VITAC Captions Kick Off Another Football Season

Sep 14 2021 David Titmus
Football sitting on a grassy field

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Whether your favorite NFL team is off to a perfect start, or your college alma mater has been on the losing end of the scoreboard these past few weeks, football season is here.

The kickoff to the college and pro games mean many things — kitchens filled with snacks, weekend afternoons firmly planted on the couch, and some of the busiest days of the year for VITAC captioners. As a 24/7, 365-day-a-year operation, busy days are nothing new to our captioners, production coordinators, schedulers, and supervisors. This time of year, however, brings a perfect storm of programming and sports scheduling. (And next month is no quieter as the NFL and college seasons kick into high gear, the Major League Baseball playoffs lead into the World Series, the National Hockey League drops the puck, and the National Basketball Association tips off a new season.)

The professional and college football season kicked off its opening slate of games earlier this month, and VITAC was there for all the gridiron excitement, captioning dozens of NCAA and NFL games.

Captioning live sporting events can be a challenge for captioners and production teams as the games often include multiple, fast-talking announcers (who sometimes speak over each other), quick play-by-play calls, unique statistics, and sport-specific terms and jargon

Call out box with text reading: A lot goes into captioning a live football game. Below are just a few of the items that captioners need to consider long before the fans take their seats. ● Research rosters, coaching staff, venue, mascots, announcers for the game. ● Obtain the starting lineups and, because injuries are a part of the game, the depth charts, for each team. ● Enter the speaker IDs for the announcers. ● Load all the research – spellings, names, etc. – into the customized dictionary they will be using for that game. ● Review network treatment sheets that details such things as preferred caption placement, and to see if there are any special instructions for that network.But just like football teams need great chemistry and teamwork to be successful, our realtime department − captioners, coordinators, supervisors, and schedulers − pull together to produce the highest quality captions, and flawless transitions between games with no caption loss.

VITAC captioners do their research before each broadcast, looking up key names and terms that they anticipate will pop up during the game (see left), and our realtime teams have been wearing their games faces for a little while now, compiling team rosters, stats, information, and spelling confirmation lists for the thousands of players and hundreds of teams that will take the field in the weeks and months ahead.

Our schedulers and sports supervisors work to ensure captioners are available for each game, and make sure we have the lists of proper network connections.

And coordinators work to establish and test multiple IP and encoder connections, and monitor start and finish times for all the games to make sure we don’t miss a single snap or minute of pre-game coverage or post-game wrap-up.

So whether college football is your thing or the pro game is your passion, we’ve got you covered, and will be here every Saturday and Sunday (and the occasional Thursday and Monday) to caption all the high-flying offenses, hard-hitting defenses, furious comebacks, and unbelievable upsets.