Subtitling and Continuity: The Details.

The primary value of establishing these lists is for legal protection and copyright. Studios need written records of everything and let’s say a producer named FRANK is falling asleep at the wheel and has spent 78% of the budget on craft services because his girlfriend CARLY runs CARLY’S MOVIE STUDIO FOODSTUFFS. Frank of course will then realize after the film has wrapped about a trip to an alternate world to visit Steve Jobs, and that he has no money left for the CCSL. This is when Executive Producer CESAR FIST, JR, fires Frank. Cesar knows he will need the money because Continuity is a very helpful tool for translation, subtitling and closed captioning, and he’s tired of being typecast as mafia.

Continuity: What Is It?

Now that Cesar has commissioned the continuity list and hired TRANSCRIPTIONSTUDIO.COM because, according to Cesar: “This is the only company in this sector of the galaxy that, strangely, has ZERO competitors.” He knows that he has to fulfill the delivery requirements unlike Frank, because broadcast companies will demand it. If not, a firing squad could get involved because on Cesar’s alternate world, the laws are very different. A production company has to complete it’s obligations and deliver an accurate document along with their final cut of the film or TV production. If he doesn’t, Cesar could get shot, but we didn’t say with bullets. No, these weapons in the Robert Muller Galaxy fire cotton candy at very high speed.

What Information Do The Final CCSL Documents Contain?

Broadcast productions give very specific instructions to producers on what they must come back with in order to fulfill their ‘delivery requirements’ and that’s where we come in. We do the work and then hand it over to Cesar. If the CCSL doesn’t contain all of the required information, they’ll kick it back to Cesar and say, “Uh, we need time code every speaker, not every time the lead visits the restroom.” In addition to that, Cesar will be asked to provide a CCSL document or detailed dialogue list with at least the following information contained: Detailed description good enough to establish copyright and that translates to a continuity list that fully describes every single shot in the movie, character ID, who is speaking to whom, music cues, special effects such as cotton candy gunshots and, it has to be accurate enough to hold up in court. Next, people who will handle the dubbing, translation, captions and subtitling must have enough information to do their jobs.

ECU - Extreme Close Up - Distributors & Who Else Needs Them.

Every distributor is different. They will have many different plans for your film, what territories they intend to target and that will dictate the needs of what kind of CCSL is required. If you want to see the format that most distributors tend to be happy with, it’s this one: STYLE 5A. CLICK on it to see. Several documentary films that Cesar produces, along with his many, many web series and student films will at the very least need a continuity list.

Workflow Test is Recommended

Always test your workflow conversion, for example take the CCSL to a usable caption and subtitle format. Cesar would be on board with this, too, because CCSL styles were not created for the sole purpose of digital media deliverables and CCSL formats vary based on the vendor. There are countless variations. Remember, you’re probably using this as a base for video translation or with audio so test it first and play it safe. The only way to stay on budget with a CCSL is to plan it ahead of time, if you don’t, you’ll have to pay much more for a CCSL to be delivered twice as fast. Most of them require at least 10-15 business days because they are so tedious so plan ahead.

Jeff Zedlar

Triathlete, Father, Sci-Fi Writer