The documentation team has recently started creating short videos to supplement our text help. The first video we shipped was for Tetravex, showing basic piece movement. The nice thing about this video is that it doesn’t include any UI elements with translatable text, so translators don’t have to go through the truoble of retaking it. It also has no audio, so there’s nothing to retake there.

But parts of the video could be helped by some explanations. For that reason, I started working on a media subtitling system for Mallard. The subtitles are written directly in your Mallard document, where they’ll get translated along with the rest of the document. They’re then inserted into the HTML and dynamically shown and hidden as the video plays.

Sample XML:

<media type="video" mime="application/ogg" src="figures/gnotravex-video.ogv">
  <p>Simple demonstration of a game</p>
  <e:captions xmlns:e="">
    <e:caption start="1" end="7">Drag pieces from the right to the left, making                                              
    sure that adjacent edges have the same number and color.</e:caption>
    <e:caption start="7" end="14">Press <keyseq><key>Ctrl</key>arrow keys</keyseq>                                           
    to move all the placed pieces at once.</e:caption>

End result (very much a work in progress):

5 Responses to “Mallard Video Captions”

  1. Philip Says:

    Nice work, but is there any reason you created a new subtitling/captioning format, when there are several available already[0]? The XML-based ones should fit into Mallard’s XML fairly easily. I make no claims as to how appropriate they are for this use case, but I would’ve thought one of them might be appropriate.

    How about TTML[1]?


    • shaunm Says:

      I had glanced at TTML. It’s a very large spec with a lot of stuff I don’t want to implement in this way. But it might be possible to use a small subset. The structure at least fits the way Mallard expects external stuff to appear in block context. I do want to embed inline Mallard markup into the captions though. I certainly agree we should use open XML standards whenever they work for our use cases. The experimental markup I used was more a proof of concept than anything else.

  2. Jim Campbell Says:

    The video degrades gracefully to placeholder text as I view this post in IE6. (Blame work policies, not personal preferences.)

  3. Jones Lee Says:

    Nice work, just wondering if this could be extended to marking, text with pointer or text annotation on top of the video as overlay?

  4. [...] said, “Why not add some simple captions to Mallard?” Philip said “Why not embed an existing format, like TTML?” Philip was so [...]

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