W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-tt@w3.org > February 2003

Bugs and TT (was TT and subtitling)

From: Joe Clark <joeclark@joeclark.org>
Date: Thu, 6 Feb 2003 08:48:13 -0500
Message-Id: <a05111a21ba681813b3e7@[]>
To: TimedText <public-tt@w3.org>

Yes, I'm on this list too. Happy new year!

>It is one of my company's current aims to add the ability for 
>bitmaps to be propogated through the chain from authoring to 
>display, for channel identification, logos etc. Whilst these usages 
>may not fall into the TT charter, the ability of TT to carry bitmap 
>data would IMHO considerably enhance its utility in the contexts in 
>which it is likely to be used.

There's a huge trend in Canada toward animated channel-identification 
logos ("bugs" 
<http://www.eddietalbot.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/squashthebugs/>). I've 
seen Flash animations less sophisticated than some of these, like 
Showcase's. They're inserted by rack-mounted equipment not very 
different from Line 21 encoders. (It's been the better part of a year 
since I toured Showcase's plant.)

In any event, they're certainly *text* or at least *writing*, and 
they are timed in two respects:

* They appear and disappear at certain times (whether static or 
animated). In particular, they disappear during commercial breaks.

* Animation where applicable.

Position also comes into play. Generally speaking, broadcasters here 
are too brain-dead to displace bugs to get out of the way of 
subtitles (sic-- foreign-language subtitles). But on occasion, I've 
seen bugs move over the course of an evening's viewing from bottom 
right to top left, for example, where the unit of time expressed is 
the *program* (first ten shows bottom right, overnight subtitled 
movie top left).

Broadening the discussion, what are generically known here as 
disclaimers (as in reference to program content, but also, oddly 
enough, in announcing that a program has audio description) are 
essentially very large bugs that appear and disappear. They're also 

>  Unicode does not cover every conceivable character

I would debate whether bugs and disclaimers are even "characters"; 
human beings have always created individual drawings where the 
existing writing system is not sufficient.

>Some of these may not be efficiently carried by SVG.

And let's not get too hung up on accommodating W3C technologies and 
nothing but. Let us not recapitulate the errors of the Web Content 
Accessibility Guidelines 1.0.

>         Personally I feel that in most cases the cause is lost for 
>existing **emission systems** (e.g. TV, DAB, DVD) adopting TT.

Not at the authoring level and at a level midway between authoring 
and emission.

Case in point: I know one broadcaster that has the idea (not a very 
solid one, in my view) of converting all subtitling and even closed 
captioning to Microsoft Word files (!) that are simply pushed through 
at airtime, rather comparable to live-display captioning.

At the authoring level, we're dealing with timed text all the time. 
What else do captioners and subtitlers deal with?

>         Certainly if TT were to be adopted for subtitling for our 
>purposes it would need a parallel or extension mechanism to carry 
>timed graphic data.

Or simply *refer* to it and call it up (and dismiss it, etc.) at 
predetermined times.

>Current multimedia standards (eg SMIL) are generally not appropriate 
>for subtitling.

That's a tad broad.

     Joe Clark | joeclark@joeclark.org
     Author, _Building Accessible Websites_
     <http://joeclark.org/book/> | <http://joeclark.org/bookblog/>
Received on Thursday, 6 February 2003 09:03:10 UTC

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