Archive for February, 2007

NOTE: ┬áPlease be aware that with ever-changing advances in technology, the information presented in this post may now be out of date. I have written a more current post on the issue of captioning videos which I encourage readers to check out for the latest information which may be of interest to you – especially if you use YouTube. Click on the link below:


Over the past year or so, I have seen an increasing number of individuals creating video clips using their videocams, and then downloading them to DVDs or onto the web itself. More and more videos are showing up on YouTube and similar sites.

I have gotten a number of emails from hearing friends wanting to share events with me – rituals, gatherings, parties, the new baby in the family, etc. etc.

This is great…and I do enjoy watching such videos – up to a point.

But what do you do when you are deaf or hard-of-hearing and you can’t hear the voice overs on the video, or lipread the words of the speakers?

Recently I was on another Pagan blog site where they were showing a video of a sermon about Paganism done by an ordained minister. While this gentleman was pleasant to look at, I could only catch a word here and there of what he was saying – prompting me to post a comment grumbling about how the video wasn’t captioned for my comprehension.

Well…I’ve always been taught that it is not enough to just sit around and complain when there’s a problem. If you’re not willing to be a part of the solution, then you’re only contributing to being a part of the problem. If I want to see more captioning/subtitling of videos, then I need to do my part to help come up with ways to help make this happen.

Interestingly enough, the issue of captioning has come up in the Deaf Internet Community as well. Vlogs (“video-blogs”) have become increasingly popular in the Deaf Community as a way of sharing thoughts, etc. via our native language of American Sign Language (ASL). I’m seeing more and more Deaf bloggers turning on their videocams and switching over to this mode. An example of vlogging as used in the Deaf Community can be seen at Joey’s ASL Vlog (www.joeybaer.com) where my colleague, Joey Baer, shares his thoughts on a number of issues related to the Deaf Community.

The problem is – the majority of these vlogs are not captioned for the hearing community. Thus, if you don’t know sign language, you’re going to be a tad frustrated.

Which maybe ain’t such a bad thing…at least now you can get a sense of what it feels like for me and my Deaf peers when we attempt to watch videos broadcast in Spoken English. (and I’m not just talking about those funny homemade clips on YouTube either – even news videos on various internet news sites are rarely if ever captioned…I can’t understand the videos that are shown on MSNBC, for example.)

There’s been a lot of discussion about video captioning on both sides of the equation – captioning of Spoken English for the benefit of deaf and hard of hearing viewers, and captioning of ASL- created vlogs in order for those not versed in sign language to understand and benefit from learning more about our language and culture. There have been arguments pro and con on both sides of the fence.

But putting the debate aside, the real purpose of this post is to provide some information to those home movie producers who do in fact wish to make their videos more accessible, and thus allow folks like me to be educated, enlightened, or just plain entertained by such endeavors.

Since I am not a techno-expert by any means, I sought out a little help from one of my Deaf peers, a gentleman by the name of Jared Evans. Jared has a blog site called “Jared’s Global Microbrand” at


Jared has posted a couple of blogs on his site that do discuss how to caption/subtitle your video clips. I would suggest that you read these blogs at:


and then the related posts at




Referring to the above-mentioned video shown on another Pagan blog site, the creator of that video actually contacted me asking for information on how to make his videos accessible by adding captions/subtitles. I contacted Jared, who was kind enough to send a response to this individual, with a cc to me. I would now like to share this information with all of you, that you might thus become video captioners in your own right!

So if you want to learn how to create subtitled video clips, I strongly advise you to head over to Jared’s site, where he provides information about software programs, and tips on the process for actually incorporating captions/subtitles into your videos. Since Jared is far more of an expert on this type of technology than I am (I’m a techno-idiot if the truth be known!), I encourage you to read his posts and contact him directly if you have any questions or concerns. From what I understand, captioning your videos does require some time and patience, along with a bit of computer savvy.

I do want to emphasize…if you have any questions or concerns regarding this information, please go to Jared’s blog site and use that site to contact Jared directly – do not post your questions here or ask me for further information, because I wouldn’t know where to even begin to try and help.

My purpose for posting this information here is that I know a large percentage of my readership is in fact hearing, and thus may not be familiar with those sites that do maintain and discuss this type of technical knowledge. Captioning is of course an important issue within the Deaf Community, but most hearing people rarely give it a second thought.

Until, that is…someone like me comes along and says “hey!”

Although I am Deaf, I do spend a considerable amount of time in the hearing world. My family is hearing. Many of my friends are hearing. Many of my co-workers have been and currently are hearing.

That hearing world isn’t always easy to navigate. Fortunately, with the help of modern technology, it is getting easier and easier. I can send and receive information via email. I can call my mother via Video Relay Services. I can sit in my favorite bar down the street and chat with my friend Crystal in Massachusetts via AIM using my SideKick pager. I can teach my students Birch, Gaylen, Ruby and all the others in an internet chat room. I can watch a movie rented through Netflix with my neighbor Carol by turning on the captions.

And now, hopefully the next time someone sends me a homemade video…

I’ll be able to laugh along with the rest of you.


~ Ocean

Special thanks to Jared Evans, who when I discussed creating this post, gave me his permission and told me to “go for it!” And if any of you DO in fact create a Captioned Pagan Video…please do let me know about it, and I will be happy to take a look and share the information with others as well!

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