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December 17, 2018

Captioning Large Live Events with EEG: How One Tech Giant Captioned Over 100 Simultaneous Streams

Dave Weiss

The 10,000 Foot View

Captioning is synonymous with accessibility at live events. The largest tech conferences can encompass 100+ rooms of simultaneous live event programming for thousands of attendees, often with only a short time to set up and test live captioning capabilities. ADA compliance has become increasingly important to event organizers, who want to ensure quality captioning for everyone attending these technically complex events either in person or online.

The Captioning Needs of a Large Software Company’s Live Event

A large software company in the Seattle area laid out a vision of 100% accessibility at their semi-annual multi-day conference, held across 120 rooms over three days for thousands of employees. The corporate event organizers set a mandate for clear, accurate live captioning that would cover every part of the event for both on-site and remote attendees.

With only three days to cover set-up, testing, and break-down, the captioning system needed to be flexible and customized precisely to their needs — all at a scale that surpasses the live captioning needs of almost any media company.

The Right Live Event Captioning Solution

The company selected EEG to build a captioning workflow that would meet the extensive needs of this event. EEG’s deep experience in supporting large corporate event captioning requirements made them the clear choice for the company’s event producers.

EEG deployed their industry-leading HD492 iCap encoders onsite, which were connected each room’s SDI video feed to EEG’s secure iCap Network to enable remote captioners to receive a live audio reference each event and return live on-screen open captions inside the event rooms. Similarly, EEG’s AV610 CaptionPort was used in some rooms to maximize readability of the captions. In addition to displaying captions, the AV610 scales input video down by 15% with the option of placing caption data above or below the video. This unique feature allows for the use of standard presentation templates without visual interference from captions.

For offsite attendees streaming the video in realtime, closed captioning was facilitated by EEG’s cloud-hosted streaming caption encoder, Falcon. Completely hardware-free, Falcon is accessed and controlled through EEG’s Cloud Services website and accepts an RTMP stream input from any streaming media encoder. Once it receives the stream, the audio/caption exchange works just like the HD492 hardware encoder workflow, only it exists completely in the cloud. Incoming captions are encoded into the RTMP stream by Falcon and the fully captioned video is routed to its end streaming destination in real-time; an all-virtual and scalable answer to live stream captioning.

For smaller events where cost-efficiency is paramount, EEG’s Lexi automatic live captioning platform can be used instead of live captioners and is accessible through any EEG encoder including Falcon. Lexi is capable of delivering over 90% accuracy for many common media types.

Customizable Event Captioning That Scales Up

Comprehensive corporate event captioning and trade show captioning can entail requirements that far surpass even the most wide-ranging broadcast networks. With each breakout room covered for open captioning or closed captioning, meeting ADA requirements for hearing-impaired attendees can mean servicing the equivalent of 120 channels or more.

EEG solutions helped this large software company to meet all of its stringent requirements. By supporting open captioning in every room, closed captioning for all of the live video streams, extreme scalability, a minimal footprint with easy configuration logistics onsite, and cost-effectiveness throughout, EEG’s expertise proved optimal for live event captioning.