AutoCaption Logo
Captioning Hardware Shopping List

Guy shopping for computer & video gear

Technical Information

  Great Support

  Full System

  Minimum System

  Sample screen

  Operating Systems

  Free Encoder Software

  Time Code Readers

  Connection Diagram


The hardware you need depends on which AutoCaption features you plan to use.  Your hardware needs will change over time as your enterprise grows, media standards evolve, or captioning needs change.  But the nice thing is that you won't outgrow AutoCaption

The Basics

These two items must be at the top of your shopping list for pretty much any captioning:

  • A video source to use when timing and placing your captions.  You'll want to use a disposable medium, low resolution digital files or VHS for example, to shuttle and jog on while making your captions.  Here you have at least three options and I'm sure you can think of a few more:
    1. Use only digital files.  Pull a low resolution copy from your NLE to schedule captions on (I like 320x240 16bit RGB 555, but the choice is always yours).  Or use the VideoPrep™ utility to make a file from practically any source.  Now you can use AutoCaption's random-access/non-linear features to jog and shuttle in the media files while scheduling captions.
    2. Use a consumer tape deck and digitize yourself.  A cooperative client can use ordinary VHS by putting audio on one HiFi channel and time code on the other.  The VideoPrep utility has no trouble reading time code and adding it to the file, otherwise it just assumes the first image is 00:00:00:00 and generates time code accordingly.  Having a media file lets you take advantage of AutoCaption's random-access/non-linear features to jog and shuttle while scheduling captions.
    3. However, for the most flexibility we suggest a professional video source with a built-in SMPTE time code reader and a RS-422 remote port.
  • AutoCaption and your Windows® computer.  We'll give you one of our interfaces to control the video source and a PCI card to digitize video for on-screen previewing.

To Make Approval Tapes

If you want to make approval copies for your clients (and you should) you'll probably want add these items:

  • An inserter/encoder to add captions to the video stream from your video source.
  • A consumer VHS video recorder for approval copies.

Get Approval Over the Internet

Just make a Timed Text file and put it on your site with a media file.  That way clients can stop by and preview the video and captions.

While captions using SMIL and Timed Text technologies can be in perfect sync with the video, they often get ahead of the video.  That's because a file with the captions and caption timing is loaded to the visitor's computer first. 

The computer starts rendering captions from this file once the first bit of video arrives.  It works fine as long as the video doesn't get held up on its way through the Internet -- and the viewer's computer is up to the task of rendering video.

Even with this drawback, Timed Text files are an excellent way to give the client a quick preview and a chance to catch any misspelled names, request that terms-of-art be explained, or correct captioning decisions (like who got captioned when two were speaking at the same time).

To Make Captioned Deliverables

Unless you already have a video production facility, it can get rather expensive to acquire all the equipment you'll need to make a finished captioned media.

Working with broadcast quality tape media can get expensive, because you'll need:

  • A broadcast video source.  These things can run from US$9,000 to more than $50,000 depending on the format and quality.
  • A broadcast video recorder.  These things are even more expensive than the corresponding video source.
  • Alignment and monitoring equipment.  Most broadcast equipment requires careful alignment and maintenance to get good equipment life and to produce quality video.  This equipment can cost as much as a broadcast video source.

Tape video technology can get confusing with at least a dozen different video formats (VHS, SVHS, 3/4", 1", Sony BetaCam®, Sony DigiBeta®, MII, D1, D2, and so forth including High Definition) so don't hesitate to ask questions.

DVD technology can be a bit simpler unless you need to digitize and author the master DVD file. 

To author a DVD you need a high resolution digitized media file -- or you need the expensive equipment to make one.  And you need a DVD authoring system.  The authoring system takes the video, audio, and AutoCaption caption files and puts them all together into a master DVD image file.

The most cost effective route is to let your client do the encoding.  Give them a DCAP file and a free copy of DynaCaption™ and all they need is a caption inserter suitable for their particular type of video. 

Most conscientious producers prefer to closely control their video quality and who gets copies of valuable masters.

More detailed information follows

More about costs...

See a comprehensive connection diagram...


double rule
Summary       Costs       Buy       Powerful_Tools       Technical

The_Process        Downloads       Contact_Us       Home
double rule

W3C HTML 4.01 Strict certificationSite Copyright 2004 Image Logic Corporation
Artwork ©BBradley Bleeker, illustrator
technicap_equip.html  41123