Captioning and Audio

Captioning for Videos

Captioning translates the audio part of a video into captions which appear at the bottom of the screen. The ‘closed’ part means that the text is hidden until it is selected (taken from McMaster Library Accessibility Services).

Why Do I Need to Close Caption my Video?

Captioning makes auditory information available to those who do not have access to audio. Inclusive Media cites a number of reasons to caption your web videos in their resource Reasons to caption web videos.

In addition to this, the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) requires that in order to meet legislative compliance:

  • Any video added to a [McMaster] website AFTER 2014, or being used in a class, presentation, public talk, or online course MUST be properly closed captioned – either as part of the production process, or retroactively.

McMaster Library Services has created a handy resource for close captioning at the university. Please visit McMaster Close Captioning for more information.

Closed Captioning on YouTube

YouTube supports closed captioning on its videos by allowing users to upload a closed captioning file with their video:

Using captions with YouTube

Alternatively, if you have a transcript of the audio in a plain text format, YouTube has a method of automatically timing it to create closed captions:

Using the automatic timing feature in YouTube

Audio Descriptions

Audio descriptions make visual information available to those who do not have access to the visual components of the video or animation.

If a video or animation is created with accessibility in mind, and important visual elements are described or referenced in the audio track, then audio descriptions are unnecessary. However, when describing the visual elements of the video is inappropriate for the content, a second version of the video that includes audio description can be created.

Inclusive Media provide a number of reasons to describe your Web Video:

10 Reasons to describe your web video

The WCAG (Web Content Accessibility Guidelines) group provides suggestions on how to meet the audio description guideline (1.2.3. Level A):

Meeting the audio description guideline

Using extended audio description (meaning that the audio track includes pauses to fully describe visual content rather than waiting for gaps in dialogue or narration):

Meeting the audio description guideline with extended audio