Captioning Real Media with MAGpie 2
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About MAGpie

Getting Started

Adding Captions

Exporting Your Project

PDF Handout


About MAGpie

What Is MAGPie?

MAGpie is a free application developed by the National Center for Accessible Media at WGBH Boston. It is a program that makes it easier to provide access to multimedia content for all types of users. With MAGpie, you can add text captions and audio descriptions to video files in order to provide an equivalent experience to users with vision and hearing difficulties.

You can use MAGpie to add captions to QuickTime, Windows Media, and Real Media files. For this tutorial, we'll go through the steps of applying captions to a Real Media file, but the other formats follow most of the same steps up to the export choice.


The MAG in MAGpie stands for Media Accesss Generator, and the application does just that. The pie is apparently only there to complete a clever name, but as you'll see in the tutorial, it could stand for "pretty intuitive & easy."

When you add captions to a file in MAGpie, on export, the application generates all the necessary accompanying files to enable the media player to disply synchronized captions.

Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language

These files consist of a text file and a SMIL (pronounced smile :)) file, and are used in conjunction with your base media to create the richer multimedia presentation. SMIL stands for Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language, and is a relatively simple language that enables users to link text, audio, and video files for presentation together. You can read more about SMIL at the W3C website.

While SMIL is not a complex language, coding SMIL files by hand involves lots of tedious attention to the base media's time code. MAGpie frees the user from this tedium and makes the process of adding captions to video *much* faster, and even fun!

For an example of SMIL at work, check out The Center for American History's video about Photojournalism & the American Presidency .

Alright, now that you know what this software can do, it's time to prepare to use it.

Getting Started>


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