Panopto Captions

By: Verbit Editorial
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As more videos are being posted and shared online, brands and businesses are investing more in how they host their content. The likes of Nike, Qualcomm, Radisson Hotels & Resorts and GE have all turned to the video hosting platform Panopto to capture, manage, and share their videos securely. Smaller brands and universities are using the platform as well.

There’s no shortage of business content these brands are creating – everything from presentation recordings to demos, training sessions and events. Panopto is helping them produce these videos professionally and host this information all in one place so it’s easy to find and share.

Now, more businesses using the platform are considering who will get eyes on their content and how to make sure their videos are inclusive of everyone. They’re therefore looking to offer Panopto captions on their videos to support individuals with disabilities, silent viewers and others more effectively.

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First, the difference between Panopto vs. Zoom

Many business leaders have become increasingly familiar with Zoom over the last few years and see it as the go-to for everything video. However, Panopto offers value for many use cases.

Zoom continues to dominate the market as a platform for live discussions, conferences calls and more. It is well-equipped to handle one-on-one conversations as well as large-scale group chats. It is possible to make recordings of Zoom calls that include both video footage of the speaker and content that was screen-shared, as well as caption it.

However, Panopto offers similar live-streaming capabilities, but is primarily designed as a platform for “asynchronous communications.” This phrase means that it is most frequently used for one-way discussions instead of the multidirectional conversations that tend to take place via Zoom.

Panopto also offers its users a significant amount of control over their content, which makes it easy to customize the final product. Panopto users can record themselves, their screens and their slides simultaneously. They can even embed YouTube videos into their presentations after the fact. Panopto also allows users to add interactive quizzes to their content, which can be a valuable tool for viewers who benefit from multi-modal learning styles.

Panopto is therefore being embraced in addition to Zoom, or sometimes instead of it. However, to make the videos and content hosted on the platform engaging and accessible to everyone, Panopto captions are being considered much more.

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Does Panopto Have Closed Captioning?

Panopto currently offers users the option to add captions to Panopto video automatically. These auto-generated captions are created with the assistance of Automatic Speech Recognition technology. While the Panopto auto-captioning tool is fast and convenient, it does not typically meet the level of accuracy established by accessibility guidelines. The automatic captions in Panopto generally achieve an accuracy level of 70-75%. This falls short of the 99% closed captioning accuracy rate outlined by Section 508 and the ADA.

Because inaccurate transcripts often fail to provide equitable viewing experiences for those who are Deaf or hard of hearing, Panopto does not automatically add these ASR captions to video content. The captions are instead stored in the website’s database in order to inform Panopto’s search algorithms. In this case, when a user searches for a specific keyword, the search results will reflect any time that keyword appears in the ASR captions, as well as any time the keyword appears on the screen.

If they so choose, users are able to manually import these ASR captions so they will appear as on-screen text. Panopto, however, encourages creators to instead utilize their human-generated caption option in order to avoid potentially embarrassing or offensive transcription errors that can show up in automatically generated captions.

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How to Add Captions in Panopto

It is possible to manually edit the automatic captions generated within Panopto’s platform. However, this process can be time consuming — particularly for brands that generate a substantial amount of content. Business leaders looking to support their video content with accurate captions at scale can take advantage of the human-generated Panopto captioning option. Panopto partners with Verbit to generate professional captions for their users’ content that meet the 99% accuracy benchmark outlined in the ADA.

To request human-generated captioning, users simply navigate to the “Captions” menu in the Panopto online editing tool. From there, creators can request which of the professional Panopto caption services they would like to use, as well as the turnaround time they require for their project. Most of these human-generated captions can be completed within 2-5 days, though some providers— like Verbit — are able to complete the job in as little as four hours or one day, depending on the user’s needs.

Panopto’s interface combined with Verbit’s professional captioning makes it easy for administrators to save time by automating the captioning process and automatically making human-generated captions available for specific folders or entire libraries of content.

Rather than utilizing Panopto’s human-generated captioning option, some businesses may choose to independently partner with a professional captioning and transcription provider. This may be a valuable option for brands looking to improve the accessibility of several different types of audio and video content. A partner like Verbit, for example, utilizes artificial intelligence in conjunction with a large network of human captioners and transcribers to support a wide array of accessibility initiatives.

You can simply upload your videos to Verbit’s platform or set up an integration for an automatic push-and-pull process to generate Panopto-compatible captioning files such as an .srt file, .vtt file or .dxfp file. From there, you can navigate to the Panopto closed captioning menu and select the “Choose file” option under the “Upload Captions” heading. Once the correct file is selected, it will be uploaded to the platform and used to create on-screen captions for the desired video content.

person working on a laptop on a wooden table - panopto captions

Can You Get a Transcript from Panopto?

Rather than captions, which appear on screen in short phrases and are synced to the video, transcripts offer a long-form readable version of the spoken text of a video.

Panopto does not currently offer users the ability to download a transcript of content posted on the platform. Users are able to download a read-out of a video’s captions, but this tends to be somewhat difficult to read because it includes the corresponding timestamps. If the transcript is not easily readable or comprehensible, it is likely not going to serve its purpose in terms of improving accessibility.

Users looking to generate an easy-to-read transcript of their Panopto content will want to partner with a professional Panopto transcription service like Verbit. Users can upload their Panopto content to Verbit’s platform and receive an accurate, readable account of the text of the video that can then be posted in a video’s description or on a separate web page.

The advantage? This Panopto transcript can serve not only as a valuable tool for viewers who experience some degree of hearing loss, but it can also function as a resource for other viewers who prefer to receive information in a readable format. This can help to improve accessibility for people with ADHD and auditory processing disorders, as well as those who are viewing a video in a non-native language. Transcripts like the ones Verbit provides help to make your video content searchable and more actionable as a result. Plus, they help to improve your SEO, making your video content searchable by Google and other browsers which can ‘crawl’ the text. 

Start Captioning Your Content as the Norm

As the demand for online video content and communications continues to grow, so does the need for effective workplace accommodations. Adding captions to Panopto events like webinars, trainings and business lectures can help to ensure a more equitable viewing experience for all participants and contribute to a more inclusive work environment.

Verbit partners with Panopto to provide its users with accurate captions and support the distribution of more accessible content. Business leaders who are looking to expand their audiences or inclusion efforts, can greatly benefit from Verbit’s integration with Panopto. Verbit is also often providing them with additional resources like video transcription, audio description and translation to improve the engagement and access of their internal and external communications.

Learn more about how Verbit’s captioning for Panopto can help your business make the most out of its content on the platform. Establishing captioning as the norm throughout your organization will have a strong impact on your employees, customers and viewers.