Has Google Speech Recognition Come of Age?

closed caption on youTube

Automatic Closed Captioning

Until now, if you are hearing impaired or speak a foreign language, you’ve been cheated out on the nearly twenty hours of riveting viral video that is uploaded each minute to our beloved YouTube. Ok, maybe not all the content is that riveting, but credit Google for introducing state of the art technology so the hearing impaired and non-native language speakers can share in the magic of “The evolution of dance” and “Achmed the Dead Terrorist” videos….

“A core part of YouTube’s DNA is access to content,” said Hunter Walk, the product team lead for YouTube. “From day one, that’s what we were hoping to do with video.”

Denver Colorado’s RunawayTrain Productions is working with clients both public and private to integrate this new technology into new projects destined for YouTube. RunawayTrain not only believes this feature will allow videos to appeal more directly to foreign and hearing impaired audiences, but will give YouTube excellent data for searching videos and targeting ads to them. After all, a complete set of subtitles is the same as a transcript of the video. And you can upload subtitles for as many languages as you want.

For the viewers, most YouTube videos now include a “CC” button that, if pressed, will automatically generate the closed-captioning technology. Google’s speech-recognition technology processes the main audio track and generates the text on top of the video picture. As you can guess, this leading edge technology isn’t always perfect but it is a quantum step in communication, as well as a leg up for marketers.

Videos with captions display this small logo at the bottom of the player:  If a video includes captions, you can activate them by clicking the menu button located on the bottom right of the video player.

Adding captions to videos involves uploading a closed caption file using the “Captions and Subtitles” menu on the editing page. To add several captions to a video, you may have to upload multiple files. If you want to include foreign subtitles in multiple languages, upload a separate file for each language. There are over 120 languages to choose from and you can add any title you want for each caption.

Users can also edit and assist in the transcription. Any text editor can edit the machine transcription, Google executives said, and then re-upload it for others to use.

Check it out:

http://www.youtube.com/t/captions_about

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Xcel Energy produced two videos on SmartGrid technology with RunawayTrain Productions.

 

Xcel Energy

 The board of directors of Xcel Energy, the largest utility in the Rocky Mountain Region, contracted RunawayTrain Productions to produce two video projects structured to raise awareness and support for Xcel Energy’s new SmartGrid technology.

 The first video substantiated a legislative effort for the city of Boulder to revamp the city’s aging analog system and become the nation’s first “SmartCity”.  By upgrading to Xcel’s real time management and distribution system, the city would not only become the flagship of green municipalities but reduced their annual operating budget.

 The second project involved integrating the video presentation into a mobile educational display that could attend events around the country to educate and market SmartGrid technology to both public and private entities.

 Xcel Energy enlisted the award winning motion graphics skills of RunawayTrain Productions in Denver Colorado to create a virtual city model and illustrate the technical advantages of the SmartGrid. Mixed with live action of everyday households, the video creates an effective relationship between energy management technology and the homeowner.

 RunawayTrain Productions partnered with Xcel Energy’s marketing department, technical representatives and product managers to concept, write and design a script which would explain the benefits of the SmartGrid technology as it relates to consumers, communities, and the environment. RunawayTrain Productions shot in multiple locations including Denver and Boulder using a Sony-EX3 high definition camera.

 Post production involved the use of complex 3d and 2d animation, stock footage, and live action to illustrate our culture’s transition from analog to digital as the fundamental difference between legacy technology and Xcel Energy’s new SmartGrid system.

Western Dairy Association video created by RunawayTrain Productions

This Project for the Western Dairy Association takes a whimsical strategy on promoting the dairy industry.

Western Dairy Association – “Cow Caregivers, Earth Caretakers”

 The Western Dairy Association wanted to produce a creative and informative marketing piece to raise awareness and enrich the image of dairy farmers in the state of Colorado.  The result was a warm and engaging animated video that garnered regional Emmy and National Telly top honors for design.

 RunawayTrain Productions used a book metaphor to chapter Western Dairy’s key concepts of family ownership, the ethical treatment of animals, and environmental stewardship through sustainability.  The design involved creation of a 3D book with turning pages as transitions. The 3D elements were created using 3D Studio Max and added to the final composite using Adobe After Effects.

 Interviews with dairy farmers were shot using RunawayTrain’s Sony-EX3 camera on the Comcast Media Center’s soundstage in Denver Colorado.  The set backgrounds were painted with a chroma key greenscreen allowing for later replacement with animated backgrounds. Carefully designed dolly and zooms were utilized to create segment transitions.

 In the post production process, award winning creative director Brock Sherman created still image cutouts from captured images and stock footage using Adobe Photoshop. Images were selected to reinforce themes of nutrient rich milk, family pride, care for animals, sustainability, integrity, and Americana. In the final composite all these elements were chroma keyed, motion tracked with camera moves, and treated with various filters to create a warm, engaging presentation that is consistent with the Western Dairy Associations overall marketing values.

 The Western Dairy Association’s “Cow Caregivers, Earth Caretakers” won both Regional Emmy and National Telly awards for excellence. The video was pressed to DVD for a direct mail campaign, occupies a prominent place in all WDA trade shows, and is featured on the Western Dairy Association website.  Western Dairy Association has had an overwhelmingly positive response to the video, and plans are already underway for next year’s project.

RunawayTrain Productions a Denver Colorado video company- writing, production and editing

RunawayTrain Productions specializes in the writing and production of commercials, marketing and sales materials, for print or television, industrial videos and corporate image campaigns as well as multi-media presentations such as flash and web-design, With the talent and ability to handle any project, simple or complex, our team has been entrusted by many organizations around the country to creatively and effectively craft messages that reach their target audience.

From digital video to HD, we have the capabilities to deliver your final product in traditional broadcast formats, to an array of non-broadcast electronic platforms.  Whatever your choice of communicating with your audience, we are fully capable to meet all of your multi-media needs.

RunawayTrain Productions completes new Network ID’s for PBS Kids Sprout

Natisha Walton, Vice President and Executive Producer at RunawayTrain Productions co-produced the winter season of network IDs for PBS Kids Sprout.

 

PBS KIDS SproutSM is the first 24-hour preschool destination available on TV, for kids ages 2-5. It was created as a partnership among Comcast Corporation, HIT Entertainment, Public Broadcasting Service, and Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit educational organization behind Sesame Street®.

Shot on location in picturesque Breckinridge, Colorado, the heart of Colorado’s ski country, the pre production required weeks of location scouting, wardrobe, and casting.Says Walton: “Casting children can be a lot of fun, but it can also be challenging. You really never know how child actors will react the day of the shoot. You use your best judgment, but in the back of your mind you know they could be in a great mood during casting and not want to perform once they are on set. In our case we were very fortunate.”

Sprout is the #1 Kids On Demand service for young children, generating over half a billion orders to date. Sprout provides 60 hours of VOD programming each month, including 10-15 hours of Spanish-language programming (Plaza Sésamo®, Angelina Ballerina™, Barney & Friends™, Bob the Builder™,  Olly El Submarino™).

The IDs are live action and involved nearly 40 crew and talent for2 days, and were directed by Marianne Fernsler of Sprout.

The finished products are currently running on PBS Kids Sprout.  Look for it on your local cable listings.