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A Guide to Videos & Films


Closed Captions vs Open Captions

Captions are a textual representation of the auditory components of a video. Closed captions mean that one may turn the added text portions on or off.  With open captions, the text is hard-coded onto the video and cannot be turned off.

Why use Closed Captions?

While captioning provides accommodation to those who are deaf or hard of hearing, it also is beneficial in other circumstances:

  • Captions compensate for noisy backgrounds or where sound isn’t allowed.

  • They provide a solution for poor audio quality.

  • The text can be searched for a specific reference.

  • View the correct spellings of people, places, and things.

  • Catch details that normally slide by unnoticed.

  • Meet or exceed compliance with the W3C Web Accessibility Guidelines.

  • Caption content can be accessed by search engines.

  • Provide additional support for people who are learning English as a second language.

  • Video on the web or media player can even look better when the captioning is on.

How do I Caption Videos?

All McMaster videos booked through the video booking system will already have captions

Request captions for almost all other videos through the request closed captioning website.

Video Tutorials related to Closed Captioning:

McMaster Captioning Standard: 

Length of Video

 Captioning Solution

 3 - 5 Minutes

 YouTube auto-generated captions, with manual clean-up

 5 - 60+ Minutes

 Upload to - if less than 60 minutes, returned within 24 hours - $1/minute

 Built into the cost of producing all new videos and have captioned at the point of creation 

 Commercial Videos 

 Need to get permission to caption, then provide a digital copy to, as above

 Lecture Captures

 No viable solution yet - average 3 hours long - only used for one term - very costly

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