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The Assistive Technology Initiative facilitates accessible media production to ensure equal access to university curriculum and related resources. This service includes video captioning and audio/video description.
Who We Serve
The Captioning and Audio Description service is provided free of charge to Mason faculty and staff to ensure that the resources used in the classroom and/or online are accessible to individuals with sensory impairments, learning/cognitive challenges, or who speak English as a second language.
What is Captioning?
The Media Access Group at WGBH defines captions as…spoken dialogue as printed words on the television screen. Captions are specifically designed for viewers who are deaf and hard of hearing. However, they allow anyone to follow along through carefully placed words that identify speakers, on and off-screen sound effects, music, and laughter.
Captions should be Synchronized – text content should appear at approximately the same time that audio would be available, equivalent to the spoken word and available as needed.
Example of an Accessible Video with Captions and Audio Description:
What are Transcripts?
Transcripts should be provided. Transcripts allow users who are deaf/blind to receive content using a refreshable Braille display and other devices. They do not have to be verbatim accounts of what is spoken. They should include additional descriptions or explanations such as indications of laughter or other non-speech audio. For most web video, both captions and transcripts should be provided.
The ATI provides a transcript (.txt format) along with each video requested — Sample Transcript (TXT).
What is Audio Description?
According to the *American Council of the Blind, audio description involves: “the accessibility of the visual images of theater, television, movies, and other art forms for people who are blind, have low vision, or who are otherwise visually impaired. It is commentary and narration, which guides the listener through the presentation with concise, objective descriptions of new scenes, settings, costumes, body language, and “sight gags,” all slipped in between portions of dialogue or songs.”
Audio descriptions are available to provide information about content that is presented visually. (i.e. users who are blind should be able to understand what is happening in the video without being able to see it.) *Sample of Audio Description.