What is Closed Captioning?
Closed captioning is text printed on a media product to provide visual access to dialog
and environmental sounds. Although primarily used to provide access to a deaf/hard of hearing
person, research has shown that using closed caption technology also benefits those who use
English as a second language or everyone when acoustics or video/audio quality are poor. Captioning
remains hidden (or closed) until it is decoded by an internal chip in a television or an add-on
decoder. For web-based media, activating the captioning will depend on the medial player being
Closed captioning is a simple accommodation that has a sweeping effect on information availability.
DVDs will often have subtitles instead of closed captioning. Subtitles contain no environmental
information (i.e. phone rings, dog barks), so present a less complete picture than captioning.
Use the on-screen menu/remote to access subtitles. This is a different menu choice than captioning.
Each media player (QuickTime, Flash, Windows Media Player, etc.) will be activated differently to
show captions. Go to:
http://www.washington.edu/accessit/articles?1251 for instructions.
You can caption short web videos (YouTube) with the use of a free internet captioning software.
One such tool is www.overstream.net. Videos can be captioned
and placed on Blackboard for student use
How Do I Know if a Video (VHS/DVD) has Captions/Subtitles?
Look at the tape case or the video/dvd itself. It may have the letters "CC" or a conversation
If you have recorded something from your television, probability is high that the program itself
was closed captioned and the signal is embedded in your video. You do not need to see the captioning
to record it. Sometimes the only way to determine if a video is captioned is to actually view the
video on a television with the captioning option selected. DSS can check your videos for
- Use on-screen remote menu to activate captioning on videos or subtitling on DVDs.
- If captioning does not show up immediately, do not give up! Sometimes it takes a few seconds
for everything to ‘kick in’.
- Captioning will NOT show up during fast forwarding or rewinding. The tape must be running at
regular speed to reveal the captioning.
- If you discover captioning on an unmarked video, please mark the case for future reference. Seals
to indicate a video is captioned are available at DSS.
- Inquire about captioning when ordering videos. Media production companies will respond to
requests from consumers.
- Don't assume captioning is not on your videos. Try the video in a VCR to confirm.
In UND ‘smart’ classrooms, the podium is equipped with a decoder to turn on the captions for
use with the ceiling projector. Instructions with color coded buttons are located in the podium
stand or call CILT (7-2129) for assistance.
DSS can add captions to videos for classroom use. The process
requires a minimum of 3 weeks to complete. Please contact DSS for more information (7-3425).