What is TRUE Pop-On Captioning?


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Anyone familiar with captioning may be aware of the two main styles of prerecorded captioning: roll-up and pop-on. Yet there are actually many different styles of prerecorded captioning and they don’t always go by the same name between caption providers.

The most common labeling mix-up occurs between Multi-Positional Pop-On captioning (also known as Timed-and-Placed Pop-On) and Center-Placed Pop-On captioning. Center-Placed Pop-On captioning displays at the top or bottom of the screen, only in the center (think of center-justified text in a document). The captions indicate a speaker change by labeling the character’s name (i.e. “Rachel:”), or by using chevrons (>>) or a single hyphen (-).

This style is called Center-Placed Pop-On. It is different than Multi-Positional Pop-On.

Multi-Positional Pop-On is “placed” as well as timed, and the captions appear below or above the speaker. Unlike Center-Placed Pop-On, Multi-Positional Pop-On captions can appear anywhere on the screen — think of the screen as a nine-panel tic-tac-toe board, where captions can display in any of the nine segments. Multi-Positional Pop-On captions do not require speaker IDs, since the text appears below or above each speaker. Only when a speaker can be heard speaking off-screen does their dialogue receive a “Rachel:” or “Optimus Prime:” label in the captions.

To recap, Multi-Positional Pop-On style:

-Displays below or above the speaker, anywhere on the screen.

-Indicates who is speaking through placement.

Per new FCC regulations, offline captions must identify speakers to meet best practices. Multi-Positional Pop-On fulfills this best practice through the positioning of the captions.

Are you getting true pop-on caption style? To request a quote for Multi-Positional Pop-On captioning from VITAC, click here.