Not to be confused with image captions, video captions are text representations of spoken words and important sounds in a video. Often appearing along the bottom of the screen akin to subtitles, they can also be artistically placed on video frames using different fonts and formatting.
Closed vs. Open
Closed captions can be turned off, ie. the video can be shown without the captions. Open captions are always there. Everyone can see them at all times.
When authoring captions for accessibility purposes, be sure to include text for all audio that is spoken including meaningful sounds. Ask yourself, does leaving out this sound change the story, lesson or experience? The writer must use his or her own judgment.
Example: should you indicate in captions/transcript that someone has coughed?
- Someone is giving the commencement address and pauses to cough – not necessary to include.
- Character in a play is coughing, because it foreshadows her later death – important to the story, include.
Captions Should be
- Accurate: Captions must match the spoken words in the dialogue and convey background noises and other sounds to the fullest extent possible, as appropriate. Identify who is speaking.
- Synchronous: Captions must coincide with their corresponding spoken words and sounds to the greatest extent possible and must be displayed on the screen at a speed that can be read by viewers.
- Complete: Captions must run from the beginning to the end of the program to the fullest extent possible.
How to get your videos captioned
New Video: If MTS is filming your video, they can work with you to set up closed captions.
- Video you own: You may generate autocaptions or contact a vendor to have captions produced for you. If you decide to use autocaptions, please review the captions the computer provided and edit them for accuracy and punctuation before releasing or linking to the video.
Videos from external sources: do not embed videos that do not contain captions on Brandeis web sites. If the video is not accessible, you should avoid linking to it directly from the Brandeis website. If the video does not belong to you, try contacting the owner of the video and requesting that captions be added.