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Video Captioning Guidance

HHS is committed to fully complying with the requirements for making documents and multimedia items accessible to all persons using our content. As a part of this commitment, HHS requires that all web-hosted videos be captioned to ensure equal access and ease of use for those persons using Assistive technologies. The captioning requirement covers:

  • Video for over-the-air broadcasts and webcast
  • Live stream and on-demand videos of any length
  • Public service announcements (PSAs)
  • Internal training videos
  • Videos produced internally or externally, including by partners
  • Video Pod (or Vod) casts (3)
  • Both internal and external audience

HHS Studio Captioning Services

The HHS Studio provides open and closed captioning services.  In open captioning, the words are immediately visible on the screen and cannot be turned off by the viewer. In closed captioning, the words are hidden to most viewers and are made available/decoded upon request by the viewer. See the following for more details on the services offered:

  • Edited videos are captioned from scripts or transcripts. YouTube videos use a .txt file for captioning. This file can come from a live-caption event or from a transcript created by the video producer or client. The .txt file is uploaded with the video file and synchronized with the video. This captioning is 100% accurate. The current contract cost is $165/hour for a 5-7 day turnaround.
  • Webcasts and other live broadcasts are captioned on the fly and inserted into the video stream as a closed caption service. These must be at least 95% accurate. Captioning and encoding are handled simultaneously for webcast or other live broadcasts. The current contract cost is $175/hour.

Note: The HHS Studio no longer creates DVDs or CDs for distribution.

For more information, please contact michael.wilker@hhs.gov

Content created by Digital Communications Division (DCD)
Content last reviewed on December 1, 2014