College District and strategic partnerships with Sungard Higher Education Managed Services and Seattle Community College Educational Television. was initially conceptualized as a means of addressing the increasing concerns of academic rigor with traditional television courses. offers educational institutions the support to embed accessible educational videos into their online content, expand staff and professional development programs, increase the reach of their workforce and economic development programs. Edustream is committed to delivering accessible media, and provides support for captioned videos and Automatic Sync can help you caption your Edustream videos. For more information about using Edustream to host your accessible video please go to:

Screen shot of Edustream elearning content with captions



Microsoft Uses Captions for Video Search

Microsoft Research has developed a library of videos of important landmarks in technology. They use Automatic Sync to provide captions and transcripts for their videos. The transcripts are made available to read independently of watching the videos. The captions are used to enable viewers to search at the word level, and to show the instances where the word occurs, allowing users to launch the video and audio at that point.

Screen shot of video with captions and search


Legislative News


California Passes AB386 Enabling Colleges To More Easily Obtain Copyright Permissions for Publishers

On October 11, 2009 Governor Arnold Schwartznegger signed into law Assembly Bill 386, a bill that facilitates the captioning of materials on campuses for deaf students.

AB 386 expands the definition of non printed instructional materials to include "audiovisual works and digital media files" from prior legislation. The bill allows public colleges and universities to create captioned versions of audiovisual works if a publisher does not respond to a written request within two weeks. The fact sheet describing AB386 can be found at: 386 Fact Sheet -Final.pdf.

Previous legislation AB 422 stated that non printed instructional materials were subject to the same conditions did not specify audiovisual works that may need captioning or other alterations to make these materials accessible to deaf or hearing impaired students. Under ADA laws, colleges are required to provide information in a format that is accessible to students with disabilities. For video, captioning would satisfy this requirement. Captioning copyrighted materials requires permission from the copyright holder, which often causes problems for colleges to obtain. Under this new law, publishers have strict guidelines for responding to requests from colleges, and if responses are not received in a timely manner, colleges are granted permission to caption the materials.

21st Century Video Communications and (HR6320) Accessibility Act of 2009 Reintroduced to Congress

The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2008, which would ensure that individuals with disabilities have access Internet Protocol-based communication and captioned video programming technologies has been reintroduced to the Congress. The bill, which would require that programming that is delivered via the Web be captioned, similar to broadcast programming.


Partnership News

AST and Ooyala Announce Captioning Partnership

AST and Ooyala, a leading video marketing company, announced the support for closed captions in the Backlot system. Backlot provides customers with video publishing, analytics and tools for monetizing video. The partnership initially focuses on enabling the addition of caption files to the Backlot system so viewers can watch captioned videos. AST can provide Backlot customers with captions in the format used by Backlot. Both companies intend to offer a more automated workflow to enable Backlot customers to upload video, specify for the video to be captioned by AST, files will be uploaded for captioning and returned to the Backlot system where they will be available to be viewed as captioned videos. For more on this please read the news. To contact Ooyala, please call: 650-961-3400.

Mediasite 5.2 Adds Video Search Using Captions

Mediasite by Sonic Foundry® provides educators, government agencies and corporate clients a complete platform to record, deliver and manage their multimedia lectures and presentations for online and blended learning, special events, training and alumni relations. Learners can watch in real-time, later on-demand or listen on-the-go with podcasts. Using CaptionSync, your Mediasite presentations can be automatically captioned to meet accessibility mandates and provide students a richer learning experience.

The 5.2 release adds the capability to search on the caption files. To read more about captioning in Mediasite 1.2. please click here.

Screen shot of Mediasite search


DECT Grant Funding Now Available for California Community Colleges--Webinar on November 18th

AST has been selected as a vendor to provide offline captioning services for distance learning programs under the DECT grant.

The College of The Canyons will host an informational workshop on Captioning for Distance Learning with Automatic Sync on November 18, 2009. Information about the webinar can be found at: For information on captioning Distance Learning materials for member California Community Colleges:

AST Info:

DECT Info:



November 5, 2009: Section 508 Coordinators Meeting; Gettysbugh, Penn.

November 3-5, 2009: Educause. Check out our partner's booths: Echo360, Mediasite, Panopto.

Tech Tidbits

New Avid File Support

AST added two new output types in the past few weeks to make it easier for Avid users to subtitle their content.  Avid DS subtitle files (.avidds.txt) can be used to import subtitle information directly into Avid using the SubCap effect (see The .aviddvd.txt subtitle files can be imported into the Avid DVD by Sonic authoring software.

iTunes and iTunesU: Creating and Finding Captioned Videos

iTunes offers various forms of accessible media including open and closed captions and subtitles. Movies that contain line 21 captions may be uploaded into iTunesU and the captions will be retained. For Web video fomats such as .m4v, the most popular video format for iTunes, captions may be added in several different manners, and Automatic Sync can provide you with the format you need. For more information about captioning Podcasts and Videos for iTunes please see:

Apple movies and lectures that contain captions are labeled with the Closed Captions (CC) symbol.

To find movies or lectures with closed captions:

1) Decide which media type you want to search. You can search within movies in the iTunes store, or you can search within iTunesU, if you have iTunesU installed.

2) Open the iTunes U store and type in any word in the "store search" field to activate the "power search".

3) Decide if you want to filter the search by media type. If you want to search for lectures, you can narrow the search to only iTunesU content.

4) Check the box that search for movies or lectures that only have closed captions, and then hit the search key. To display all closed captioned movies or lectures, leave the search field blank.

5) Once you've identified a lecture or a movie with closed captioning, you can make the captions visible in iTunes by selecting a checkbox in iTunes preferences. You will also need to do the same for your mobile device.

Screen shot of iTunesU caption search

For more information please visit:



Useful Resources


In-depth presentation on different ways to caption:

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