Creating Post-Production Captions
Captioning, a textual representation of audio media, is an important accessibility tool for deaf students, and provides benefits and opportunities for learning for other people as well. There are many ways to caption instructional materials to ensure that they are accessible.
Ensuring That Your Media is Captioned
The most efficient strategy is to select media that is already captioned. While this is ideal, the reality is that the availability of captions varies greatly by media type.
If captioning is not readily available, there are three options:
- Create the captions in-house.
- Outsource to a captioning vendor.
- Choose comparable media that is already captioned.
Most institutions use a combination of these methods, depending on the demand and the staff availability and ability to fulfill requests. A well-prepared institution will have practical timelines for requesting captioning, whether the captioning is done in-house or is outsourced.
The Elements of In-House Captioning
The basic process for creating captions includes the following:
- Creating a verbatim transcript of the dialogue that includes speaker identification, sound effects, and other auditory information.
- Using captioning software to add time codes, which then synchronize the captions with the audio.
- Dividing the transcript into grammatically correct lines of no more than 32 characters (including spaces) per line; each screen should have no more than two lines of text.
- Importing the completed caption file into the video.
Considerations When Choosing a Captioning Vendor
According to the Described and Captioned Media Program Captioning Key, captions must be accurate, consistent, clear, readable, and equal. The captioning market has a wide variety in cost and quality. Institutions can shop for high-quality captions within budget. Some questions to ask include: