Some background: I live in metro Detroit, but many of my activities, friends, and clients are in the city.
And before the COVID-19 outbreak, I was birdwatching in Detroit several times a month.
Detroit has been hit hard by COVID-19, with a high number of cases and deaths.
Each day I read heartbreaking stories about the individuals and families whose loved ones have died from COVID-19 in our area.
Which is why I wanted to experience the uplifting video about the resilience of the people in Detroit.
Hope is an excellent video created by a trio of local filmmakers: David Zemon, Adam Luger of Blue Racer Productions, and Scott Gordon.
With voiceover by Big Sean and Jeff Daniels, the one minute and 19 second video highlights our empty Detroit streets, downtown Detroit skyline, and views of Detroit landmarks:
- Ambassador Bridge
- Comerica Park
- Fox Theater
- Henry Ford Hospital
- Joe Louis Fist at Hart Plaza
It was inspiring to watch.
But the video had no captions.
So I did what I typically do for videos I love.
I replied back.
I'm sure @jeff_daniels and @bigsean want everyone to experience this powerful video. But without captions, it's not available to people who are deaf/hard of hearing or are working in shared environment (which many of us are now). Add captions so everyone can experience it.
— Deborah Edwards-Onoro (@redcrew) May 5, 2020
I didn’t get a response.
Which happens often.
Though I am happy when someone replies that they will add captions.
Which is what happened in April 2019 with the Birds of North America YouTube series.
As well as the Sandy Hook video that was released in fall 2019.
Today, I checked the Hope video again.
And was excited to discover captions have been added to the video!
Typically, I would embed the video in this post, but I couldn’t find the copyright terms.
I linked to the video at the beginning of this post, but here’s the link to the Hope video again.
Did My Tweet Make a Difference?
I have no idea if my tweet was the reason captions were added to the video.
It’s possible the video producers were in the process of adding captions which hadn’t yet been uploaded to their video.
Then again, maybe my tweet reminded them to add the captions.
With captions, the video can be experienced by a wider audience, including people who:
- Are deaf or hard of hearing
- Work in noisy or quiet places
- Share a common workspace
- Learned the language the video is spoken in as their second, third, or fourth language
- Comprehend written word better
In addition, search engines will index videos, when you add your own captions.
Hey, I’m taking it as an accessibility win!
I’ve said this before: I wish all video producers would only publish captioned videos.
For whatever reason, sometimes that doesn’t happen.
And sometimes it’s due to education. Video producers may not be aware of the importance of captions.
My suggestion: if you notice videos with missing captions, start a conversation with the producer.
Comment that you’re sure they want everyone to be able to experience the video. Explain who can’t experience it, due to lack of captions.
Share how captions benefit everyone.
And ask the producers to add captions.
Have you had similar results when you asked for captions for videos? Share your experiences in the comments.