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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

Check out AST's new government section on our Website!

IDEAS Section 508 Conference Recap

Automatic Sync exhibited and presented at the Interagency Disability Educational Awareness Showcase (IDEAS) conference sponsored by the GSA in October in Washington, D.C. The conference was very informative, and the focus on equal opportunities for disabled people in the Obama administration was evident. Kareem Dale, Special Assistant to the President for Disability Policy spoke and indicated that additional funding and programs would be forthcoming.

The Access Board described the Section 508 update plan which includes the publication of a new set of Section 508 guidelines addressing Web 2.0, Javascript and social media to be posted for review and discussion in the November timeframe at The Federal Register at:

Dr. Pat Brogan of AST presented "Captioning Beyond Compliance". If you missed the session and would like a copy of the presentation, please email




Customer Spotlight

The White House Blog Captioned Videos

As part of President Obama's use of social networking sites, the White House Blog offers a "one stop" communications portal. Timely information and videos are posted for viewers. AST captioned this video for the National Institute of Health, which was recently posted on the White House Blog.

Photo of the White House Blog NIH video 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

21st Century Video Communications and (HR6320) Accessibility Act of 2008 Reintroduced to Congress

The 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2008 which would ensure that individuals with disabilities have access to Internet Protocol-based communication and captioned video programming technologies has been reintroduced to the Congress in 2009. The bill will require that programming that is delivered via the Web be captioned, similar to the FCC requirements for broadcast programming today.


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



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: 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.

Screen shot of iTunes with power search for captions

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 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.

For more information please visit:



Useful Resources


In-depth presentation on different ways to caption:

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