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Inclusive Video Production

Those of us in the digital accessibility field can spot an accessible video at 20 paces. But what about an inclusive video? What does one look like?

Producing an inclusive video means designing with accessibility in mind — captions, large fonts, good contrast, transcripts, audio descriptions. Yet to make it truly inclusive, incorporate elements into your development and production that will impact how people interact with the content and, ultimately, your brand.

  1. Form a diverse production team. Including members from different ethnicities, sexual preferences, varying abilities, etc. will help in identifying, removing and preventing unintentional racist content, derogatory comments and stereotypes that derive from any unconscious bias. For example, if your organization is sponsoring an ADA event and wants to make a promotional video for Instagram, include people with disabilities on your team.

  2. Develop a diverse design. When choosing participants for your video, whether it’s real or animated people, consider incorporating different ethnicities, genders, sexual preferences, ages and abilities. People want to be represented.

    "The BBC defines representation as how societal aspects such as race, gender, age, ethnicity, nationality, and social issues are presented. When it comes to media, especially film and television, this audience is vast. Mass media broadens our scope of perception when it comes to society, multiculturalism, and the world. It holds, for many, an educational impact as it showcases unique experiences otherwise beyond reach. Therefore, representation is crucial. In a multicultural, diverse, multifaceted society, it is vital to amplify the voices and share the stories of all." ~ The Importance of Representation in Film & Media

  3. Diversify your stock photography / video clips. If you need a stock photo or two or even a small video clip for your video, make sure you choose from collections tagged "accessible," "accessibility," "diversity and inclusion" "DEI," for example. Here’s a short list of resources:

      1. Diversity Photos
      2. Adobe Stock - use the search feature 
      3. Pexels

  4. Video transcripts / captions. First, to clarify, transcripts are separate from the audio, and captions are synchronized with the audio. Using transcripts or captions in your video is Accessibility 101. To make your video inclusive, include foreign language subtitles and / or transcripts so your audience can choose which language it prefers. That way, they can read it along with the English version. Ted Talks are a great example of using transcripts for video content. You can also do what is called "full naturalization," which means translating the full script and recording a new voiceover. However, this option can be time consuming and expensive.

Check out this video! It was produced by members of the spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) community. 

"The song and video were made in an effort to shed light on the need for more diverse representation in the music industry as well as other media. SMA My Way together with sponsorship by biotech company Genentech organized members of the SMA community from across the U.S. to take part first in the songwriting process." ~ News Channel 5, Nashville

Here’s the full news article and broadcast. Note: The broadcast video does not include captioning; I have contacted the news station via email to bring this to their attention.

Resources

Maggie Vaughan, CPACC
~ friend of DubBot, A11Y practitioner in higher ed