Closed captions

Policy and expectations

By the end of 2014 the major cinema chains of Hoyts, Village, Event, and Reading cinemas had rolled out around 240 accessible screens across 130 cinemas around the country. This was part of the Commonwealth Government’s Cinema Access Implementation Plan  that saw every major chain cinema complex in the country have accessibility services on at least one screen per venue.


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Free captioning and description editing tool launched

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The National Center for Accessible Media (NCAM) in the USA has just launched CADET (Caption and Description Editing Tool) which was previously only available as a Beta project. This official launch version of CADET was developed with partial funding from the Massachusetts Attorney General's Office with the rest coming from crowd-funding, and is available via a free download.

Dashboard of CADET being used

Dashboard of CADET being used

CADET has taken over two years to develop from the initial beta test, and is the result of a mix of grant funding and crowd-funding from an Indiegogo campaign launched in late 2015. It is a free, downloadable caption-authoring software tool that can also be used to generate audio-description scripts.


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How to caption a Vimeo video

Video sharing service Vimeo added closed caption functionality back in 2014, and creating a caption file and adding it to the videos you upload is simple. 

To add captions to a video on Vimeo, you will first need a caption file. You can engage a professional captioning company to create a file, or use one of the do-it-yourself captioning sites. There are a number of tools which allow you to create captions from scratch which can then be added to YouTube videos.


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Closed Captions now available for NZ parliamentary broadcasts

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An estimated one in nine New Zealanders use captions when watching TV. Up until recently, live broadcasts of Parliament weren’t captioned, meaning that a significant number of people were unable to observe their elected representatives at work. But following a campaign begun in 2011, all that is in the past. 

Image of NZ Green Party MP, Mojo Mathers, observing parliament on TV


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Screenworks host CC and AD workshop to educate filmmakers

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As part of the accessibility focus of Screenworks, they will be holding a Closed Captioning (CC) and Audio Description (AD) workshop next month, with the aim of educating filmmakers on the importance and simplicity of accessibility methods.

Screenworks logo

According to Ken Crouch, General Manager of this Northern Rivers NSW based not-for-profit organisation, the seminar aims to “raise the quality of closed captioning and audio description across the film industry.”


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Governments are toughening up on public sector web accessibility

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State and Federal Governments around the globe are toughening up on public sector web accessibility. The latest case is the Alaskan Juneau School District, which felt the wrath of that state’s Government because of a complaint from the public that their websites aren’t inclusive for all needs.

close up of a man writing on some documents

After receiving the disability discrimination complaint, Alaskan authorities undertook a rigorous investigation and found out that ten other schools, educational groups, and institutions (including the Montana School for the Deaf and blind) also had accessibility issues on their websites.


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Channel 4 seeks viewer feedback about its accessibility services

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Channel 4 has created a survey to capture as much feedback as possible from people who view their programming with captions (subtitles in the UK), audio description, signing on TV, or on the station’s on-demand service.

Channel 4 logo


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Chris Mikul’s captioning legacy

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Chris Mikul was the Project Manager of Media Access Australia since its inception and has been an active advocate for better captioning, audio description (AD) and inclusion for nearly three decades. In his final interview before leaving the organisation, Chris shares some of his high points and talks openly about the challenges and issues that still remain, in order to improve the quality of captions and make AD much more available in Australia.

Head and shoulders photo of Chris Mikul

Aside for fighting for better captioning on traditional TV, TV streaming and in the online world, he believes that organisations should keep accessibility front and centre in their mind before embarking on any digital communications project or website build.

Digital media and technology: 

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New Zealand holds an inquiry into captioning

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New Zealand’s Government Administration Committee has announced an inquiry into captioning, and is seeking submissions from the public.

Remote control being pointed at a TV with captions at the bottom of the screen

The inquiry’s terms of reference include:


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