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Captioning and Translating Remote Services

Streamer™ can be easily used to support individuals that are joining you from a remote location, such as from their home or a medical facility. Or maybe you've decided to go totally remote, closing your campus because of the COVID-19 virus. Whether you are hosting on-campus services, or remote, or a combination of both, you will still use Streamer™ the same way. People in remote locations join in just like they do if they are seated in your auditorium. They can either use a shared Guest account that you've set up for everyone to use (this is by far what most churches do), or they can have their own personal account. Here is a video showing you how this is done for livestreams. Here is a separate article with information on creating user accounts and how people can view the captioning. In this one, we'll go over additional tips and suggestions to use for remote situations. 

For streaming services, most churches use a video sharing app such as Facebook Live or Zoom. This is often combined with a tool like vMix or OBS. All these systems work fine with Streamer. The following discussion uses Zoom as the example, but whatever video sharing tool you are using will work fine. There are four ways you can configure your streaming: 
  1. Closed-Captioning - Have Guests Open a Streamer Window on Their Remote Computer:  This is the most commonly used approach for remote captioning and translation of live (versus pre-recorded) events. It's easy to set up, and easy to use. There are three reasons this may be your preferred option versus the other two options listed below: (1) This way only the people that want to view the captioning will do so versus everyone, (2) the people viewing the captioning can choose their own preferred font and color layout, and (3) each person can view, and hear, the captioning in their own preferred language - they simply log in using the shared account that you've created for them. To view the captioning guests open a Streamer window on their device (e.g., computer, tablet, phone) just like they do when they're in your auditorium. As was discussed in the first article, you'll most likely want to set up shared accounts for them to use, an account where the language is specified, To let guests know about the account you can display a pre-service slide, something like this. To download a PowerPoint version of this slide, click here. Note that for every service you and your guests will use the exact same approach - you do not need to send out a new URL or invite code or anything like that. Set it up once, and you are set from then on. Here is a video showing you how Closed Captioning is done for livestreams. If you will be having multiple people speak during your service, it is recommended they join you in your Streamer room. Here's a sample email you can send to your other speakers with information on how they can use the accounts you'll create for them.   

  2. Open-Captioning - Display the Captioning in Your Livestream. This is the second most common approach being used for live events, and it is the approach you will use if you're creating a video that church members will view at a later time. In this setup the guests do not have to do anything special, they'll just log into Zoom (or whatever video sharing application you are using) and view the captioning. To do this, configure Zoom to share what is being displayed on your monitor. On that monitor show your live video or slides in the top portion of the screen, with the Streamer captioning window shown underneath. Click here to see how this looks, and here to watch a video on how to set up your recording session. Note that you can increase the font size by using the Chrome browser settings to zoom in on the page. It's also recommended that when you do this you hide the right side panel. Note that you can of course use this option and the previous one at the same time, for example have everyone see the English captioning and at the same time allow Spanish speaking individuals to have a Spanish translation appear on their computer.

  3. Integrated Captioning -- Use the Streamer-Zoom Feature:  This is a module that lets you directly integrate Streamer™ with Zoom meetings and webinars. 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 the Streamer features). Here's a video we put together showing how it works. In summary, 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.

    Here is a page with more information on using the Streamer-Zoom™ feature. Also, here is a sample email you can send to your co-hosts with information on the accounts you'll create for them.

  4. Use the Overlay Feature: In this option you'll do the same steps as is done in the Open Captioning approach, except the captioning is now superimposed on top of the slides or video versus being positioned underneath them. To launch the Overlay window, go to the Streamer Settings menu and select the Launch Overlay Tool item. The first time you do this you’ll need to download and install the Overlay executable. Note that currently the Overlay tool only works on Windows computers. We will soon be releasing a version that runs on Macintosh computers as well. 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 the settings we recommend. 
    • The Line Spacing setting sets how close you want each line to appear in the window. A setting of “3” means just slightly more than single spacingSuggested Overlay Settings (a setting of "1" means condensed lines, and "9" means double spaced lines).
    • The Transparency setting is for the background shading – ranging from completely transparent (meaning no background color) to a solid color. We recommend a setting of 70%.
    • 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. Use a Short buffer for someone that speaks very quickly, and a Medium buffer for someone using a conversational cadence, and a Large buffer for someone who speaks slowly.
    • Avatar Size selects the display size of the presenter’s picture. We recommend the medium or large setting. This lets guests know who is speaking at any given moment (which can be very important in remote captioning situations). The picture that is being displayed is the one entered in the user’s Account Settings page.
Additional Tips and Help
Here are some additional tips for you when your are hosting the service:
  • Sharing Documents:  To send a document, such as a Bible study guide, to everyone that is logged into your Streamer room, just drag-and-drop it into the transcript window. If you want to send a document to just one individual or a specific group of people, in the command bar (1) type their account names such as @user1 @user2, (2) Click the Upload icon (the "cloud" at the right-edge of the command bar) and select your document, and (3) click "Send". When you do this the document is saved in their Messages page.
  • To Clear the Transcript, simply type /clear into the text bar. There is no undo command, and we never store any backups of any of your data. Your data is yours alone, we do not make any copies or save any records. When you clear a transcript, it's gone forever
Here are some additional tips we recommend you share with your remote guests:
  • They can change the font size by clicking on the Chrome Settings Menu (the three dots in the upper right-hand corner) and zooming in on the webpage.
  • Create a desktop shortcut by opening the More Tools option in the Chrome Settings Menu and selecting the Create Shortcut option. Double-click on the shortcut and you’re automatically placed directly into your Streamer™ room.
  • Download Transcripts by clicking on the Streamer Settings menu (see Item "G" in the Quick Start Guide).
  • Show/hide the right side panel by clicking on the Streamer Settings menu(see Item "G" in the Quick Start Guide).
  • If they have a question on using Streamer™ the best way to reach us is by typing @Streamer-Admin message into the text bar at the bottom of the Streamer™ display, where message is the question. We’ll get back to them as soon as possible. Look for the answer in the Notifications page (see Item "B" in the Quick Start Guide). 
Click on the in the upper right corner of the Streamer™ interface to see the complete set of commands that you can use. 

Let Us Know if you Have Any Questions

In the next article in this series gives you tips for churches that are streaming services to multiple locations. If you have any questions at all you can contact us by sending an email to info@churchcaptioning.com, calling us at 952-381-1234, or by sending a Streamer message by typing @Streamer-Admin in the Streamer™ text box.
Thanks for Being Part of our Mark 16:15 Team

By working together, we can ensure that everyone hears the Good News.
"Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all"  Mark 16:15 
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