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Post Production Captioning

two women sitting in front of a screen with subtitles displayed

What is it? 

Post Production Closed 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 for creating inclusive media. Since 2019, automatic speech recognition (ASR) post-production captioning has been available through Kaltura. In summer 2020, a professional requestable captioning service was added. Either service can be requested for videos stored in Kaltura.

Professional Service Eligibility

The professional captioning service is currently limited to direct course instruction. All courses supporting a student with an accommodation for captions can request the professional captioning service at no cost. Any instructor creating pre-recorded course content can request the “best effort” service at no cost. Class recordings that are not part of a student accommodations are not supported at this time. Other public facing content can be requested and will be supported as funds allow. As long as they meet the following requirements:

  • Video already recorded and uploaded to Kaltura
  • 45 minutes or less in length
  • Video(s) being posted via a publicly available URL

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, it is more practical to use Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) 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. Students and instructors can now upload videos and request captions in Kaltura through the Canvas learning management system (LMS). Non-instructional faculty can log in to the video portal for Kaltura (video.vt.edu), to manage videos and request captioning.

When should I request this?

Free, machine-generated closed captions are available anytime. Automatic Speech Recognition (ASR) makes it possible for these captions to be created in approximately 30 minutes with an accuracy rate of 75% or more. 

Professional services for instructional videos that are already in Kaltura can have 99% accurate closed captions in 5 business days or less. For any video:

  1. Select the “Action” button menu
  2. Choose “Caption & Enrich” from the menu
  3. Choose service level “Professional”
  4. Choose turnaround time Best Effort (5 business days or less) or 48-hour
  5. Select “Submit” button

By default, video owners should request “Best Effort.” Accommodation requests can leverage the 48-hour (2 business days) or 24-hour services. All requests will be reviewed and authorized by a captioning manager from TLOS. 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.

Who can use it?

Current Faculty, Staff, Instructors of Record, and Graduate Teaching Assistants may request professional closed captions for Virginia Tech courses. Employees who are content managers for public facing content, may also request closed captions.

How do you get it?

To request captions for any video stored in Kaltura, select any video, then:

  1. Select the “Action” button menu
  2. Choose “Caption & Enrich” from the menu 
  3. Choose service level “Machine” 
  4. Select “Submit” button

For a full walkthrough, read the captioning section of the Kaltura knowledge base article

For videos outside the Kaltura system, get started by emailing captioning@vt.edu with the following information:

  • Name
  • Department
  • Reason for requesting
  • Requesting 5 business day or 48-hour service
  • Name of video(s)
  • Video information (exs. video link, video location and title, canvas course ID and Video title, etc.)

Frequently Asked Questions

Self service and automatically generated closed captions

For videos in Kaltura accessed either through Canvas or Video.vt.edu, content owners can request machine captions and then edit them with the Kaltura caption editor. For videos outside Kaltura, use the editing tools available from the host site (i.e., YouTube, Vimeo, etc).

Machine generated captions are appropriate for recordings that are not publicly available and require a VT login for access. For example, class lecture recordings that comply with the Registrar’s FERPA recommendations and are posted only to the course Canvas shell. Should a student or employee with a disability need the recording captioned professionally, simply include that in the comments section of the request.

This depends on the quality of the output, the clarity of the speaker, the audio quality and the length of the video. The length of time to edit machine generated captions that are 70-80% 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. However, classes with a GTA may find that a GTA can edit machine captions more quickly than the professional captioning service.

Pre-recorded videos provided as part of flipped and hybrid teaching models should have 99% accurate closed captions. Instructors may choose to have a GTA edit the machine generated captions or request the “best effort” professional captioning service. Recordings of class should minimally have machine generated captions. Should a student without an accommodation request a higher accuracy, we will attempt to support class recordings funds permitting.

Professional closed captions

First come first served for any videos that directly support instruction. Requests that are related to supporting student accommodations qualify for 48-hour turnaround time. All other instructional requests qualify for the “best effort” (5 business days) turnaround time. Others should contact captioning@vt.edu for advice and pre-approval. Professional captioning services using the centralized fund cannot be used for research. 

Videos that are requested by an individual with a disability automatically qualify. Pre-recorded videos the support direct instruction also qualify for the no cost professional post-production captioning.

Upload videos to Kaltura, request service level “professional” and “48 hour” turnaround time. Accessible Technologies and Services for Students with Disabilities collaborate on a pre-approval list for all instructors supporting accommodations.

99% accurate including videos containing technical terms.

Additional Questions

After captions of any service level are requested and returned, the interactive transcript link will appear below the video frame.

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 on a 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 an accommodation for legacy content to be captioned. 

Please email additional questions to captioning@vt.edu.