2021: The Year in Review

By: Laura Swanson
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2021 closes out another busy year at VITAC. And as we embark on 2022, here’s a look back at some of the news VITAC covered, the resources we created, and the milestones that took place, all while we continued providing hundreds of thousands of hours of quality captions for viewers around the world.

Ebooks and Resources

With effective communication remaining at the forefront of many people’s minds, VITAC saw an opportunity to offer more education on ensuring accessibility in video communication. We published four new ebooks while continuing to update our resource pages and post the latest accessibility news on our blog and social media channels.

Our “Audio Description 101” ebook, available here for download, looked at the ins and outs of audio description, how described content is used to help viewers, what information is described, and where to find audio described programming. It was designed as an introduction for those new to audio description, but also contained key rules and regulations in the United States and Canada for more experienced providers to consider.

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With many schools continuing online classes or hybrid online and in-person class models, we saw a need for information about video accessibility for educational institutions. Our free “Accessibility in Education” ebook, available here for download, examined the benefits of captions in both the physical and virtual classroom, how captions and audio description enhance the learning experience for all students, and how schools can budget for inclusion.

And as more and more organizations and groups began incorporating captions for the first time, VITAC guides provided both an intro to captioning and tips on how to improve caption accuracy. “Accessible Accessibility – 7 Reasons to Caption,” available here, offered a beginner’s guide to captioning. “Three Ways to Improve Accuracy in Closed Captions,” available here, outlined a few things that you – the caption customer – can do to make sure that you receive only the best-quality captions.

VITAC’s own General Manager Doug Karlovits also offered insight via an interview with Sports Video Group on the need for captioning in sports, and our Public Relations Manager David Titmus outlined how to find the right accessibility partner in NAB Amplify.

Changes for VITAC

VITAC celebrated its 35th year in 2021 as the leading captioning provider in all of North America. And with such a long history as a top captioning provider, we were proud to announce becoming part of Verbit, the world’s leading interactive transcription and captioning platform. The combination has meant increased accessibility offerings, enhanced solutions, and greater customer support and service for clients in the legal, media, education, government, and corporate sectors around the world.

VITAC Continues to Deliver Accessibility

Of course we continued to provide quality accessibility services on a large scale, as evidenced by our captioning coverage of the 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Coordination for an event like the Olympics spanned multiple departments and required advance planning to determine schedules and redundancy scenarios. We also worked directly with networks to create preparation materials that captioners used to improve accuracy while writing live captions on the fly.

We also were proud to offer audio description along with closed captioning for the first time in the 93-year history of the Academy Awards. The addition of audio description — audio narrated descriptions of a program’s key visual elements — ensured that viewers who are blind or with low-vision were able to take in all the action occurring on the screen.

VITAC also demonstrated its ability to continue to adapt to the changing landscape of video communication by integrating directly with the latest Adobe Connect offering. We were pleased to offer live, realtime captioning for Adobe Connect, and have a direct, built-in integration with the platform’s newest 11.3 offering, which featured new meeting applications and greater accessibility.

Staying Up to Date

VITAC continued to seek ways to help clients, consumers, and the community stay current with − and benefit from − the latest video accessibility regulations. In keeping with this, we kept a close eye on Federal Communications Commission (FCC) updates and shared them in our blog and newsletter. FCC highlights this year included fielding comments on what updates, if any, are needed to the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010 (CVAA), and hosting forums on improving the accessibility of online videos and the commission’s leadership role.

Looking Forward

As always, we will continue in 2022 to keep readers informed of the latest VITAC news and industry happenings. You can keep up to date with our news by regularly reading our blog, or subscribing to our newsletter.