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 offers 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 has a contract with Cielo24 for captioning services. Their service is integrated into Kaltura so that ordering captions is a seamless process for My Media content. There is also limited integration for captioning YouTube videos. Professional captions are a $1.50 per media minute for standard 48-hour turnaround time and $2.25 per media minute for expedited 24-hour turnaround time. The cost of professional captioning is the responsibility of the requestor unless there is an accommodation for captioning.

Captioning it Yourself (CIY)

Cielo24 can generate captions using automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology. These automatic captions require editing in order to be suitable for publication, but the ASR process can save time over captioning video from scratch. You should always review automatic captions and edit any parts that have not been properly transcribed. Cielo24’s automatic captions are free to order and edit for UC faculty, staff, and students. Refer to Ordering & Editing Automatic Captions for information on how to proceed.

Best Practices for Captioning

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. It is funded by the U.S. Department of Education and administered by the National Association of the Deaf. The DCMP offers widely accepted resources for captioning best practices. Visit the DCMP’s Captioning Key or Captioning Tip Sheet for guidelines and best practices for captioning educational video.

Five questions to ask yourself when editing or evaluating captions for accessibility:

  • Do captions accurately reflect the audio?
  • Does the timing of captions coincide with the audio?
  • Is it clear from the captions exactly who is speaking?
  • Are meaningful sound effects and speaker tone described?
  • Does placement, size, and pace of captions provide for easy readability of both caption content and screen content?

When There Is an Accommodation for Captioning

Student accommodation requests are supported through Accessibility Resources. Employee workplace accommodation requests are managed through Central Human Resources. If an accommodation request for captioning, for students, faculty, or staff is approved, the related costs of captioning services for prerecorded media are centrally supported by the Accessibility Network at UC. See the detailed guide, Ordering Professional Captions for Accommodations, for additional information on how to proceed with ordering captions when there is an approved accommodation.

Visit Accessibility Resources Uptown Campus, Blue Ash College, or Clermont College, for more information on accommodations or services, and other resources:

Live Captioning

For synchronous remote class meetings or live streamed content, live captioning is needed to provide access to the 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 (CAT). 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. Visit the W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) Making Audio and Video Media Accessible: Transcripts page for 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. Audio description services are coordinated through the Accessibility Resources Communication Access Team. Contact Katheryn Lane if you have questions about audio description. Visit the DCMP’s Description Key or Description Tip Sheet for guidelines and best practices for describing educational video.