Five Things You Can’t Do On British Television

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From Tom Scott.

Pull down this description for information on all the shows I mention, plus all my references, and some advice if you’re looking to subtitle your videos!

🔤🔤 SUBTITLES 🔤🔤

15% of my viewers watch with subtitles! They’re helpful for folks without headphones, or in loud environments, or who can’t hear well, or who just like subtitles. More people will watch if subtitles are an option.

Before 2020, YouTube had a volunteer community-captions system. Alas, due to spam (and, I suspect, the difficulty of porting it to the new Studio), YouTube turned it off. So your options are:

OPTION 1: DO IT YOURSELF

If your video is one or two people talking, you can add subtitles easily with YouTube’s tools: https://support.google.com/youtube/answer/2734796 – that’s also possible for more complex videos, but it can be time-consuming.

OPTION 2: PAY A SMALL AMOUNT

If you can afford an editor, you can afford subtitles! They only cost $1-2 per minute of audio.

For simple audio, try Rev: https://www.rev.com/blog/coupon/?ref=tomscott To be clear, that’s an affiliate link: you get $10 of captions free (enough for up to an 8-minute video), and I get a kickback from them. However, my opinions of Rev are mixed. They have downsides, and they may not be the right option for you!

Advantages of Rev:
✅ Extremely fast turnaround
✅ Easy, simple, automated, self-service
✅ Reasonable price

Disadvantages of Rev:
🚫 Rev is a gig-economy company, with everything that entails. In 2019, transcribers raised issues including low pay. https://www.theverge.com/2019/11/25/20979249/rev-recordings-transcriptions-low-pay-complaints-freelance-transcribers
🚫 Accuracy is usually acceptable for clear speech, but not the near-perfect results you’d expect from a more high-end subtitle company.
🚫 They’re limited to their simple, narrow, house style. That isn’t ideal for videos with long sentences or many speakers.

For more complicated audio or for multiple speakers, try Caption+: https://caption.plus — a small company that produces extremely high-quality subtitles for a reasonable price.

Advantages of Caption+:
✅ Exceptional subtitle accuracy.
✅ Hand-tweaked broadcast-standard subtitles that are perfect for accessibility, and which the audience love.
✅ Can use positioning and per-speaker colors, and match other style requests.
✅ Still a reasonable price.

Disadvantages of Caption+:
🚫 Not automated: you’re dealing with a human by email, and paying invoices.

OTHER COMPANIES: I also used 3PlayMedia once, but unfortunately can’t recommend them based on that experience. YouTube also mention ceilo24 and Amara, neither of which I have experience with: https://cielo24.com/ https://amara.org/

📺📺 SHOWS 📺📺

Here’s a list of all the shows mentioned, with links where available. (Where Amazon links are listed, those are affiliate links, where I earn a commission from sales.)

The Demon Headmaster is available on DVD from Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/37Cb68U – and the 2019 revival is available in the UK on BBC iPlayer: https://www.bbc.co.uk/iplayer/episodes/m0009f6n/the-demon-headmaster

Derren Brown: The Events: How To Control The Nation is available for free on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyIilWb9SW0 – although it lacks the live broadcast cut-ins.

The pilot episode of Crisis Command: Could You Run The Country? has been uploaded to YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zjkSeuD-8yA – normally I wouldn’t link to an unofficial upload, but the series will likely never be repeated or see a commercial release.

Ghostwatch is available on DVD from Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/3kweAgL – I should absolutely have put the ghost in the background of one of my shots here, I regret missing that joke!

The full Ghostwatch continuity announcement is here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vDSZWpp_Rhw

Who Wants To Be A Millionaire have an entire YouTube channel. https://www.youtube.com/c/MillionaireUK/videos – and yes, Jeremy Clarkson is the host now, I suspect that’ll surprise a lot of people.

📙📙 REFERENCES 📙📙

Ofcom Broadcasting Code: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/tv-radio-and-on-demand/broadcast-codes/broadcast-code
On sports: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/tv-radio-and-on-demand/broadcast-codes/code-sports-events
On access: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/tv-radio-and-on-demand/broadcast-codes/tv-access-services
On advertising: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/tv-radio-and-on-demand/broadcast-codes/code-tv-advertising AND https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0020/16328/rules.pdf
"Only five complaints" about the Derren Brown show is from Broadcast Bulletin 148 [PDF]: https://www.ofcom.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0018/47160/issue148.pdf

Ghostwatch, and the "full tabloid fury afterwards", is well-documented in many places, so I’ll leave researching that to the reader. Don’t have nightmares.

📝📝 CONTACT 📝📝

I’m at https://tomscott.com
on Twitter at https://twitter.com/tomscott
on Facebook at https://facebook.com/tomscott
and on Instagram as tomscottgo

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