I want to highlight my favorite new feature in Flash CS3 – Flash captioning. There is a new component, named FLVPlaybackCaptioning, which works in cooperation with the FLVPlayback component to make delivering captioning in Flash really easy.
Ordinarily a Flash developer drags a FLVPlayback component onto the stage in the Flash authoring tool, sets a variety of parameters including identifying the video source, and publishes the video. The additional steps for adding captioning are to drag the FLVPlaybackCaptioning component onto the stage, reference the caption data file, choose a FLVPlayback skin that includes a captioning toggle button, and publish. The captions will appear over the video.
Beyond this basic process, there are many additional options that allow complete control over the location and appearance of the captions. The captions can appear in a separate area adjacent to the video (or where ever is deemed best) and with a variety of font characteristics including different font faces which can be embedded into the Flash movie and shown even on user’s systems that don’t have that particular font installed.
The captioning data file needs to be in the W3C’s DFXP (Timed Text) format. There are already tools that help you create a DFXP caption file. MAGpie already supports this format, and other tools such as Captionate and HiCaption Studio have plans to support DFXP in the coming weeks and months. If you prefer to have the captioning work done for you, there are services that can deliver the DFXP file, including the Media Access Group at WGBH, Automatic Sync technologies, and Caption Colorado, and more providers are expected soon.
More information to come – let us know how you use this exciting new feature!