Video & Media

Accessible media is essential for people with disabilities. All videos and prerecorded media such as digital lectures, audio presentations, podcasts, and presentation slides with recorded narration, should be produced so that all members of the audience can access their content. Depending on the content, this might mean adding captions, a transcript, audio description, or other functionality. It may mean creating new media or making existing media accessible. The university manages enterprise tools and systems which can assist in this process.


Captions provide complete textual representation of the audio portion of a video, including relevant non-speech information and speaker identification. They are essential for accessibility to individuals who are d/Deaf or hard of hearing and may benefit those with auditory processing delays or dyslexia, and others. Captions support multimodal learning and may aid viewers for whom English is not their native language, those learning new terminologies, anyone in a noisy environment, or when audio is not convenient.

There are two general approaches to captioning, either outsourcing to a captioning service or captioning it yourself:

Outsourcing to a Captioning Service

The University of Cincinnati contracts with Kaltura REACH v2 and 3Play Media for video captioning. These services are integrated in Kaltura so that ordering captions is a seamless process for My Media content.

  • Machine captions are free to order by UC faculty, staff, and students. They can be ordered through My Media within Canvas courses or UC’s main Kaltura MediaSpace (KMS) site. These captions are auto generated and will not meet the 99% accuracy threshold necessary to be suitable for accommodations. Machine captions should be reviewed for accuracy and formatting. 
  • Professional captioning is fee-based and can be requested through specific Kaltura MediaSpace sites. Professional captions are edited by human transcriptionists which results in higher quality captions. Units, departments, and colleges can submit a request to purchase professional captioning credits. Once processed, these credits are transferred into the respective KMS profile associated with the request.
  • The UC Accessibility Offices manage captioning related to disability accommodations. Requesting captions for accommodations is done through the Accessibility Resources Kaltura MediaSpace site. Captions are ordered and processed in a moderated fashion and only requests associated with an active accommodation for captioning are authorized.

Additional Outsourcing Resources

Captioning it Yourself (CIY)

REACH v2 can generate machine captions using automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology, or a text transcript file can be uploaded to a video in Kaltura and auto aligned. Please note that machine captions are not suitable for accommodations.

Refer to the following KB articles for step-by-step instructions:

Another option is adding captions using caption-authoring software. There are free online tools (browser-based) for this, such as Amara Subtitle Editor, and YouTube, or downloads like CADET (Caption And Description Editing Tool) or AegiSub.

Additional CIY Resources

Refer to the following sources for more guidance: 

Best Practices

The Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP) provides guidelines for captioning best practices that are consistent with Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules and WCAG 2.0 standards. Visit the DCMP’s Captioning Key or Captioning Tip Sheet for guidelines and best practices for captioning educational video.

Elements of Quality Captioning

  • Accurate: Errorless captions are the goal for each production.
  • Consistent: Uniformity in style and presentation of all captioning features is crucial for viewer understanding.
  • Clear: A complete textual representation of the audio, including speaker identification and non-speech information, provides clarity.
  • Readable: Captions are displayed with enough time to be read completely, are in synchronization with the audio, and are not obscured by (nor do they obscure) the visual content.
  • Equal: Equal access requires that the meaning and intention of the material is completely preserved.

Live Captioning

For synchronous remote class meetings or live streamed content, live captioning is needed to provide access to audio content for audience members who are d/Deaf or hard of hearing. At the University of Cincinnati, these services are coordinated through the Accessibility Resources Communication Access Team. See the Communication Access Team page for more information on how the CAT supports the provision of real time translation and interpreting services, or to request services.


Transcripts are a textual representation of audio information, including relevant non-speech information needed to understand the content. Like captions, they are essential for accessibility to individuals who are d/Deaf or hard of hearing and may benefit those with auditory processing delays or dyslexia, and others. Descriptive transcripts for videos also include visual information to provide audio and video content to people who are both d/Deaf and blind.

Transcripts can be ordered or produced using the same resources as those described for captioning. The W3C Web Accessibility Initiative's (WAI) Making Audio and Video Media Accessible: Transcripts page offers extensive information on understanding and creating accessible transcripts.

Audio Description

Audio description is a narrative added to the audio track of a video that describes important visual details that are needed to understand the content, making it accessible to people who are unable to see the video. Visit the DCMP’s Description Key or Audio Description Tip Sheet for guidelines and best practices for describing educational video.

Contact at UC if you have questions about audio description.