Captioning Videos

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Accessibility in Videos

It is always important to keep in mind the many ways in ensuring that everyone has access to the content you create. One can broaden the usability of their videos for anyone at different times by providing captions, transcripts, or audio descriptions. This article will provide you with an overview of what captioning is, how it supports learning, and the technical aspects of how to add captions to recordings using tools currently available at the University of Windsor.

What is Captioning?

Captioning is the process of using time-synchronized text to convey all spoken content from television, visual screens, or any other visual display. Additionally, captioning incorporates non-speech descriptions that articulate sounds like indistinct or background speech, music, and even dialogues. The benefits of captioning lie in its ability to offer additional support in numerous ways, which include:

To gain a better understanding just how important captioning is in everyday life, watch this 3:30 minute video produced by the Collaborative for Communication Access via Captioning Organization called “Don’t Leave Me Out!”.

Why should you include Captions in your Videos?

Under the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA) guidelines, all internet websites and web content must conform with the World Wide Consortium Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 Level A and Level AA requirements. WCAG 2.0 is an accessibility guidelines for organizations to comply with in order to ensure every element on their website and web content are as accessible as possible to everyone. The key guideline that applies to video content requires captions be provided for all pre-recorded audio content. You can learn more about the recommendations for implementing accessibility principles by reviewing the WCAG 2 Checklist.

Accessible Video Sharing Platforms

Currently, there are two platforms that are provide automatic captioning and are accessible to University of Windsor students and staff: Microsoft Stream and YouTube. Both platforms include functionality that improves the accessibility of content for users such as auto-generating/editing/downloading captions and transcripts. While other platforms are used within the University community for sharing video content such as uView and Blackboard Collaborate Ultra (Virtual Classroom), these platforms required the user to create and to upload their own caption files from a source outside of the platform, which limits the accessibility of the platforms for sharing content which is mindful of the AODA regulations for captioning recorded videos. In order to help users determine which platform is best suited for their needs, a brief summary of key differences has been provided below.

Considerations Stream YouTube
Blackboard Integration

Videos uploaded to Stream can be shared within Blackboard either using a link or by embedding the video. For step by step instructions on embedding, please review the Embedding Microsoft Stream Videos in Blackboard article.

Videos uploaded to YouTube can be shared within Blackboard using a link, by embedding the video or through the Mashup tool available within the content editor in Blackboard.

Security and Privacy

Access to videos uploaded is limited to the company or organization (ex: University of Windsor) when using the default permission setting, Allow Everyone in Your Company to View This Video. If this option is deselected the video remains visible to the owner only.

Permissions allow the owner to share the ability to view or edit with groups they are a member of, by uploading to an existing channel or with individual people.

When the video is Shared with a group, channel, or select number of people they are automatically given the ability to view, however the ability to edit must be granted by raising the individual/group intended to Owner status.

Within the Privacy Settings, videos may be set as Public, Private, or Unlisted.

  • The Public setting allows anyone who can access YouTube to view the video.
  • The Private setting initially hides the video from everyone but the owner and allows the video to be shared with up to 50 select individuals via email addresses.
  • The Unlisted setting removes the video from any public search results/feeds however anyone with access to the link may view it.

Availability This application is available as a part of the Office 365 package which all University of Windsor faculty and staff have access to. This platform is available to the general public for use free of charge.
To learn more about how to use these features, please review the sections below Captioning in YouTube and Captioning in Microsoft Stream. Each section provides step by step instructions for users with images and/or animated GIFs for support. Both images and animated GIFs can be clicked on to examine at a higher resolution.

Accessing Recordings from Bb Collab Ultra (Virtual Classroom)

Download Recordings from Blackboard Collaborate Ultra (Virtual Classroom)

Blackboard Collaborate Ultra (Virtual Classroom) does allow you to download recordings from Blackboard to upload them to an accessible platform that includes automated captioning. For more on how to access recordings from Blackboard Collaborate Ultra (Virtual Classroom) to be downloaded, please review the instructions below. Once you have accessed your download, you can proceed to upload it on your choice of accessible web platforms that provide automatic captioning.

  1. In your Blackboard Course site, open Blackboard Collaborate Ultra. You can do this from the left menu by clicking the Virtual ClassroomTool Link or by selecting Control Panel, Course tools, and Blackboard Collaborate Ultra.
  2. Select the three horizontal lines to open the menu panel, and select Recordings.
  3. Locate the recording you wish to download and select the three dots located to the right of the duration of the recording.
  4. From the dropdown menu, select Download Recording. Your recording will begin to download in your computer's designated downloads folder.

Captioning in MS Stream

Captions can be automatically generated using Microsoft Stream as long as the feature is enabled. To enable the generate automatic captions and transcript feature in Stream, please review the Microsoft article on Automatic Captions in Stream. There are two main ways to edit the transcripts of captioning: editing in Stream or editing in the Caption File. For more information please watch this video on Using Stream to Caption Videos.

Editing Transcripts Directly in Microsoft Stream

  1. Select a video and ensure that the transcript is displayed to the right of the video. If the transcript is not shown, select View Settings and then Show Transcript.
  2. Click on the Edit Transcript icon in the top right-hand corner of the transcript box.
  3. Select the segment of text you wish to edit and make any changes directly in the text box. Click on Save and select another segment to continue.
  4. Click on View Transcript, in the location previously displaying Edit Transcript, to exit edit mode once finished.

Editing Transcripts using the Caption File

Rather than editing the transcript in Microsoft Teams, there is also an option to edit the caption file directly in a text editor.

  1. To download the caption file, locate the Edit button for your video.
  2. Click Download file in the Options section to save and edit the autogenerated caption file.
  3. Open the downloaded file in any Text Editor. For Windows users Notepad++ is recommended. For Mac user, TextEdit is recommended.
  4. Without editing the timings, locate any incorrect text and correct it.
  5. To save your new caption file, click Save As and rename your file. Include ".vtt" at the end of the file name. This will ensure that the file is recognizable by Stream. For Mac users, uncheck both “Hide extension” on the bottom left hand side of the menu, and “If no extension is provided, use “.txt””. ForWindows, users, Under “Save as type:” select “All Files.”.
  6. Now that you have a new and accurate file, return to the edit page of your video. In the options area, remove the autogenerated caption file and upload the new file.

Captioning in YouTube

Automatic Captioning

YouTube is equipped with various tools that help make the videos you create accessible to a wider audience. When a video is uploaded to YouTube, captions are automatically generated. If the auto-generated content needs to be edited due to incorrect misinterpretations, YouTube offers several ways to modify your closed captions. There are three options for modifying automatic captioning:

  • editing/removing the text and time codes of your captions
  • uploading a supported subtitle and closed caption file
  • manually typing/pasting in a full transcript that then becomes automatically matched with the speech in the video.

Automatic Captioning

One of the video streaming services that YouTube offers it the ability to add and edit captions to videos owned by you. With the use of speech recognition technology, your captions can be automatically generated. Please follow the instructions below on how to auto-generate captions to your YouTube video: Upload the video to YouTube. Captions will then be automatically generated.After signing into your YouTube Studio account, in the top right-hand corner, click CREATE. Another option is to select UPLOAD VIDEOS from your dashboard.

Edit or Remove Captions
  1. On the left-hand side from your Studio Dashboard, select VIDEOS.
  2. Scroll to the video you wish to view on YouTube. Select View on Youtube.
  3. Click on SETTINGS located in the bottom right of the player.
  4. In the menu, select SUBTITLES.
  5. Turn-on English (Auto-Generated) captioning.

Edit or Remove Captions

If the captions provide misrepresented content, you can easily edit or remove any part that have not been properly transcribed. If any content needs to be removed or edited once the captions have been published on the video, please see the article on how to Edit or Remove Captions or follow the instructions demonstrated below:

  1. From the left menu, select SUBTITLES.
  2. Under the "Subtitles" column, select OPTIONS ⋮.
  3. From the drop down menu, select EDIT ON CLASSIC STUDIO.
  4. At the top right, click EDIT.
  5. Click inside any line in the caption track to edit any text.
  6. Click inside any timing caption track to edit.
  7. Save Changes.
Transcribe and Auto-Sync Captions

Transcribe and Auto-Sync Captions

YouTube's Transcribe and Auto-Sync tool allows you to type or paste in an entire transcript of the video, which then automatically lines up the text with the speech in the video. For additional instructions, please visit the YouTube's Transcribe and Auto-Sync page to learn more.

  1. In your creator studio menu on the left-hand side, select SUBTITLES.
  2. Select the title of the video you wish to transcribe and auto-sync your captions.
  3. Under the subtitle column, click ADD.
  4. From the list of methods on the right-hand side, select TRANSCRIBE AND AUTO-SYNC.
  5. Copy and paste the transcript into the text box.
  6. Click SET TIMINGS.
  7. Select the DRAFT you are currently working on to apply the transcribed captions.
  8. Look over the timing and placement of your text for accuracy.
  9. Click SAVE CHANGES when you are finished.

Creating Transcripts from Captioned Videos

A transcript is a text version of all of the words spoken in a video. Captioned videos can be used to create verbatim transcripts. Transcripts can be a useful to both for instructors and for students. Transcripts can aid in notetaking as well as reviewing content covered in a video. The process of creating transcript from a video hosted on two common platforms (Microsoft Stream and YouTube)has been documented below.

Creating a Transcript with YouTube Videos

If the YouTube video is captioned (automatically or manually), the transcript will be available.

  1. Below the video click on the three dots and select "Open transcript"
  2. The transcript window will open on the right side. To remove timings, click on the three dots and select "Toggle timestamps".
  3. Click and drag over the text needed, then right click the selected text and select Copy to copy the text to the clipboard.
  4. Choose any text editor on your machine, then right click and select Paste to paste the text.

Creating a Transcript from a Microsoft Stream Video

If the Stream video is captioned (automatically or manually), the transcript will be available. However, access to caption files within Microsoft Stream is limited to the owner of the video.

  1. As an owner of a video in Microsoft Stream, click the Edit button to go to the Update video details screen.
  2. In the Options section, next to Captions, click Download file.
  3. VTT Cleaner is a web utility that will convert a captions file into plain text. click Choose Files and pick the VTT file(s) you downloaded from Microsoft Stream.
  4. The transcript portion of the VTT file(s) selected will be output below. Click the Copy transcript button above the transcript to copy it to the clipboard.Paste the text into any text editor by right clicking and selecting Paste.

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