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Post Production Captioning

two women sitting in front of a screen with subtitles displayed

Post-Production captions are a text alternative to video content that contains all auditory information included in the video. For pre-recorded videos like news announcements or course lectures, post-production captions are legally required. As of December 21, 2020, Zoom cloud recordings are automatically captioned using machine-generated captions (70-90% accuracy rate). Any recordings that will be shared through a public-facing website or Canvas course should be edited for accuracy using the Captioning Key Guidelines and built-in captioning editor in Kaltura or by requesting 99% accurate professional captioning. Machine-generated captions are generated by default for any video uploaded to Kaltura, and can be edited by following the self-service instructions.

Legal Requirements and University Policy

Any recorded video content that is posted to a public place is required to provide an alternative access format. To be ‘Above Standard’ is to provide synchronized captions and an edited transcript. To be ‘At Standard’ is to provide either an edited transcript or synchronized captions. To be ‘Below Standard’ is to provide an unedited transcript or automatic speech recognition (ASR) generated captions.

In accordance with the requirements of the state of Virginia and Section 508 the Final rule, all video content dated January 18, 2018, and later that is available via a web location must be captioned at 99% accuracy. Legacy content that has not been altered since January 18, 2018, is not required to be modified to conform. However, users should be provided clear instructions on how to request legacy content be captioned. 

Requesting Post-Production Captions

Professional Service 

By default, creators of all videos used to support a student or employee with an accommodation for captions can obtain 99% accurate professional captioning with turnaround time determined by the SSD captioning manager.  Other instructors creating pre-recorded course videos qualify for the “best effort” service (five business-day turnaround time) at no cost. Professional captions can be ordered directly through Kaltura.

Before requesting professional services, creators should check the accuracy of the machine-generated captions. Sometimes quicker turnaround can be achieved by editing the machine captions

Videos that do not qualify for the centralized 99% accurate captioning service can still be professionally captioned at the rates listed in 4help. Videos stored in locations outside of Kaltura (such as YouTube or Vimeo) can leverage the capabilities of those systems to create captions or use the Kaltura captioning output and upload it to another location.

Current Faculty, Staff, Instructors of Record, and Graduate Teaching Assistants may request professional post-production closed captions for Virginia Tech courses. Employees who are content managers for public-facing content may also request post-production closed captions. Professional captioning services using the centralized fund cannot be used for research.

All requests are reviewed and authorized by a Virginia Tech captioning manager. Once the request is approved, it will be processed within the requested time frame. When the captions are complete, they will automatically sync back to the video with no additional user action required.

Free Self-Service Closed Captions

Not all videos need professional captioning at 99% accuracy. For videos longer than 45 minutes or videos that will not be used to support instruction and are not available to the public, it is more practical to use machine-generated captioning. There are a variety of self-service closed captioning options available internally and externally. The main tool available to the university community is Kaltura. All videos uploaded to Kaltura are automatically captioned using machine-generated captions (70-90% accuracy rate). Non-instructional employees can log in to the video portal for Kaltura (, to manage videos and request captioning.

The length of time needed to edit machine-generated captions that are 70-90% accurate is approximately 10 minutes per minute of video. For videos with clear audio quality and clear non-technical speech, the time may be shorter.

Free, machine-generated closed captions are available anytime and are automatically requested for Zoom cloud recordings. The machine-generated captions are created in approximately 30 minutes with an accuracy rate of 70% or more. For videos that will be shared publicly, machine-generated captions are not accurate enough to meet the legal obligations under the Americans with Disabilities Act. For videos that will be shared publicly, captions should be edited for accuracy. See the Kaltura knowledge base article captioning section to learn more about editing captions. For videos hosted on other sites like YouTube or Vimeo, use the editing tools available from the host site.

Email with questions about post-production captioning.