Webinar: Bulk Captioning Submission Tools

This webinar provides information about tools you can use that make submitting batches of videos for captioning easy.

Note: The following video should be considered an alternative to the Annotated Transcript, which contains descriptions of visual references in the media. Also, the pages listed in the Resources section are primarily text-based, and will be useful to those who do not have access to the visual content.


Annotated Video Transcript

>> Kevin Erler: Hello and thanks for joining our session today. This webinar will provide a quick overview of how to perform bulk uploads for captioning or transcription to CaptionSync. CaptionSync provides many different mechanisms for uploading content to us; this session will cover just a couple of the common ways our large volume users submit content to us — if these methods do not work for you, just give us a call to discuss your specific circumstances in more detail.

CaptionSync is a web-based transcription and captioning service; when you first log into your CaptionSync account, you will typically arrive at the “Captioning Submission” page. This is a very simple online form that allows you to submit a single video for captioning; this submission form is quick, simple, and easy if you have just a couple videos to submit … but a bit cumbersome if you have a lot.

If you have many videos to caption (or transcribe), the most common choices for bulk submission are: Submission of a list of URLs, using our Google Drive or Box integrations, using our bulk-upload app called AST-Link, or submitting via our API (that’s Application Programming Interface). All of these methods allow you to submit dozens, or even hundreds of videos at once. I’ll briefly go over each of these methods individually for you.

Before we jump in to how to use these bulk submission methods, I just want to cover a couple of housekeeping items first. When preparing for a bulk submission, you want to make sure your account default settings are all set to reflect what you want done for the incoming submissions. Many of the bulk methods allow you to override some or all of these settings when you make the submission, but it is good practice to check that these settings are all configured the way you want them before you start your bulk submission. The first thing to check is that your Submission Type is set correctly. If your CaptionSync account is configured to allow for both Captioning and Transcript-only submissions, use the “Change Submission Type” link to ensure your default type is set correctly.

Next, make sure your output options are all set up properly. These can be accessed from the “Advanced Settings” panel on the Captioning Submission page. On this panel, you choose the file formats you want returned, the caption appearance attributes such as font and color, and any special post-processing such as open-captioning that you want applied. Again, make sure you review these settings and that the default is set to capture what you want.

Finally, take a moment to review your transcription settings. These settings are accessible on the “Settings” tab. Choose “Transcription” to set the default turnaround time. Select the “Language” link to set the default language to English, Spanish, or French as appropriate. Finally, if you wish to attach a note to the transcriber for all of your bulk jobs, set this in the “Persistent Note” section. Such a note may indicate special instructions to transcribers, a link to course websites or term glossaries, or any other helpful information you can provide to the transcriber.

Ok, let’s take a look at the bulk submission methods now, starting with the URL submission. The URL submission is convenient if you have your content located on a video platform or on a webserver where you have a URL for each video. You can just provide us with a list of the URLs that you want captioned and our system will take care of fetching the videos and moving them through the process. Note that in order for this to work, the URLs must be publicly accessible so our system can reach them. It is possible to have simple password protection on your URL, so long as it is configured such that the password can be included in the URL string.

On the left-hand nav of the “Caption” tab, select “New List of URLs” to initiate a URL submission. On the URL submission screen, just enter all of the URLs that you want captioned, one URL per line. You can enter any direct URL to a media file — that is a URL that ends with a media extension like mp4 or mov — or you can enter a YouTube, Vimeo, or Dropbox URL. You can also use FTP URLs. We have a complete documentation page that gives all the details about what URLs are accepted, which I will provide a link to at the end of this session. One downside about URL submissions: because the link must be publicly accessible, this means the transmission of your video to us is not secure when you use URL submissions; the counterpoint about that is because the video content is available on another server, you can get SmartPlayer links for any submissions you make via URL.

The next method I want to discuss is our Google Drive integration. If you have a lot of content, you can archive it all in a Google Drive account and submit it all at once to us. This method solves the security issue — you can make your Google Drive videos Private and still use the integration to submit them to us. The integration is very simple to set up, and once it is configured, you can submit videos from the Google Drive interface by right-clicking on the video and selecting the “Open with CaptionSync” option. You can select multiple videos at once and submit them all at the same time. Once again, because the actual content is hosted from your Google account, you can get SmartPlayer links for all videos submitted this way, although if you set the content as Private, the SmartPlayer links will only function for viewers that are permitted access to the content. CaptionSync also offers the same functionality for Box cloud storage as well.

Note that in the case of both URL submissions and Google Drive submissions, there is no mechanism to associate a client-provided transcript with each video, so videos submitted via these methods must use CaptionSync’s transcripts.

The most popular method of bulk submission is the use our AST-Link application. AST-Link is a local application that you install on your PC or Mac. AST-Link provides you with a drag-and-drop interface to upload video files to CaptionSync. The app’s UI gives you pretty extensive control over your CaptionSync settings, so you do not need to log in to your CaptionSync account to change things like the turnaround time or the video language. AST-Link allows you to opt to provide your own transcripts if you wish. AST-Link is uploading the actual videos to CaptionSync, so to use AST-Link you must have the actual video files available, and because no URL reference is provided, you cannot generate SmartPlayer links for content submitted with AST-Link.

AST-Link is able to manage multiple CaptionSync account profiles, so if you are responsible for submitting content to many different accounts, this can all be easily managed by AST-Link.

Finally, by clicking on the “Fetch Results” tab, you can also use AST-Link to retrieve your result files when the captioning is complete.

The App installer for AST-Link is available from the Help section of your CaptionSync account (for Windows or Mac), and it is very simple to install and set up.

The last bulk submission method I want to mention today is our API. APIs are used when you want to create your own automated processes or systems that communicate directly with the CaptionSync server. CaptionSync actually offers two standard APIs: a RESTful API that will be familiar for many web application programmers, and an SFTP interface that is easy to use for simple automation scripts. While some of our users have created pretty sophisticated integrations to CaptionSync via these APIs, I want to stress that this does not need to be a big programming exercise. Building out a simple watch-folder-type automation script using the SFTP interface is something that can be created in a couple of hours and can be a huge time-saver if you have an on-going collection of content to submit. The how-to details are beyond the scope of this webinar, but if you need help putting this together, just call us and we’ll help you through it.

To summarize these four methods for bulk submissions, I prepared this little chart for you. For each method, the chart captures whether the method supports client-provided transcripts, secure video transmission, and the generation of SmartPlayer links.

One closing note before I steer you to some reference material. By default, your CaptionSync login is initially configured without many of the optional features available on CaptionSync. This is done to keep unnecessary complexity out of the UI for folks that don’t need it. For special features like AST-Link or the Google Drive Integration, you need to enable them before they will appear in the UI. To enable extra features, navigate to the “Settings” tab on your account; from here, click on “Account Features”. You can then select the service you want to add from the drop-down menu and then click on the Request button. Adding a new service will typically take about five minutes; you will receive an email notification once it is added. Next time you log into your CaptionSync account, the new feature will be available.

Captioning a small number of videos is a pretty simple matter, but when you have a large volume of material to caption, a simple workflow is critical to making the process manageable. As I mentioned at the outset of this session, we recognize that everyone’s workflows are unique and that these are very general pointers for how to deal with large volumes of material. Our Support Center is a great place to turn for more information. Our Support Center is very extensive and has tutorials on hundreds of captioning-related topics, including all of the methods discussed here. Feel free to draw on this material as you need, but if you need more individualized assistance, please reach out to us — we’ll be happy to talk through your workflow and work with you to figure out the best tools to use.

Finally, I have put together some links to the specific topics that I discussed today. We’ll post these links in the Chat and they will be available on the archived version of this webinar.

If you are ready to use any of our services, please reach out to us and we will be happy to give you one-on-one guidance for getting exactly what you need.

Thank you.


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