January 18, 2017 By Ben Kalb

Final Cut 7 Makes Adding Closed Captions Easy and Economical

For a how-to guide to adding closed captions in Final Cut Pro 7, click here​.

Adding closed captioning to your TV show in the edit suite just became a little easier. Thanks to new methods using Final Cut Pro and a supported AJA video card, there has been a revolution in the way captions are encoded.

The benefits are huge!

HD Workflow

In an HD environment, the captions can be added to the VANC. This means that the program can be exported to tape with true HD (CEA-708) captions without the use of an external encoder. HD encoders usually cost about $7,500, so this represents a tremendous savings over purchasing an encoder. Because the captions can be exported right in the edit suite, all your files for captioning can be transferred over the Internet—no more “overnight” tape shipments, and no more shipping related costs or delays when a shipment is misrouted.

SD Workflow

Adding Line 21 (CEA-608) captions to your SD project can now be easily done right from the FCP7 print to tape or edit to tape menu. The key advantage over other methods is ability to do this without rendering, resulting in several recouped hours per program.

How it works

The show is edited as usual in the Final Cut Pro edit suite. Once the show is complete, the editor renders a preview file to send to the captioning firm. Once the captions have been created, the file is e-mailed back to the editor. The editor selects the file inside the print to tape or edit to tape menus and masters the final program to tape.

This new technology was developed through the cooperative effort of AJA, Final Cut Pro and CPC. Final Cut Pro does not offer a direct way to create and format captions for broadcast, so it is very common for producers to utilize the help of a closed captioning firm to complete this task. Currently, this technology is limited to captioning firms who offer captions created on CPC software. When selecting a firm, it is important to look at quality, cost, experience and turn-around time. Forging a partnership with a firm that can provide just the right mix will mean a savings in time and money for the program producers, and an excellent finished product.

For a how-to guide to adding closed captions in Final Cut Pro 7, click here.

Ben Kalb

Ben is a broadcast engineer and creator of StationDrop. With a longevity in the broadcast industry, over 20 years, Ben has experience with everything from 1” tape reels to completely file-based workflows. Recently, Ben has broken into the world of coffee. Ask him about his latest brew.

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