Video/Audio Accessibility

Captioning Guidelines

Captions not only benefit those who are deaf or hard of hearing, but learning disabled students, ESL learners, those who are in a quiet public environment and don’t have access to headphones (such as a library), and students in general. Also, captioning improves comprehension and retention of information for all types of students.

Timing and Positioning

  • One to three lines of text should appear onscreen at a time.
  • Each caption should be viewable for three to seven seconds.
  • Each caption should be synchronized with the audio.
  • Captions should not cover graphics and other essential visual elements of the picture.
  • Each caption should not exceed 32 characters per line

Style and Formatting

  • Use an accessible font (such as Arial, Helvetica, Veranda).
  • Use upper and lowercase letters.
  • Spelling should be accurate.
  • When there is more than one speaker present, identify who is speaking.
  • Use italics when a word is being defined or a word is heavily emphasized.
  • Numbers one through ten should be spelled out. Use numerals for numbers over ten.
  • Sound effects or any non-verbal sounds (such as music, laughter, or applause) should be captioned in square brackets.
  • Do not caption stuttering or hesitation.


Getting started with MovieCaptioner

Movie Captioner Logo

CUNY Assistive Technology Services provides an unlimited license to MovieCaptioner, a captioning software available to all CUNY faculty and staff. Contact Tania Kalaitzidis at on how to obtain a license for MovieCaptioner.

Basic Workflow

Editing Captions Part 1

Editing Captions Part 2

Importing Text Files

Setting Timecode

Text Shortcuts

Using the Spellcheck

YouTube Captions