Golf Channel Tees Up EEG Captioning System
Like the top athletes that it covers 24/7, Golf Channel is always raising its game. When the sports network focused on improving the way captioning integrates with its HD workflow, it specified iCap, the Secure Realtime Captioning System from EEG.
Patrick Jones, senior broadcast engineer for the Golf Channel, helps oversee a broadcast plant where constant improvement, within a networked environment backed by full redundancy, is essential. “IP-based systems are the right fit for what we’re doing, going forward,” he says. “We have nearly 100% file-based acquisition, from production all the way through post. Between automation systems and RAID storage, virtually everything today is computer-based and interconnected. Everything’s digital, everything’s HD. iCap fits right in with that.”
An IP-based captioning system for connecting broadcast plants with remote captioners through secure firewalls, EEG’s iCap expands the possibilities for a fully integrated live captioning system. Since its introduction in 2008, iCap has gone far beyond what traditional dial-up platforms provide, enabling advanced monitoring, logging, backup, and multi-net configuration options.
In Golf Channel’s plugged-in facility, iCap emerged as the solution that would allow the network to achieve maximum reliability, as well as the best possible viewer experience. “Captioning is an important part of our mission,” Jones explains. “Our HD and SD path goes through the EEG HD480 that iCap is hosted on, so it’s an on-air product for us 24/7, 365 days a year.
“What we liked immediately about iCap,” he continues, “was that, since the HD source is distributed over the Internet, the captioner can hear it nearly in real time. We like to keep the captions as close as possible to the audio; iCap allows the captioners to clearly hear the audio before the satellite return. The result is that Golf Channel captioning is as accurate and as timely as possible.”
With iCap’s built-in administrative system, broadcasters can monitor, manage, and supervise the captioning process far more efficiently than ever before. Account management, password privileges, log-on and log-off, scheduling, communications, visual feedback for remote captioners, and troubleshooting are all part of the solution.
“The iCap Web GUI allows us to do many different operations, which is useful,” says Jones. “There’s a log so I can see which captioner has logged onto the iCap server network. So, if there’s a problem for any reason, I can look back and see what operator was using the system at the time. It’s part of the research, so we can understand what happened when something went wrong.”
Adding to the all-important dependability factor is Golf Channel’s long experience with EEG. “With so much change in this broadcast plant, the one constant we’ve always had here is EEG,” Jones notes. “Any need we’ve had, they’ve solved right away. For example, once when one of our HD480 Smart Encoders suddenly needed a new chip, they flew a technician down the same day to replace it.”
For Golf Channel, an advanced approach to HD infrastructure has made EEG’s iCap a necessity. “IP-based solutions are the way everything is going,” Jones says. “iCap is a match for how we approach captioning.”