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Tools & Guidelines
MAGpie2 Captioning


Starting a Captioning Project

  1. Start MAGpie, open the File menu, and select New.
  2. In the Open New Project dialog, click on the Browse… button to
    choose the base media to which you want to add captions. This step is required.browse for media file to caption or describe
  3. Choose the Apple QuickTime Player button if the base media is a QuickTime (MOV) clip; choose the Oratrix GRiNS Player button if the base media is a Real media (RM) clip. WAV, MPEG/MPG and AVI clips will open in either player. choose internal media player
  4. Accept MAGpie's style defaults or choose your own caption and speaker styles.
  5. Unless adding segments to captions for a karaoke-like effect, ignore the Segment Annotation Style settings. For more information about segmenting captions, read the section on segmenting captions.
  6. Enter the dimensions of the video and caption regions. If you don't know the dimensions, you can change the default values at a later time after locating the video height and width from a media player (for instructions on determining height and width of a video, read the section on determining video dimensions.enter video and caption dimensions
  7. Click OK to close the Open New Project dialog.
  8. In the next dialog box, titled Create New Project Track, choose the Captions button.Create New Project Track dialog
  9. Accept MAGpie's default track name or type in one of your own. The track name is particularly important if there are multiple caption tracks. Note that BlackBerry® smartphones currently support the inclusion of a single caption track.
  10. Select the language for the caption track from the drop-down list.
  11. Click OK to close the Create New Project Track dialog.
  12. Save the project by opening the File menu and choosingSave. It is important to save the project file in the same directory as the base media. The caption files created for playback will automatically be saved in the same directory as the base media. Note: for efficient file management, save each new project in a separate directory.

Modifying caption styles for all caption tracks in a project

There are several formatting options for caption and speaker text. These options are familiar to users of most word processing applications. These options can be applied separately to captions and speaker text by first selecting the radio button adjacent to the preview area for captions or speaker text and setting desired options.

styling options for captions

One option – Background color – applies to the entire caption area. It is possible to apply both a background color to caption or speaker text and a different background color to the caption area as a whole (sometimes with unfortunate results!)

captions styled with too many colors

MAGpie users should be aware that not all formatting options will appear in each media player, due to differences in the text formats for the respective players. The table below provides information about formatting options supported by the different players. Note that BlackBerry smartphones (TTXT file format) currently ignore all style markup. However, users can select from a set of predefined color and text-size options directly on the smartphone.

Notes on MAGpie formatting options in different media players
Formatting option QuickTime Player RealPlayer Windows Media Player Notes
Font Displays correctly if font is installed on viewer's computer RealText limits caption authors to a subset of fonts.
Real's RealText specification
Displays correctly if font is installed on viewer's computer With each player, it is important to choose fonts that users will be likely to have on their system. Fonts are not embedded, so if the user doesn't have a specific font, a substitute will be selected.
Font Size Displays correctly RealText uses HTML font sizing, resulting in 7 different font sizes. MAGpie offers 8 font sizes. As a result, font size 8 and 10 in MAGpie are the same when viewed in RealPlayer. Displays correctly Particularly when delivering content for cross-platform viewing, it is important to test MAGpie's output due to differences in font rendering.
Bold, Italics, Underline Displays correctly Displays correctly Displays correctly
Left align, Center align Displays correctly Displays correctly Displays correctly
Right align Displays correctly RealText is unable to display right-aligned text. Right-aligned text will appear left-aligned. Displays correctly
Text Foreground (text color) Displays correctly Displays correctly Displays correctly
Text Background (text highlight color) MAGpie's output for QuickTime is unable to display a background color for text. Displays correctly Displays correctly
Background color Displays correctly Displays correctly Displays correctly. It is possible to have a separate background color for speaker and caption areas in Windows Media, however, MAGpie doesn't support this functionality.

The Caption Authoring Interface

The captioning interface is centered around a table where each row represents a single caption. This table has 5 columns:

  1. Row: The row number. Row 1 represents the first caption.
  2. Start Time: Once captions are timed, cells in this column contain times that the captions appear. Caption authors can modify the values in this column manually, but should be careful to ensure that the times entered are sequential.
  3. End Time: If there are long pauses (greater than 5 seconds), a caption may need an end time to indicate when the caption should disappear. Typically captions disappear when replaced by the next caption in the sequence, so cells in this column are likely to be empty when captioning continuous speech.
  4. Speaker: If a speaker identification is needed, cells in this column will contain the speaker's name. If a speaker name is used in one row, it will be copied to the next row when a new caption is added.
  5. Caption: The caption text. The contents of this cell may vary depending on use. For suggestions on captioning conventions, the Media Access Group at WGBH in Boston provides a guide: Suggested Styles and Conventions for Closed Captioning
There are two modes of use in the caption table; navigation mode and editing mode. To enter text into a speaker or caption cell, the table must be in editing mode. To enter editing mode you can either click on a cell with the mouse or press enter on the keyboard. When in editing mode, the speaker or caption cell that is currently in focus will have a bright green focus rectangle and the style toolbar is active and available for styling captions or parts of captions, as shown in the image below.

Captioning table in editing mode

To move from cell to cell using the keyboard, the table must be in navigation mode. To exit editing mode and enter navigation mode, press shift + enter on the keyboard. When in navigation mode, the focus rectangle is white, as shown in the image below. notice also that while in navigation mode the style toolbar is greyed to indicate that it is unavailable.

caption table in navigation mode

Write or Import Captions

Once the editor and player are visible on the screen, use F6 to play and pause the media file as you transcribe the audio, or use the player controls located at the top of the editor. To get captions into the caption grid, do one of the following:

  • Type caption text into the cells in the far right-hand column. Each cell represents one caption. To create a new caption cell, press the Enter or Return key twice. Speaker identifications, if desired, may be typed in the "speaker" column.
  • A plain text caption file can be imported into the current caption track by selecting the Caption menu and choosing Insert captions from file. The plain text file can contain a large block of text that will be imported into a single cell, or it can contain text with two returns at the end of each caption which will result in the text being imported into individual caption rows.

Import captions from MAGpie 1.0

  1. Use MAGpie 1.0 to output a QuickTime, RealPlayer-SMIL or SAMI presentation.
  2. Close MAGpie 1.0 and open MAGpie 2.0.
  3. Start a new project.
  4. Open the Tracks menu and choose Import Track…. From the Create New Project Track dialog box, choose either the RealText, QtText or SAMI option, whichever corresponds to the MAGpie 1.0 output from step 1.
  5. Press the Browse… button and locate the text file you created in step 1.
  6. Give the track a name and press ok.

Importing caption track dialog

Working with caption text in MAGpie

MAGpie offers familiar options for modifying the style of captions. The style toolbar located directly above the caption table contains common formatting options, such as font, font size, foreground and background color, and others.

style toolbar

If all captions need to be styled the same, adjust the caption track style in the Properties dialog box.

MAGpie also offers a spell checking feature, which is located in the Edit menu. The spell checker only checks the track that is currently being edited.

Time the Captions

  1. "Rewind" the base media. Place the cursor in first row of the editor. Play the media and, when you hear the first word of the first caption, press F9 to assign a start time (the time at which the caption will appear on the screen) to that caption. Note that the cursor will jump to the next caption cell after MAGpie records the timecode. Press F9 again to assign a start time to the next caption. Continue this process until all the captions have start times assigned to them. You do not need to stop the media after timing each caption. If you make a mistake, stop the media, rewind and re-time the captions as necessary. You may also change timecodes manually, although it is important to ensure that the timecodes remain sequential.
  2. To add an end time to a caption (the time at which you want the caption to disappear from the screen; when there is a pause in the audio, for example), press F10. However, if you want the captions to appear one after the other without pause, you do not need to add an end time to each caption.

Review Your Work

To review your work at any time, press F6 to play the base media with captions. You can re-edit, re-time and review the captions as many times as you wish.

Add Another Caption Track

  1. If you want to add another caption (or subtitle) track to your project, open the Track menu and choose Create New Track…. Select the Captions button and give the track a name (or accept MAGpie's default track name). If you are adding a foreign-language subtitle track, choose the language from the drop-down list. If you plan to manually type the new track's captions (or import them from another source as outlined above), press OK. However, if you want to use a track from the current project as a prototype for the new track, check the Use Existing Caption Track checkbox, select the track from the drop-down list and check the appropriate options (copy start times from other track, copy speakers from other track, copy captions from other track). Press OK when finished.insert another track
  2. Edit, time and review the new caption track as described above. To switch between tracks, click on the track tabs at the top of the editor or open the Tracks menu and choose from the track list.
For the purposes of exporting captions for QuickTime and RealPlayer, the first caption track created is the default caption track in the SMIL file. For example, if a video is captioned in French and then in English, RealPlayer will play the English captions if the player language preference is set to English, but will play the French captions if the language preference is set to anything other than English.

Export the Project and Test the Presentation

  • When you're satisfied with your work, open the Export menu and choose QuickTime - SMIL 1.0 format, RealPlayer - SMIL 1.0 format, Windows Media Player - SAMI, Adobe Flash - W3C DFXP or BlackBerry (MP4, 3GP) - GPAC TTXT to export the presentation.
MAGpie export menu

If you choose BlackBerry/TTXT export, you'll have the option to create just the TTXT file or to integrate that TTXT file into a copy of the source video (MAGpie will not integrate the caption file into the original source video). Choosing to integrate the captions into the movie will result in a closed-captioned presentation. Once the movie is transferred to the BlackBerry smartphone, the user can choose to decode and view the captions. Note that these devices currently support the integration of a single caption track.

To create a stand-alone TTXT file only, just press the Export as TTXT button. If you want to integrate a TTXT file into a copy of the movie, you must first download and install MP4Box. From the TTXT export window, choose the caption track you want to use and then check the Remux box, as shown in the image below. NOTE: The first time you choose this option you will also need to press the Browse button and browse to MP4Box.exe, which is typically located in C:/Program Files/GPAC. (You'll only need to do this once. MAGpie will remember its location after that.)

TTXT export dialog

Press the Export as TTXT button and MAGpie will invoke MP4Box to automatically integrate the caption track into a copy of the source video. This new movie (which will have "_cc" added to the filename) may then be transferred to a BlackBerry smartphone.

Other notes regarding exports:
  • If you exported a SMIL project, open the SMIL file (projectname.qt.sml or projectname.real.smil) in the QuickTime Player or RealPlayer, respectively.
  • If you exported a SAMI project, open the base media in Windows Media Player. If you find mistakes in the captions, make all necessary changes to the MAGpie project, re-export and test the presentation again using the appropriate player.
  • DFXP files can currently be played back with certain Flash players. NCAM has released two tools to assist with Flash captioning:
    • "CC for Flash" is an Adobe Flash authoring component which synchronizes DFXP (and QuickTime with some limitations) caption files to Flash video playback. When installed into the Flash authoring environment, instances of this component can be placed on the stage and easily wired to video playback objects to synchronize the captions during playback.
    • ccPlayer is a compiled Flash movie which wraps the "CC for Flash" component. It can be embedded in an HTML page to get up and running with captioned Flash movies without the need to do Flash authoring. Many of the authoring-time properties can even be passed into ccPlayer from the HTML page as parameters allowing for some customization.
  • If you are captioning a project for a YouTube video, export either DFXP, SAMI or RealPlayer (RealText) captions and then upload the file to YouTube. Read the instructions for uploading captions to YouTube, bearing in mind that you do not need to change the file's extension to .SRT or .SUB, nor do you need to reformat the timecodes. Simply upload the file as is. Note that the YouTube conversion process may introduce unusual line breaks into the captions, so be sure to test and review the captions carefully before linking to the captioned YouTube video.
If you caption a QuickTime version of a movie, but plan to also offer a version of the movie for RealPlayer, you will need to edit the SMIL file (projectname.real.smil) to change the reference to the QuickTime version of the movie so that it refers to the Real-compatible file instead. For example, the SMIL file for real may contain the following code <video src="" ... > which will need to be modified as follows (assuming the real file only differs by the filename extension): <video src="mymovie.rm" ... >


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