Video requirements

This page provides an overview of what you need to do to make video recordings (on YouTube, Vimeo, etc) accessible and will provide you with essential resources.

What is an accessible video?

An accessible video is usable by people of all abilities, using a variety of devices. Accessible videos must:

  • Have accurate captions.
  • Have captions that are synchronized with the audio.
  • Have sufficient color contrast.
  • Not use color only to convey information.

What are the YouTube video deadlines and responsibilities?

If you join the UC Berkeley Network on YouTube:

Published date Captioning responsibility Compliance deadline
On or after December 2, 2022

Content owner

September 2, 2023
December 2, 2020 - December 2, 2022

Opt in / opt out of Berkeley YouTube Network

  • Opt to join network and DAP will provide you with captions files for your video
  • Opt to not join the network, channel owner responsible for caption files
December 2, 2025
Before December 2, 2020 (with more than 750 views)

Opt in / opt out of Berkeley YouTube Network

  • Opt to join network and DAP will provide you with captions files for your video
  • Opt to not join the network, channel owner responsible for caption files
December 2, 2025
Before December 2, 2020 (with less than 750 views) Legacy (see Web Accessibility Procedures for details) (Not applicable)

Note: Berkeley course lecture content is not eligible for caption funding or support. Please use Kaltura to distribute lecture content to Berkeley classes.

Color contrast and use in video recordings

You may already be familiar with the accessible use of color in documents and websites. When you use color, make sure that text and important graphics:

  • Have sufficient color contrast
  • Don’t rely on color alone to provide information

This ensures that people with low vision or colorblindness are able to see and use your content.

When to consider color contrast:

  • Caption text: If you’re using closed captions, then the player (in many cases, YouTube) will allow users to adjust the color and size themselves. You only need to worry about the color contrast of captions if you use open captions, which are embedded in the video file.
  • Graphics: Any text, charts or diagrams that are added to your video during production (such as title cards, ending credits).
  • Slide presentations: If used in a video, the original document should use sufficient color contrast for all text and important graphics.

What tools can be used to make videos accessible?

Professional transcription and captioning services

3Play Media: The UC System has a contract with 3Play Media. Learn how to submit a purchase order.

For captions

YouTube is free and easy to use. You can use it to create captions even if you don’t host your video on YouTube.  Please remember you must review and edit auto captions.  You may not simply use YouTube auto captioning feature without reviewing.  Learn more on how to edit YouTube auto captions for accessibility compliance.

For color contrast

  • Colorblindly is a free Chrome extension that allows you to view web-based content through filters that simulate different types of colorblindness. Use the “Monochromacy” setting to watch your video in grayscale.
  • TPGi’s Color Contrast Analyzer is a free, downloadable application that allows you to check color contrast ratios for compliance. You can use it for documents and web-based content. Use it to check text and graphics in your video.

If you have lectures on YouTube

For lecture content, you have four options:

  • It is highly recommended that instructors use Kaltura, a supported video distribution service offered by our colleagues in Research Teaching and Learning (RTL). Please connect with them, and they can help you get started. Please note that The Disabled Students Program (DSP) can only support captioning when a Letter of Accommodation (LOA) is required for a UC Berkeley student. 
  • Or, you may use an established UCB vendor like 3Play Media to professionally caption your lecture. (See 3Play pricing and steps for setting up your purchase order.)
  • Or, you may edit the YouTube automatic captions. (See YouTube automatic caption editing instructions.)
  • Or, if not intended for public viewing, you may set your videos to "private." Please note some channels may not have the "private" option.  YouTube has no rationale or solution if your channel does not find that option.

Frequently asked questions

What are audio descriptions?

An audio description file is an extra track file, in addition to the closed caption file, that’s added to a video to describe what is happening on the screen for viewers who are Blind or have low vision. YouTube does not provide this functionality at this time. 

Presenters and voiceover narration should incorporate pertinent visual information in the spoken content. When giving a live presentation, it's a best practice to describe content on slides even if you're not recording. However, if the video doesn't require vision to understand it, you don’t need an audio description.

What do I do if my video, created after 12/2/2022 has color contrast issues or relies on color vision to understand it?

Who can I contact for more help?

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