Captioning converts the spoken word into text, which is displayed on a caption unit (LED) situated on or next to the stage.
As well as dialogue, the captions also include the name of the character who is speaking or singing and descriptions of any sound effects or music.
Captioning is a service for anyone who may have difficulty hearing or understanding the audible elements of a live art event.
Try this …
Click the PLAY button and try listening to the following clip to see what you can make out. The clip has the high frequency sounds removed.
Now press PLAY again and try listening to the clip with captions. See how different that makes the experience.
Many people find the sounds more distinguishable and, therefore, easier to understand when the captions are displayed.
With theatre captioning, the captions are operated live, with a trained captioner triggering each line of text to be displayed as it is being spoken or sung.
The captioner will have worked on pre-formatting the script into the captioning software, working with a DVD recording of the show and viewing several live performances to make sure the text displayed accurately matches what is being said, as well as how, i.e. mirroring individual performers’ timing.
The preparation process can take between 60 and 80 hours of work!