Video and Live Captioning Requirements
- Each caption frame should hold 1 to 3 lines of text onscreen at a time, viewable for a duration of 3 to 7 seconds. Each line should not exceed 32 characters.
- Each caption frame should be replaced by another caption.
- All caption frames should be precisely time-synched to the audio.
- A caption frame should be repositioned if it obscures onscreen text or other essential visual elements.
Best Practices for Caption Style and Formatting:
- Word translation and spelling should be at least 99% accurate.
- When multiple speakers are present, sometimes it is helpful to identify who is speaking, especially when the video does not make this clear.
- Both upper and lowercase letters should be used.
- The font should be a non-serif, such as Helvetica medium.
- Non-speech sounds like [MUSIC] or [LAUGHTER] should be added in square brackets.
- Punctuation should be used for maximum clarity in the text, not necessarily for textbook style.
- Captions should preserve and identify slang or accents.
If your unit is planning to live stream an event (i.e., individual college commencements; live concerts, or anything that has a large, external, public-facing aspect - see FAQs below), the event must also be captioned live. This is in order to be compliant with federal policy and is mandated by the University. The University recommends that you use VITAC, a live captioning software company, for any live captioning needs. Please use the VITAC order instructions to book services as soon as you can. (However, you may also use other vendors or utilize a certified transcriptionist.) Here is an order demo video.
Transcription services provide live captioning for video live streamed through a website. If you will also (or will only) be live streaming at a physical location to TV screens, projectors or other types of digital display (as in the case of regular commencement ceremonies), you have two options for meeting university accessibility requirements:
- Embed the live caption window (provided by the link the vendor sends to you) onto the video screen. This can be done by resizing the text and window to fit at the bottom of the screen. Essentially, you will have two windows open at the same time.
- Provide an additional screen somewhere in the physical location solely for the captioned text as live captions do not show up as regular closed caption text seen on TV. Therefore, you could have one screen for the live video feed and one for the live captioned text.
As an additional measure, you can also request an interpreter. Using an interpreter on stage can be beneficial for those in attendance; however, this does not make you 100% compliant with federal accessibility guidelines. Not all deaf or hard of hearing individuals know how to use American Sign Language. If you do want to use interpreters, you may email firstname.lastname@example.org to request assistance in scheduling interpreters. Availability of LSU interpreters is extremely limited, so submit your request as soon as possible. If Disability Services cannot provide the interpreters, they can provide you with referral information for local agencies who may be able to provide the interpreters.
If you have any questions or need assistance, you may contact Anna Bartel (email@example.com) and the Online Accessibility Working Group (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Zoom Live Events
VITAC now provides seamless Zoom integration services. There no longer is a need for sharing bulky Zoom API tokens. When ordering the service from their ordering portal, you can choose to add VITAC technical contacts to the event as a meeting attendee. Then, the meeting host finds the VITAC captioner from the list of attendees on the day of the event and simply assigns them to caption within Zoom. The captioner copies the token into their captioning solution and sends data to Zoom via API. The captioner will send a caption test to ensure they are connected and will communicate via Zoom chat if needed. VITAC's Zoom integration live captions cost $165/hour. Once again, you may choose any vendor, but VITAC is LSU's recommended vendor.
Although Zoom provides automatic, machine captions, they are not 100% accurate. Therefore, it is highly suggested that a transcription service be utilized.
An event can be best described as anything that is not a regular business or class meeting. For example, anything where invitations are being sent, registration is taking place, or participants from outside the university are being invited to participate; especially if events are effectively open to members of the general public.
For online meetings and calls that are a routine part of conducting university business, live captioning is not required unless a participant requests that this be done.
Online class meetings for academic courses (offerings in the course catalog) do not need live captioning. Enrolled students who require accommodations for their academic coursework can work with the Office of Disability Services to meet their specific needs. Note that digital resources and content (documents, videos, etc.) are still required to meet the relevant accessibility standards if posted to Moodle or a website.
LSU does not endorse any specific vendors, but several units on campus have acquired services from the following:
Please contact the specific vendor of your choosing to identify the services you need. LSU recommends using VITAC as they are a national leader in live transcriptions, and they have a large number of transcriptionists employed to assist with any last minute transcription needs.
Yes. An approved exception request is required any time your unit is holding an online event, and it will not be captioned as required by university policy and standards. The DRC Exceptions Committee takes into account:
The event’s audience is known in advance, and no participants require any captioning
The event has a robust communications plan for individuals who need accommodations and an approved plan in place to provide them, if needed.
The DRC Exceptions Committee is working on updating the ADA Exception Request form found on the Accessibility Hub to take into account live captioning exception requests. In the meantime, please contact the committee directly at ADAexceptions@lsu.edu. They will want to know the date of the event(s), the approximate number of attendees, if the general public is invited, and if the event requires registration.
Yes, you can (and should) make an accommodations request part of your registration flow, encouraging requests as far in advance as possible.
Yes and Yes. Unless you have an approved exceptions request.
Yes, unless you have an approved exceptions request.
Yes. You can include this statement: "If you require an accommodation such as live captioning or interpretation to participate in this event, please contact (event organizer name) at (event organizer email address) or (event organizer phone number). Requests made by (date) will generally allow us to provide seamless access, but the university will make every effort to meet requests made after this date."