Getting Started with Multimedia
The Priority Tasks below are based on the emerging and developing steps of the Electronic Accessibility Rubric. Completing the Priority Tasks will help you meet the universal design goal for multimedia. Using the rubric helps to prioritize the easiest steps and those that will have the most impact.
The Advanced Tasks are necessary to make media fully accessible, but we advise mastering the priority tasks first.
Describe Visual Content Orally
Ideally, videos should be recorded with narrative included so that additional audio description isn’t necessary.
- If recording a lecture video, describe what you’re doing or seeing as you lecture.
- If recording a video with a script, plan ahead and include narratives in the script.
- Avoid generic phrases such as “this” or “here.”
The following platforms have auto-caption capability. Avoid using a video platform that does not have auto-captions.
- Echo360 and Kaltura
- Auto-captions are automatically available.
- Microsoft PowerPoint
- Turn subtitles on for every time you present in the Slide Show ribbon – check the box to “Always Use Subtitles.”
- The drawback is that individuals can’t turn captions off. Other methods outside of PowerPoint allow users to control whether or not they see captions.
- Microsoft Teams
- Click on the “…” menu and select “Turn on live captions (preview).”
- This makes live transcription available to users who turn it on, and also saves as permanent captions if you record the meeting.
- Auto-captions are automatically available.
- In the Account Settings Meeting tab, In Meeting (Advanced), click the Closed captioning toggle to enable it.
- For institutional accounts, this should be enabled at the admin level for all accounts.
Provide Transcripts for Audio Files
- Echo360 and Kaltura – Transcripts are automatically created when audio files are uploaded. Users can choose to download them if needed. If you find that transcripts aren’t available, it may be an older video that needs to be re-processed, since this feature is a recent development.
- Other video platforms such as Microsoft Stream do not support audio files.
Use a Media Player with Visible Controls
Sometimes, embedded videos are presented with a player that doesn’t display control buttons, such as volume, pause, play and CC. This can cause several accessibility issues.
- Captions may be available, but a user can’t enable them
- Users won’t be able to stop a video or control the volume
- Keyboard and screen reader users won’t be able to navigate to the video or control playback
After you post a video, check to make sure that the play, volume and CC buttons are visible in playback mode. Try tabbing to the controls with your keyboard.
Provide Transcripts Along With Captions
- Echo360 and Kaltura – Transcripts are automatically created and offered along with captions. If you find that transcripts aren’t available, it may be an older video that needs to be re-processed, since this feature is a recent development.
- Microsoft PowerPoint – Transcripts are not automatically created. Upload a PowerPoint recording to one of the other platforms to generate a transcript.
- Microsoft Stream – Transcripts are automatically created, but you will need to download the transcript and post it separately as a downloadable file for users.
Use a Video Player with Interactive Transcripts
Interactive transcripts are text that is synchronized alongside a video. Visit Video and Audio Transcripts page for more detail on interactive transcripts.
This feature is especially helpful for instructional content. It may not be necessary for shorter marketing type videos. Players that offer interactive transcripts include:
- 3Play Media
- YouTube (excluding embedded video)
Provide Edited Captions for Video
- Echo360 – Visit the self-help guide by CSU’s Echo360 staff for instructions on editing captions: Echo360 Transcripts and Closed Captions (PDF).
- Kaltura – Visit Kaltura’s training video on editing captions: Kaltura – How to Edit Captions
- Microsoft Stream – Visit Microsoft’s instructions on editing transcripts in Stream: Edit the transcript of a video in Microsoft Stream (Classic)
- YouTube – Visit Google’s support page for YouTube captions: YouTube – Edit or remove captions
Provide Edited Transcripts for Audio
- Editing a transcript is the same as the process of editing captions in the previous section, as long as audio files are supported by the platform.
Provide Audio Description for Video
Audio description solutions range from outsourcing to DIY methods. Information about outsourcing can be located in a later section on this page.
- YouDescribe for YouTube
- This is a DIY option for adding audio description to existing YouTube videos
- Requires a Google account
- The drawback is that the videos are hosted on a separate website from YouTube
Video Player Support for Audio Description
Not all video players have the capability to play an audio description track, and some only work on desktop computers. For those with support, the audio description is in a separate file that can be added as an additional track to the video.
- Players with native support for AD:
- A common solution for the lack of native support in video players is to publish a second version of the video with an AD track ‘burned in’ or combined with the original video. This way, you can post the video in any media player.
Alternative: Provide Text Transcripts with Narrative Description
Audio description is still very expensive and may not be possible for everyone. Another solution is to provide a text transcript of the video that includes both the audio and visual information. This provides the full content of the video for individuals with both hearing and visual impairments.
Start with a transcript based on captions, and then add narrative descriptions as necessary. Keep in mind that you only need to describe meaningful visual information.
- TILT Caption Support produces edited captions for campus courses using Echo360.
- CSU Online Production Team produces edited captions for online courses using Kaltura.
If you have a student with a specific accommodation in your course, they will contact you to coordinate workflows.
If you outsource your captioning or audio description, a separate file will be created that you can upload to a media platform to replace the auto-captions.
Third-party companies provide high quality captioning and audio description services. Check with your IT department to see if they are already using a particular service. These services charge per minute of video. 3Play Media and Rev.com are two companies frequently used at Colorado State University.
- 3Play Media
- Request an account through the contact form on this website to receive institutional pricing
- The cost is $1.95 per minute for standard turnaround (prices may change)
- Cost includes transcripts
- Audio description is an additional $9 per minute
- Cost is $1.50 per minute (prices may change)
- Cost does not include transcripts
- Audio description is an additional cost