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We Captioned the Announcement of Duke’s New President–Live!

By: Todd Stabley

Duke’s announcement of a new president last week gave us a fantastic opportunity to take a big stride forward in our use of and advocacy for video captions at Duke.
We’ve been making strides in encouraging the use of captions for on-demand video, and while much of our work has focused on the partnership between OIT Academic Services and the Student Disability Access Office (SDAO) around accommodations for students with disabilities, it’s important to note that captions add a lot of value not just for users with disabilities but for many others as well.

As most of you know, we have numerous digital signs deployed across campus through a system called Four Winds Interactive, and we pushed the live stream of the new president’s announcement to those signs so that people across campus could watch the event while it was happening. The captions provided value for everyone in this case, because many of those signs don’t have audio, or don’t have it turned on because it would be intrusive.

To create the captions, Media Technologies, part of Academic Services, worked with a company called ACS (Alternative Communications Services), which specializes in the delivery of live captions. This company has done quite a bit of work for SDAO in providing accommodations for students needing captions for classes at Duke, and SDAO has spoken highly of their experiences in working with ACS. Our experience with the president’s announcement lived up to the high praise we heard. ACS did quality work for a reasonable rate, and was very responsive in their communications around this project. They even did testing with our production team the day beforehand for free. They were able to talk through our setup and help us design a workflow that resulted in the best possible quality. A key in our case was being able to provide ACS a direct audio feed so that there wouldn’t be a delay of more than a few seconds between the captions and the video. To accomplish this, we needed to give ACS a direct feed of the audio, and our production team was able to do that via WebEx. ACS also was able to provide helpful instructions to our production team for enabling captions on the live broadcast, which we did through YouTube. There were some rather intricate menus that needed to be navigated in the YouTube interface to allow ACS to tie back in with our live broadcast.
Categories: Captioning, DDMC Info

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