Captions in Panopto

Please note: From 23 July 2020, captions are automatically added to Panopto recordings so the first part of this article can be skipped over: see More information on captioning on the Intranet. 

You can add automatic captions to your desktop recordings very easily in Panopto. For best results, do your recording in a quiet place using a microphone or headset, and speak clearly (you may find it helpful to have a script). The better the audio, the more accurate your captions will be. Remember, if you lose your thread or feel something was unclear, you can just repeat what you said and edit out the unwanted section [transcript] afterwards.

To add auto-captions:

Go to your recording in the Panopto cloud (use the Blackboard login option with your usual UWE credentials if prompted).

Hover over the recording to bring up additional options, and click on ‘Edit’.

Screenshot of Edit icon

Click on ‘Captions’ on the left-hand side of the screen. Click on the dropdown arrow next to ‘Import captions’ and click on ‘Import automatic captions’.

Screenshot of Import Captions dropdown menu

Click ‘Apply’ in the top right-hand corner.

These captions will now be available to students when they play the recording. They can turn them on or off using the CC icon below the main screen.

Screenshot of Captions icon

Students can also choose to display them in the Notes section of the screen by choosing Captions from the menu on the left. If a student wants to go to a specific part of the video, they can do so by scanning through the captions and clicking on the one they want to play from, then clicking Play on the video. They can even use the Search bar to find key words within the captions (this will also search the PowerPoint slides).

Screenshot of student view of captions

You will notice that the captions do not use capital letters, and only basic punctuation. You may also find some words are misinterpreted, particularly if they are uncommon words or technical terms. You can easily correct the captions by going back into Edit and clicking on the caption to highlight the text, clicking again to place the cursor and editing the text in the usual way.

Practically speaking, you do not need to worry about getting them perfect – this would be quite time-consuming. You may want to check for any serious errors which may be confusing, but otherwise it is fine to leave out the capital letters and occasional wrong word. There is a slide you can use in your PowerPoint presentation to alert students to the fact that the recording has been automatically captioned. This slide is included automatically in the UWE PowerPoint templates.

However, if you are aware of a student on your module who has requested reasonable adjustments which include a need for captions, or if a student makes you aware of this after you have published the video, it would then be necessary to do a more thorough edit of the captions, including descriptions of other audio where appropriate. Contact the Disability Advice Team if you need support.

Downloading the captions file

You do not need to do this if the video will be viewed in Panopto. But if you are downloading the video to play elsewhere, you will also need to download the captions.

To do this:

Go to Settings, click on ‘Captions’ on the left and click on the Expand arrow under ‘Available Captions’.

Screenshot of Captions settings

Click on ‘Download File’.

A .srt file will be downloaded (check your Downloads folder if there is no further prompt).

Further information

More information on captioning is available on the Intranet. Note the information about captions created before 1st April 2020. Because only staff with admin accounts can reprocess a recording, we recommend that if you have a recording where captions were created using the old, inaccurate software, you download the recording and re-upload it to Panopto to cause it to generate new, more accurate captions. Please contact the LIU if you need more advice on how to do this.


Photo by Suzy Hazelwood from Pexels