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Web Services Team Resources

Video Guidelines

We post videos on the DESE website and on our YouTube Channel.


  • All video must be captioned to meet Commonwealth Accessibility requirements. The captions must include both spoken dialog and descriptions to convey the non-speech information to set the scene, and establish the context for dialogue. Ideally the captions should identify speakers and include information to help folks follow the dialog such as sound effects, music and laughter. In other words, if the video provides important content not available through the audio alone it must be described.

  • A signed consent for every person represented in the video is required. You can use this consent form or adapt it to suit your needs. Many schools administer "beginning-of-school-year paperwork" that includes consent for use of photos and videos. Copies of such consents is fine, but we need it on file, electronically.

  • A signed consent for the videographer/s is required. You can use this consent form or adapt it to suit your needs.

  • Video must also be sent in MP4 format, this will be the accessible format because the YouTube player is not accessible to screen readers.

  • Video must not violate copyrights or trademarks including but not limited to using video clips, images or audio owned by a third party.

Transcript or Caption File

A transcript contains only the text of what is said in the video. Send a plain text file (.txt)

A caption file includes both the text and time codes for when each line of text should be displayed. Timed caption formats include subrip, (.srt), SubViewer (.sbv or .sub), MPsub (.mpsub), SCC (.scc) and LRC (.lrc).

Here is a sample subrip file from the video Title I: An Introduction. Any plain text editor (such as NotePad) can open this file.

*Note: A transcript file (.txt) is preferred over a caption file, it can be uploaded and synced with less mistakes.

Other Required Information

  • Title (max 100 characters including spaces)
  • Description
  • Tags (max 500 characters including spaces and commas, tags help people discover/search for the videos).
  • Custom Thumbnail (optional) — Thumbnails let people see a quick snapshot of your video. YouTube automatically and randomly generates three options. If you have an image you prefer to use, send that along.

Helpful Links

Download PDF Document
ITD's YouTube toolkit
View External Link
NCADE — Web Captioning and Education
View External Link
Media Access group at WGBH
Download PDF Document
WGBH — Web Captioning 101
View External Link
The Ohio State University — Captioning YouTube Video and Providing Accessible Controls

Last Updated: September 1, 2017

Contact Us

Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education
75 Pleasant Street, Malden, MA 02148-4906

Voice: (781) 338-3000
TTY: (800) 439-2370


Disclaimer: A reference in this website to any specific commercial products, processes, or services, or the use of any trade, firm, or corporation name is for the information and convenience of the public and does not constitute endorsement or recommendation by the Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.