Skip to Main Content

Library Accessibility Services (LAS) and Campus Accessible Tech Space (CATS)

Information on the Library Accessibility Services and Campus Accessible Tech Space Departments


Captioning and Described Video

Captions for supplemental lecture videos can be requested through the McMaster Described Video and Captioning Request Form

Not sure where to submit your request? Take a look at our Captioning Resource List

Questions / help / guidance - all available at


AODA Requirement:

  • Any video added to a McMaster website after 2014 or being used in a class, presentation, public talk, or online course MUST be properly captioned — either as part of the production process or retroactively.


Captioning provides a transcription of the audio component of an audio or audio-visual program.  Captions can either be open, displayed at all times, or closed, able to be turned on and off. 

In North America, we call them captions, and you can find a small CC symbol, sometimes in the image of a TV screen.  In Europe, captions are called subtitles, which are given the acronym SDH, Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing; this too can be found on the back of a DVD case. These differ from North American subtitles, which provide a textual component of audio in another language.

80% of those who use captions don't have hearing loss.

Captions are useful in many ways:

  • they aid in information retention
  • assist viewers in learning new terminology
  • help viewers learning a new language 
  • assists viewers with learning disabilities, ADHD, or autism
  • allows viewers to watch videos in low noise areas like libraries and on the bus
  • enables viewers with hearing loss to obtain the content as the rest of the audience would


McMaster Captioning Standard

McMaster Captioning Standard:

Length of Video Captioning Solution
3 - 5 minutes  Auto-generated captions, with manual clean-up
5 - 60+ minutes

Upload to - if less than 60 minutes, returned within 24 hours - $1.25/minute USD

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

Automatic Speech Recognition transcripts available to all classes captured with Echo 360

Editing for classes where students with accommodations are registered

Described Video

Described Video (DV)  

Described Video is the narration of the visual elements of an audio-visual program.  This narration allows the listener to paint a mental picture of the setting.  Videos that have been described will have a D with two semi-circles radiating from the round side of the D.  This is the universal symbol for Described Video.  

While Described Video is the process of adding narration after the material has been written, Integrated Described Video (IDV) includes the DV process into the scriptwriting process. It is part of the dialogue rather than narrated over the script.  For more information, please see the links in the menu on the right.

Described Video is useful in many ways:

  • for those with a visual impairment 
  • as auditory learning aids
  • for language development
  • as audiobooks
  • for those on the autism spectrum


Ask Chat is Offline - Send an Email