Doctor Who, please turn the music down

An unlikely hero for an American boy

I love Doctor Who. I remember watching episodes with the fourth doctor, Tom Baker, when I was around 10 years old. I remember watching on Saturdays, eating pizza from the highway gas station while plotting out custom Dungeons and Dragons maps (which never got played, as an aside.) Those were the days when I paid more attention to the Doctor and his cool dog sidekick K-9 than any women in the show. I even read all the Dr. Who paperbacks I could find at the library.

What did you say?

Anyway, getting to the point…

Today I was watching Season 1, Episode 11 of the “New Doctor Who,” with the ninth doctor, Christopher Eccleston, and realized a lot of the new Doctor Who suffers from a common production problem.

In many of the episodes, any “background music” is very obnoxiously presented in the foreground. It seems impossible that anyone bothered to view the finished episodes before releasing them, as you can hardly hear the dialog and other action for the music being too loud! A lot of it is some sort of woodwind, maybe a bassoon?

Control your levels

Whether you’re making a movie, a YouTube video, or a video game: please, control your audio levels. Listen to them. Is your music too loud? What do you hear first — music, or dialog? This seems like a sophomoric aspect that anyone could properly diagnose. I do not know how the BBS messed it up with Doctor Who.

Separate volumes for video games

Lastly, when building video games with a music track, I highly recommend you provide separate volume settings for sound effects and music. No matter how hard you try, the music you choose to put in the game will not please everyone. For those of us who thing your music track stinks, you should give us the option to turn it off, or at least turn it down.

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Is GoodLearning.com giving up on video captions?

Hate what you love

Today I was editing captions for one of my video lessons on goodlearning.com, where I teach people to make game art and games. I was trudging along, editing the captions Windows Speech Recognition had built for me in Camtasia. Then I realized I was starting to hate this.

Captions are the right thing to do

I took on captioning for all videos I make starting a couple years ago. At the time, with Camtasia 6, I had to use a special caption exporter tool to make a caption file out of my Camtasia projects. It was worth it, though, because YouTube could use the captions. I’ve always preached about accessibility in web development, so I felt it was the right thing to do with my video lessons.

Going out of business helps no one

Fast-forward to today, as I’m working hard to transition from a freelance coder to a revenue-earning educator. As I strive to teach people to make game art and games in interesting ways, I certainly do not suffer writer’s block. Just reading off to you my terse notes about ideas would take a few hours. The problem is, post-production on videos is taking far too long. Captioning is the bulk of that time. If I can’t move forward more quickly in creating lessons and promoting them, I will not be able to help anyone make games, because I’ll have to go back to hourly coding just to pay the bills.

Is anyone even using my captions?

I have no idea how many people turn on the captions when viewing videos on goodlearning.com. The captions do not show up by default, but I also am not able to capture analytics on how many people turn them on in the JW Player I use. On Udemy, captions are added as “Open Captions,” meaning they are burnt in to the videos. Again, no idea how many people appreciate them. To date, my videos are the only ones I have seen on Udemy that even bother with captions.

This is a no-brainer

In conclusion, starting tomorrow, I will not be including captions in anymore goodlearning.com videos. If someone starts complaining about it, I might budge and revert that decision. I’m pretty sure noone will say a thing, though.

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