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Making accessible video and audio content

What you must do to make sure your videos and audio recordings are accessible to everyone and comply with EU regulations.

About accessibility

Some people have hearing or visual impairments which make it difficult for them to access web content. This is why we need to make sure all of our content can be accessible to everyone.

Accessibility regulations

New accessibility regulations came into effect on 23 September 2018 as part of the EU Accessibility Directive. The UK was still part of the EU at this date, so UK public sector organisations need to comply. The standards state that:

  • all new video content created must be fully accessible
  • all videos must have subtitles or captions available
  • a transcript needs to be supplied for video and audio content
  • any existing content made before 23 September 2018 that provides a service (for example, a video guide on how to do something) will need to comply with these standards by 23 September 2020

Learn more about the accessibility regulations on the Gov.UK website.

The University has a website accessibility statement that covers video. This is a legal requirement so that the University complies with The Public Sector Bodies (Websites and Mobile Apps) (No. 2) Accessibility Regulations.

Subtitles or captions

Subtitles are only used as text for dialogue. They are often used to understand different languages.

Closed captions include text for dialogue, and they are also used for noises and sounds that are included in your audio, such as a crash or a phone ringing. This is the option for people who are hearing impaired.

Closed captions can be turned on and off, while open captions are burnt onto the video itself and can't be turned off.

The use of subtitles or closed captions will depend on your content.

Creating captions in Panopto

Log in to Panopto

Panopto is a secure way of generating captions for videos and is supported by the University.

  1. Go to
  2. Click Sign in and enter your University email address and password when prompted.

Generate captions in Panopto

  1. Upload your video file to Re:View into your personal space by clicking on Browse from the left-hand navigation. Select the folder you want to record your video in. Click the Create option, then select Upload Media.
  2. Wait for the video to process. This can take up to 30 minutes.
  3. Edit the session using the Panopto editor to correct any transcription errors. Don't trim the session as it will cause sync issues. Read further instructions on how to manually caption sessions in the Panopto.
  4. When you save the edits, Panopto will process the video again.
  5. Download the caption file by clicking Settings on the video.
  6. Select Captions.
  7. Under Available Captions, select the drop-down arrow next to your preferred language for the captions.
  8. Click Download file.
  9. Rename the downloaded GenerateSRT.txt file to (nameofproject).srt

Upload the video to Vimeo

You can now import the SRT file into Vimeo.

  1. Go to your video manager.
  2. Click on the video, then select the Advanced option to access additional video settings.
  3. Open the Distribution tab and scroll to the Subtitles section.
  4. To upload a captions or subtitles file, click the “+” button, specify the language, and choose caption or subtitle file.
  5. Click Choose File and upload the file from your computer.
  6. Once the file is uploaded, toggle it on to activate it.
  7. Check the captions are present and correct by playing the video in the main player.

Creating subtitles in YouTube

YouTube is the quickest and easiest way to create captions for your video:

  1. Upload your video.
  2. Click on the menu button called 'Subtitles/CC' and create new subtitles - you can choose to import existing subtitles created by third-party transcription services or create new subtitles.
  3. YouTube will analyse your video and generate subtitles automatically.
  4. Check the subtitles are accurate as they often contain mistakes and require editing.
  5. Save your video.

You can also export the subtitles as a .sbv file. This is the file type used by YouTube videos to display subtitles or closed captions.

If you want to upload this file onto other video hosting platforms, you might need to convert it to a different file type. You can do this using online applications like Subtitle Converter.

Using third-party transcription services

If you don’t already have captions or subtitles for your video, you can buy them from external UK based suppliers like:

It is important to know which file formats are supported by the channels you're uploading your video to.

Vimeo supports these caption and subtitle file formats:

  • ITT
  • SRT
  • WebVTT
  • SCC
  • SAMI

YouTube supports these caption and subtitle file formats:

  • ITT
  • SRT
  • SBV
  • LRC
  • CAP

Contact the Audio Visual team for help with videos

Contact the AV team

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