Ben Achtenberg (
Tue, 16 Apr 2002 16:07:39 -0700 (PDT)

Here's an interesting little quirk of modern video making -- I've been
trying to warn all our filmmakers about it and realized that it's something
media buyers should be alert to as well:

At least five times in the last month we've had films submitted to us that
incorporated stock or archival footage as "b-roll." Unbeknownst to the
filmmaker, the source film that the footage was taken from was
closed-captioned. Since the new film was NOT captioned, the original
captioning was preserved in the b-roll footage.

Since I generally leave the captioning decoder switched on when watching
the monitor in my office, what happened was that -- in the midst of an
otherwise uncaptioned film -- captions suddenly appeared which had nothing
at all to do with what was being said in the voice-over or dialog. The
effect ranged from merely disconcerting to hilarious, but in all cases
seriously detracted from the viewing experience. It is definitely not
something you want to discover for the first time in the middle of a public
or classroom showing.

Eventually word of this problem will get around and it should disappear,
but in the meantime it may be worth screening new acquisitions with the
decoder turned on.

My understanding is that if the new film has itself been closed-captioned,
the new captions will overwrite the old, so there should be no problem with
these productions.

Caveat emptor...

Ben Achtenberg