Captions are Required for CHI Video Presentations

  • March 28, 2021

For the first time, CHI attendees will be able to browse the conference program and watch paper presentations whenever it is convenient for them. Viewers will also have English language closed captions available on demand. Captions are invaluable for many of us, for different reasons.  Some people cannot hear the audio at all, and the captions convey what is being said. Others use captions to supplement and reinforce what they hear. If a viewer has difficulty understanding a speaker, or didn’t catch an important name, captions help. If you are in a noisy environment, or need to be listening for a baby’s cry, captions help. For our international audience, captions improve language access.


Almost everyone benefits from captions, but they need to be accurate. 


To make CHI presentations more accessible for everyone, we are requiring authors to provide closed captions with their video presentations (see Technical Requirements and Guidelines for Videos at CHI). A closed caption file contains all spoken text, indicates important audio effects, and includes timing information that maps the captions to the video. The closed captions provided by authors will be uploaded to the CHI 2021 platform with their videos for us all to enjoy.


There are many ways to create a caption file, and many third-party services ready to create one from your video for a small fee.  YouTube provides free tools for generating and downloading your own caption file. The Accessibility Chairs have put together detailed instructions for using YouTube. If you have prepared a script to read from when recording your video, this is a great starting point.  You can upload it to YouTube with your video, and YouTube will sync the text with the video at the press of a button.  If you don’t have a script, you can start from the auto-generated captions YouTube provides, and edit them to remove transcription errors.


Making a caption file may be new to some. We thank our authors for taking the time to learn this process and to make their work more accessible. Please don’t leave this to the last minute – taking the time to get your captions right will have a huge impact.


CHI Accessibility Chairs 


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