The City of Chesapeake in Virginia Automates Live Closed Captioning of its PEG Channels with ENCO

Date: 09/02/2017
The City of Chesapeake in Virginia Automates Live Closed Captioning of its PEG Channels with ENCO

The City of Chesapeakethe third largest city in the Commonwealth of Virginianow offers live closed captioning on two of its three local Public, Educational and Government (PEG) channels: WCTV and WCPS. 

The City chose enCaption3R3 from ENCO because it delivers closed captioning in near-real-time, with near total accuracy. Besides automatically converting spoken word to text, this cost-effective, software-defined solution also learns the correct spellings of unique words, including names of local leaders, streets and landmarks.

Our mission is to provide timely, accurate and relevant information to the citizens of Chesapeake. For this reason, we implemented closed captioning to ensure that all of our citizens have full access to any critical government meetings, such as the School Board or City Council and to other events we cover, said Maynard Scales, TV Operations Coordinator for the City of Chesapeakes Public Communications Department. 

WCTV Chesapeake Television carries these local city government events, such as city council and planning commission meetings, live on Cox Communications channel 48 and Verizon FiOS channel 43. WCPS, Chesapeake Public Schools, carries local school board meetings and other school-related activities and events. Video of these events can also be seen on demand at the citys website, CityofChesapeake.net. Both of these channels use enCaption3R3.

We want to make certain were being good stewards of our communitys tax dollars in everything we do, Scales said. Thats why, when we decided to offer closed captioning, we conducted extensive research into all of our options and considered the decision very carefully. While enCaption was not the lowest priced solution on the market, it offered the best price performance and value for our operation and for our citizen-viewers.

ENCOs enCaption3R3 satisfied the City of Chesapeakes key criteria, which was reliability and having a solid company willing to stand behind its product. Its accuracy provides the added value of servicing hard of hearing viewers, according to Scales. And with a small operations staff, the closed captioning system required an automated workflow that no one would have to babysit. 

The new closed captioning system also needed to be ready to go whenever local government and school board meetings are held. And lastly, Scales said it needed to be able to handle his TV units multiple production locations, including the broadcast studio in its offices, as well as remote production sites such as City Hall, the School Administration building and the Chesapeake Conference Center.

Some of the closed captioning solutions we considered required that the system be based at the facility where the broadcast emanates, Scales said. But since we often produce and deliver live shows from remote sites, such as at City Hall, that was not a suitable option for us. Scales also considered contracting closed captioning services that farm out real-time captioning to stenographers, but ruled those out due to high costs and scheduling complexity. 

If the captioners connection to our live broadcast audio were to drop, the real-time captioning would immediately cease, Scales said. And theres a chance we could encounter additional costs and delays when we try to add the captions to the program after the broadcast. 

Considering that enCaption3R3 does not rely on captioners, but rather a powerful speech to text engine, its remarkable how accurately it captures the spoken word, Scales said. Every week, we download and review the transcripts of closed captioning the system generated, we identify words it missed or misspelled, and then teach it the right way to spell them by updating its internal filtered lists and dictionary. In this way, enCaption3R3 has become very familiar with the names and places unique to our city.

In terms of workflow, a Blackmagic 40x40 house router moves any audio source into or out of the enCaption device, which in turn sends a live audio feed with the caption data/text via a serial connection to an Evertz HD9084 closed captioning encoder. This encoder marries the video, embedded audio and (CEA-608) caption text data, and then sends that output to an automation system for SDTV broadcast.   

WCTV Chesapeake Television presents many major local news events live, such as the City of Chesapeake Mayors State of the Cityspeech, an annual event being held this year in April at the Chesapeake Conference Center. Many school functions are also carried live, such as an upcoming (March 2017) Chesapeake Sports Club jamboree where area students will be recognized and awarded scholarships for academic and athletic achievement. 

As a service to our community, we are also in the process of adding closed captioning to our pre-recorded studio shows, such as our 15-minute, weekly local newscasts, and monthly local talk shows, Scales said. Since we installed enCaption3R3 last fall, Ive been extremely impressed with its features, operations and reliability.

About ENCO

Founded in 1983, ENCO Systems is a world leader in playout and automation system solutions for demanding radio and television organizations. ENCO is headquartered in Southfield, Michigan USA and retains a worldwide distribution network. For more information, please visit: www.enco.com.



Tags: ENCO | closed captioning | TV broadcast
Submitted by Brian Galante (Dimension PR)
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