Closed captions and transcripts can elevate your instructional material, making it more accessible and engaging for all students, not just those who need accommodations. Following some best practices will help ensure your instructional videos and recorded lectures will be captioned effectively and with minimal effort.
Focus on audio.
Nothing hampers the process of adding captions to your video more than poor audio quality. A high-quality microphone is a must for recording, but you should also pay attention to microphone placement. In addition, you will need a quiet environment in which to record.
Low-quality audio will also prove more expensive if you use a closed captioning service or professional transcriptionist. Some vendors charge more to work with poor-quality audio recordings, and the process will take longer, too. Going cheap on a microphone might not be worth it.
Once you’ve settled on equipment, be sure to test it before starting your recording.
Make your workflow efficient.
The process of adding captions to your video can be streamlined if you use a vendor to integrate captioning with your method for recording lectures. Most closed captioning services will work within your lecture capture system (Cattura, Digital Chalk, Echo 360, and others), so you can simply select the video files you want captioned and view the results when the projects are finished.
Understand your recording options.
Knowing whether you want to simply capture your lecture or produce a full-fledged instructional video will make a difference in how your presentation is recorded and captioned. A lecture capture simply records your presentation as it occurs in the classroom. The resulting audio and video recording can sometimes be poor. The microphone might not capture a student asking a question from across the room, for instance, and this would make the recording difficult for a transcriptionist or closed captioning service to use. However, lecture captures are simpler to record and can be effective for students who normally attend the class but are absent that day.
Although instructional videos need advance planning and are more challenging to record, they can be better in the long term. You can control the audio and video quality more easily with instructional videos (they are often recorded in a studio or similar environment). They are used most frequently in online learning platforms.
To determine whether to record a lecture capture or an instructional video, consider your audience. If your viewers will be present in person, a lecture capture will be your best bet. If your audience will be mostly online, then an instructional video might work best. You can also watch videos from fellow instructors to decide what will be most effective (and what mistakes to avoid).