I need to become a closed captioner. Sound engineers are getting screwed.
We love Netflix in our house. We watch a little bit of everything with the exception of sports. I tend to gravitate toward Sci Fi. We all have good hearing but we like to turn on closed captioning anyway. We have consistent distractions to our auditory pleasure.
Our house is more or less one big room. The kitchen, living room, and dining room are all open together. My girlfriend’s 11 year old boy is often nearby on his computer watching Youtube. He’s home schooled. His computer, under our supervision, is his primary educational tool.
He’s an absolute sponge. He often recites the timeline of all human history, geology, astronomy, evolution, geography and more. Including the entire cannon and legend of Star Wars. It can be distracting even when he keeps the volume low. There’s no way we’re going to let him have headphones. We need to monitor what he’s doing, of course. When he starts reciting there is no volume control though. We let him go whenever he feels the need to share. So, we like the CC on to catch what we’d otherwise miss from his recitations of anything from plate tectonics to kyber crystals. (I just asked him for the proper spelling of “kyber.”)
But here’s the thing, why are sound effects so watered down on CC? We were watching “Dark Matter” the other day. It’s a pretty good sci fi show. No of the main characters remember who they are. SPOILER ALERT! When they are given hints, they find out they were all pretty horrible people, cold blooded mercenaries and pirates. Cross any one of them and it’s a short walk out an airlock. It’s pretty violent but we like the story and the performances. The fight scenes are spectacular. It’s a great way to unplug from Trump’s “greatness” these days. If I was deaf though, the CC does not do the sound engineer any justice. I’d be pissed if I spent a day crafting a new sound effect and all I got was “zip.”
The sound is really good. You’d never know it though reading the captions. Their ship makes FTL (faster than light) jumps while cruising the galaxy for adventure. It’s an electric zapping whizzing sound that seems as if it’s ripping apart the far end of a huge tunnel. It’s an epic sound of unimaginable power. If I were to CC it myself I’d type “zhzhzhzhzhwawaKAPWOWshhzhzhzip.” What actually comes up as the description? “woosh.” “woosh?” “WOOSH?!” Come on?!
Now I know I probably will never become a captioner. You need to be schooled in court reporting before you are taken seriously to get a job. But as more and more content is being made, and most likely AI will get the job of future CCing, please, someone take a hint from your favorite graphic novels when you code your speech to text algorithms. Would it kill you to throw in the occasional Batmanesque “KAPOW” or “BLAMO” as a sound description?
My work is done here. I now leave you via my jetpack.
Spread the word for better CC sound effect woooooooords!
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