Video Creation and Captioning
This page provides resources to help you create and caption your own videos; locate campus resources to caption public videos; and search for videos that already have captions.
- Download a PDF version of this page: Video Creation and Captioning at Cal Poly [PDF]
- Download a PDF version of Video Captioning in YouTube [PDF]
- Instructional Continuity: Captioning for Live and Recorded Lectures
Videos with Captions Improve Learning for All Students
National Research Study: Student Uses and Perceptions of Closed Captions & Transcripts (Oregon State University, 2016)
PDF version for download: National Research Study: Student Uses and Perceptions of Closed Captions & Transcripts
Create and Caption Your Own Videos
Cal Poly IT services and CTLT provide software, resources and workshops to help you create and caption your own videos at no cost.
Camtasia Tutorials: Includes detailed video tutorials to help you create, edit, caption and host your own videos.
Screencast-O-Matic: Create and caption your own videos; free or low-cost options (low cost includes editing and hosting features)
Screencast-O-Matic tutorials: Includes tutorials to help you create, edit, save, caption and host your own videos.
4 Ways to Create Accessible Video Captions on Screencast-O-Matic: Learn to caption your SOM videos.
ZOOM: Now available for free to all Cal Poly staff, faculty and students.
Streaming Live or Recording Classes in ZOOM: CTLT Resource page with instructions for using ZOOM.
Getting Started with Closed Captioning in ZOOM: Create closed captions before posting to LMS and sharing with students.
Please note that the YouTube interface is changing, so some of the tutorials below may not yet be up to date. This PDF tutorial, Video Captioning in YouTube [PDF], should be up-to-date.
Create a YouTube account and upload videos (instructions provided by YouTube help center)
Captioning YouTube Videos (screenshot tutorials by the National Center on Disability and Access to Education)
Captioning YouTube Videos (video tutorial by the National Center on Disability and Access to Education)
Captioning Videos Created by Others
Cal Poly Captioning Services
If someone else created a video you wish to use in class, you cannot correct the captions or even turn on automatic captions if the video creator did not do so themselves, and did not provide you with editing access. If you don’t have access to a video to caption it (including non-YouTube videos), please visit Classroom Technologies Media Captioning page. and scroll down to Automatic Sync Technologies (AST). AST can caption online videos with the use of their "smart player,” a media player that synchronizes the URL of an online video with an AST caption file in order to present a captioned version of the online media, which you can place in Canvas or PolyLearn, or play in class. Lead time is 2 weeks, so make your requests well in advance of showing your video in class.
Additionally, if you want to pay AST for your own captioning services, you can still receive the CSU discount by completing this form: CaptionSync CSU System Account Sign Up. Once you complete the form, it is sent to Classroom Technologies admin for approval. Then you can submit your own videos, and they will be billed to you. You can ask what the lead time is for captioning; it is usually a few days.
Rev.com: This video captioning service provides caption files for videos that you have created, or public videos that allow you to create captions. Turn around time is 24 hours; cost is $1 per minute. You can then upload the captions to YouTube, or another hosting site such as Screencast.com, for quick captioning. Please note that many public YouTube videos do not allow others to provide captions, so check first before using Rev.com for videos created by others.
Finding Videos with Captions for Your Course
There are many amazing videos readily available for your use, and many have been professionally captioned. When you search for resources for your course, the best option is to eliminate any videos that are not captioned or have poor captions. There will still be plenty to choose from! Below you can find a few resources to get you started.
Cal Poly Campus Library
- Visit the Cal Poly Kennedy Library and ask your librarian about streaming videos collections, such as Films on Demand.
- Cal Poly Kennedy Library provides access to Kanopy Streaming Services with 12,000 films and videos that are captioned. Access Kanopy directly: Kanopy
- Cal Poly Campus Library OneSearch provides options to search for videos (input search term, such as "biology" and then select "audio/video")
- TED: With literally thousands of talks captured in video, TED offers a wide array of high-quality videos that are exceptionally engaging. All of the videos produced by TED are captioned, and also have time-stamped transcripts, which are terrific study guides for students.
- TEDx: TEDx speeches are independent events that are affiliated with TED, but may not be captioned. When choosing a TED video, look carefully to see if you are using TED or TEDx, and don't assume the TEDx videos have the same captioning standards.
- Instead of searching for TED on YouTube, start from the TED website, where you'll have full access to peripheral resources provided by TED.
Search for YouTube videos that meet your learning outcomes by selecting the search filter: "subtitle/cc" videos (videos that have closed captions). Check for good captioning that includes punctuation and grammar, with good timing. Search for high production quality, including sound and visual.
There are many reputable video sites that offer open educational resources. We encourage you to explore these sites as well.
- The History Channel
- Khan Academy
- National Geographic Education
- Discovery Education
- PBS LearningMedia
ZOOM Video and Web Conferencing
Zoom, Cal Poly’s video and web conferencing tool, is now available to all students, faculty, and staff: Cal Poly Service Desk: ZOOM. Zoom allows for video, audio, and screen sharing between up to 200 participants. It can be used from any computer, laptop, tablet, or phone, and it works on PC, Mac, Android and iOS devices. Any Cal Poly user can initiate a video or audio meeting, allowing Zoom to be used for any online meeting, whether between two or many people.
Closed Captioning in ZOOM
Zoom's closed captioning feature allows you or another meeting attendee within a meeting to add closed captioning during a meeting. In a webinar, closed captioning can be typed by the host, co-host, or a panelist. You can type the closed captions directly via Zoom or you can integrate a third party service.
Audio Transcriptions in ZOOM
ZOOM offers speech to text automatic transcriptions for cloud recordings. Choose the Audio transcript option (under Cloud Recording) to automatically transcribe the audio of a meeting or webinar that you record to the cloud. After this transcript is processed, it appears as a separate .vtt text file in the list of recorded meetings. In addition, you have the option to display the transcript text within the video itself, similar to a closed caption display.
When creating accessible videos, we tend to focus on adding captions for those who are deaf or have hearing impairment, and often forget that students who are blind may also be missing important information being displayed in videos. This is important to keep in mind, especially if you create instructional videos that include complex demonstrations.
YouDescribe is a free online tool that allows users to add audio descriptions to videos. Below you will find a 1-minute video, Meet YouDescribe, that includes closed captions and provides an overview of audio descriptions. This is followed by the same video with audio descriptions included.
Video: YouDescribe video that provides an overview of Audio Descriptions (1:01)
Example 1: Watch the video above with audio descriptions included: Meet YouDescribe
Example 2: Lady Bird Official Trailer: Example of a YouDescribe video with captions and audio description
Learn how to add audio descriptions to your videos: (Media Access Australia)
Pay a vendor to provide audio descriptions
You can create an account with or to pay for audio descriptions for videos that you don't own. (Cal Poly does not provide a service for this)
- What is Audio Description? Overview provided by the American Council for the Blind
- YouDescribe: YouTube's audio description website; view and search for videos with audio descriptions!
- WebAIM Audio Descriptions: Includes a brief description and example