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Video Captioning Guidance

All Web-hosted videos must be captioned so their information is accessible to all citizens, internal and external. Compliance with Sec. 508 accessibility policy is coming under increasing scrutiny and HHS is committed to both meeting the law and serving all people. The captioning requirement covers:

  • Video for over-the-air broadcast, webcast and/or CD distribution
  • Live stream and on-demand videos of any length
  • Public service announcements (PSAs)
  • Training videos
  • Videos produced internally or externally, including by partners
  • Webcasting
  • Video Pod (or Vod) casts
  • Both internal and external audience

There are two types of captioning. In open captioning, the words are visible on the screen. In closed captioning, the captions are hidden to most viewers and are decoded for people needing the captioning.

Most video is captioned from scripts or transcripts. This captioning is 100% accurate. The current contract cost is $246/hour (01/09).

Webcasts and other live broadcasts are open captioned on the fly. These must be at least 95% accurate. The current contract cost is $176/hour (01/09).

Once captioned, the video master must be encoded. That work can be done in-house under an MOU with the ASPA Communications Services Division - HHS Studio. For more information, contact hhsstudio@hhs.gov. Captioning and encoding are handled simultaneously for webcast or other live broadcasts.

You are, of course, free to pursue other options through your own contracting mechanisms as long as you insure that your contractor meets the 100/95% standards set above.