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Subtitling And Caption Technology At IBC 2017

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The request to write a pre-IBC commentary should in my opinion always be met with elation; announcing new technologies, partnerships and game-changing product updates.

This time last year Screen used this opportunity to publish its industry observations and went to great lengths to relate the strategic adjustments and modifications it was taking in order to align itself accordingly.

The mammoth shift and initial uncertainty in the industry called for considered planning and Screen wasn't prepared to allow itself to lurch in any particular strategic direction and makes no apology for letting the dust settle before putting plans into action.

Since IBC last year we've been working hard on making some of our products easier to access and on a more affordable subscription basis. The working life of a professional subtitler has significantly changed and indeed the customer base has spread wider with those needing to subtitle content increasing.

So requirements for subtitle creation and preparation software are far broader now and have led to a new array of products and delivery of existing products.

The cloud-based, semi-pro 'Creation' tool in the Screen, OOONA, Cavena triparty online toolkit launched at BVE this year has undergone constant development since in response to user feedback.

Following the reaction to the online tool, Screen has taken its core professional creation products i.e. Wincaps (and associated products), and Poliscript and has made versions of them available on an affordable subscription basis via our new online Store. The store is available via the homepage of our website and will undergo a full launch at IBC.

With an already impressive take up from the soft launch, we are now in the process of developing brand new products for the online store all targeted at this identified audience.

An additional strategic angle to the Screen Store is to offer space on it to relevant third parties with complementary products as a sales conduit which has a substantial and already established global reach and reputation. We are inviting companies with appropriate apps to contact our partnerships team to discuss inclusion and terms.

Staying with online tools and our success with SaaS via our joint venture 'Create' online tool, it became blatantly evident during our research that there is a universal need in our sector for quick access apps and tools.

Screen has created a web based portal, 'ScreenTools' where customers can have rapid access to the cloud versions of our most popular and most widely used individual tools from our professional solutions.

More cloud based tools will be added to the dashboard as we develop them and we will also be working with partner companies to increase the offering.

We're pleased to announce the first partnership for our 'ScreenTools' portal is a new initiative with our close partners the Institut für Rundfunktechnik GmbH (IRT) and OOONA to offer a subtitle file validation service.

Building upon the close co-operation of Screen and IRT within a number of standards organisations, in activities related to subtitle transmission, in broadcast and online, a validation service has been developed and will be demonstrated at IBC.

Initially targeted at the IMSC (Internet Media Subtitles & Captions) 1 format of subtitle content as used by major content providers, the service performs a number of tests covering both standards compliance and other qualitative metrics.

The intention is to expand the online system to cover additional popular subtitle formats, and to establish an authoritative service for validating and certifying subtitle files, for both content creators and distributors alike.

Partner working remains an important component to the Screen strategy and has led to significant product development.

Our latest collaboration has led to another significant development and a considerable turning point in subtitling.

Screen are pleased to announce the support of Speechmatics' automatic speech recognition technology within Screen subtitle transmission and creation workflows.

The system represents a dramatic step forward in live, 'speaker independent' automatic speech recognition, and allows the realisation of a long held ambition; live automatic subtitling and captioning.

When using the high quality audio typical of a live broadcast television programme, the Speechmatics' system returns extremely fast and accurate transcripts that are immediately converted into subtitles and transmitted with the TV service.

In addition, the integration will allow the automated production of accurate transcripts for live TV programs, enhancing search and archive possibilities for live TV content.

A prototype system powered by Speechmatics will be demonstrated at IBC by Screen.

Screen are also planning to incorporate the company's technology into non-live applications, to support 'off line' subtitle file creation activities.

IBC Stand 1.C49

This article also features in the September edition of Broadcast Film & Video.

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