Remote Learning - Captioning Livestreams

With the COVID-19 situation, many schools are using remote learning to support their students. With Streamer™ you can add open or closed captioning to your livestreams. This works with any livestream platform including Zoom, Facebook, Google, Citrix, Abode, Skype, RingCentral and more. We also have an option that ties directly into Zoom's captioning menu. 

Our Recommended Approach:
With Streamer, we think the easiest approach to use is also the best approach for everyone. Click the following three videos to learn more: Closed Captioning:
With closed captioning only the people that want to view the captioning do so, and they do this in their choice of over 100 languages. Once you've configured your Streamer accounts, you and your students just click on a desktop icon, that's all it takes. You'll use this same approach every time no matter which livestream platform you're using. You do not need to send out invite codes or URL links. Just click on the desktop icon and you're set. If for your closed captioning session you'll be using a shared account, you'll want to tell guests how they can view the captioning. Click here to view some templates you can use, and here to download a PowerPoint file of the templates.  

Open Captioning:
With open captioning everyone can see the captioning. This is true if they are viewing a live event or watching a recording that you previously made. With open captioning the students do not have to do anything, it's part of the video or livestream.   Streamer-Zoom™
This module lets you directly integrate Streamer™ with Zoom™ meetings and webinars. Attendees view the captioning directly in Zoom by clicking Zoom's Show Subtitles menu option. It’s easy to use, no downloads or installs are required, and it works with the free version of Zoom - there is no need to pay for a Zoom subscription to use this feature (or any of Streamer's features). Just open your Zoom account. and in the settings turn on the closed captioning option. You just need to do this once, from then on to caption your Zoom meetings and webinars you just:
  1. Start your Zoom meeting or webinar.
  2. Click the Zoom closed captioning icon to copy the API Token.
  3. Open Streamer™ and paste the Token into your Streamer-Zoom™ page.
Sofia Ramirez, a teacher that is using Streamer, made a short video on using Streamer-Zoom and for more detailed information, here's a video we put together. Also, here's a sample email you can send to your co-hosts with information on the accounts you'll create for them.

Configuration Settings:  When you open the Streamer-Zoom™ menu, you will see the following options for customizing your captioning. 
  • API URL:  As per the above videos, copy the Token API from Zoom and paste it here. 
  • BUFFER SIZE: A larger buffer adds a slight delay to the captioning, but allows full contextual-based transcription making it more accurate and easier for guests to read. Most people use the long buffer. 
  • DISPLAY:  If you and your guests are only using Windows computers, then select the Windows option. This provides instant captioning - each word is displayed as it is spoken. If computers other than Windows are being used, then select the All Operating Systems option. In this option full sentences are displayed a sentence at a time. 
  • TRANSLATE SUBTITLES: You can select the language in which the subtitles will be displayed. It does not matter which language(s) are being actually spoken, this is the language in which all the subtitles will be displayed. Note that everyone viewing the captioning will do so in this language. To give your guests the ability to choose their own language for the subtitles, create a separate Streamer™ account that they will use. Here's how you do that
User Tips for Streamer-Zoom:  
  1. Just before you paste the API Token into Streamer™, remember to clear the existing transcript by entering /clear into the command bar.
  2. Remember to turn on, or off, your Streamer™ microphone.
  3. For better captioning and faster translations, add a short pause at the end of each sentence (take a short breath).

Using Streamer in Auditoriums

If you’re using Streamer in an auditorium with low lighting, then the /setdisplay feature is something you may want to use. By default, each Streamer™ account is set to black text on a light gray background. That works great in bright situations like classrooms or conference rooms. The /setdisplay dark command changes the display to yellow text on a dark blue background. The captioning is still very easy to read, and now each person’s screen will emit less light. To switch back to the default setting, type /setdisplay bright. See the online help menu for a complete description of the /setdisplay command.

Using the Overlay Tool

Suggested Overlay SettingsDo you use PowerPoint slides, videos, or maybe some other application in the classroom? If so, the Overlay Tool is a great way to caption what you are saying. This tool superimposes the captioning on top of another application such as PowerPoint slides, Skype sessions, or videos. As a teacher, you can use this to overlay the captioning generated by Streamer™ on top of any slides you’re showing, or the student can overlay the captioning on top of an application running on their own device.

To launch the Overlay window, go to the Streamer Settings menu and select the Launch Overlay Tool item. If this is the first time you’ve done this, you’ll need to download and install the Overlay executable. Once the Overlay Window appears you can drag it to the desired location and click-and-drag the edges to resize it to your preference. Within the Overlay tool you can also choose your preferred settings. The figure shows our recommended settings:  
  • The Line Spacing setting sets how close you want each line to appear in the window. A setting of "1" means condensed lines, "9" means double spaced lines. and "3" is single-spaced.
  • The Transparency setting is for background shading – ranging from 0% for a completely transparent background to 100% being a solid color. 
  • The Caption Buffer tells Streamer™ how many words of context should be buffered before displaying the captioning on the screen. Streamer™ always uses context to generate the transcript. As new words are added to the sentence, previously captioned words may be dynamically updated; for example, perhaps changing the spelling of there to they're. When previously typed words are changed, the transcript "jumps" a bit. The buffer smooths out this process. The larger the buffer, the smoother the captioning appears to the guests. If this is set to zero, there is no buffer and each word is immediately displayed. When you add a buffer, the user does not see the initial words, only the ones that have already been contextually corrected. We recommend the medium or long buffer setting.
  • Avatar Size selects the size of the picture that will be shown for each person as they are speaking. This picture is the one they entered in their Account Settings page. We recommend the medium or large setting. This lets students and guests know who is speaking at any given moment, which can be very important for a person who is Deaf or Hard of Hearing.
The Caption All™ Tool

Coming soon is a new feature that, as the name implies, automatically captions everyone participating in a livestream event. If you want to caption a Zoom webinar or any other type of meeting, just launch Streamer on your computer and start the Caption All™ tool. This works for more than just livestreams. You can use it for videos, captioning television broadcasts, or a phone call. Any audio being played on your computer is automatically captioned. Once it's ready, it will be added to your Streamer Settings menu.

Home Bound and Off-Campus Students

By combining the information in the Captioning and Translating School Events article with this one, you have a complete captioning and translation system to support off-campus students. For example, you can set up a Skype session in the classroom that streams a live video to the student(s), and the student can then use the Overlay feature to display captioning on top of that video. Or you can set up closed captioning using a Facebook Live event, or embed captioning directly into a Zoom meeting. Even though the student is off-campus, they still have the exact same Streamer™ features as a student sitting in the classroom. And, as a teacher, you have the same privacy and security controls. You alone decide if and when a student can access the Streamer™ room, if and when they can download a transcript, and if and when they can participate in the captioning by adding text to the transcript.

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