We look at how to caption videos across various platforms with our top tips
You should aim to catch, and keep, your audience’s attention by captioning videos. Not only does adding text make the message clearer, it also increases accessibility and reach.
Starting from the nuts and bolts of online captioning, we explore how to include captions as part of your content. Let’s start with the basics.
For most viewers, captioning and subtitles are pretty similar. There are subtle differences, however, and they are most relevant for those with different needs.
Captioning means that the audio component is displayed as text with video or images. They can be either open or closed, meaning they are either displayed all the time, or they can be switched on and off.
Captions assumes that viewers might not be able to hear the audio component of video – that is, there may be captions which narrate the type of background sounds. Typically, they are also in the same language as the production.
Subtitles are slightly different. While subtitles also display text, they are translations from the original language. They also assume that viewers can hear the audio component of videos.
Now that it’s clear what captioning is, charities might want to caption videos because it increases accessibility.
YouTube offers simple captioning options for uploads. Here are the steps in brief:
Instagram’s caption features are relatively new when compared with YouTube’s more advanced ones. However, the benefit of Instagram’s captions is that they can be added directly on your mobile phone. Here are a couple of tips to get captions on Instagram:
At the moment, English is the only language available. If you’re posting a Story in another language, make sure you’ve got the caption ready to paste into the video.
LinkedIn has basic functionality for adding captions. However, an SRT (SubRip Subtitle) file needs to accompany the video upload. To add text simply:
To note, LinkedIn doesn’t yet have features to add captions automatically or manually. Charities who don’t have SRT production capabilities may need to consider a work around.
Charities may want to use captioned videos more flexibly. Standalone content could be posted on websites or shared internally and may not necessarily be posted on social media.
Creating accessible, clear videos can be produced using online digital tools. For charities on a shoestring budget, there are many options.
VEED’s video production features offer charities an opportunity to add captions at little cost. The videos can then be uploaded to YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, and other channels after it’s been edited. To get started, upload the video and manually enter text. Alternatively, the platform also has automatically generated captioning.
Our top tip for using VEED is to download the caption file. Charity digital leaders can then check over the text to make sure spelling, names, and grammar are correct before uploading to other platforms.
For the tech whizzes, creating captioning files may be the best way to go. The most common type of captioning and subtitle files are SRT formatted.
Being able to create your own files gives charities even more flexibility. There’s no need to use each platform’s bespoke captioning, because one SRT file can be uploaded to every platform.
Creating SRT files sounds challenging, but is actually very simple. Using a text editor, you can write your own captions, as long as you’re aware of the time stamp format.
With the time stamped at the start and at the end of each caption, content creators can build out the text. Once the file has been completed, save down the file as plain text and amend the file extension to SRT.