What’s the deal with Video Captioning?
Recently, we’ve been getting a lot of questions about video captioning at Nel Shelby Productions. It’s clear that captioning is gaining importance in marketing efforts in addition to ensuring accessibility to viewers who need them.
Captioning boosts your SEO, improves viewer comprehension, and paves the way for foreign language subtitles. Most importantly, captions make your video content accessible to deaf or hearing-impaired viewers. Secondarily, captions make your videos more likely to be viewed on a Facebook newsfeed. Maybe your viewer is watching at work with the volume turned down to avoid distracting their co-workers, or maybe they’re watching on their phone while they’re in a noisy environment so it’s easier to read than hear every word…you get the point.
It can be tricky getting started with video captioning! So we wanted to share a quick breakdown of your options for YouTube, Vimeo and Facebook.
Captioning for Youtube
Upload your own transcription through YouTube for free
This is the method we used for this Dance/NYC campaign video.
In order to do this, you must upload either a caption file or a transcript file. Caption files contain both text and time codes, while transcript files only contain text and are saved as a plain text file (.txt). If the video is in English, YouTube can automatically synchronize your transcript with the video to create a caption file.
NCDAE offers this really great resource for adding captions through YouTube’s video manager!
Can’t see the captions? Check to see if they are turned on by pressing the “cc” button in the lower right corner!
With Automatic Captioning, machine algorithms generate captions for you without you needing to type out your transcript. The quality may vary with this method, but you can edit the captions it collects to make it clearer!
Subtitles in other languages
Youtube can also guide you to a selection of vendors who can translate your videos. The video must have captions already entered in the video’s original language in order for this to work!
Community Contributed Subtitles
If time is tight, there is a way to crowdsource subtitles and translations. You can turn on community contributions for your videos, and then users will submit closed captions or subtitles. Once content is submitted, you can manage it by reviewing, editing, publishing, flagging, or rejecting it.
This seems to us that it would be just as effective as editing the automatically generated captions, so why rely on a stranger to submit when you can use the auto version?
Captioning for Vimeo
Vimeo has a partnership with Amara for captioning/subtitles for videos. Amara is a non-profit subtitling service whose mission is to make as much content as accessible as possible. Amara provides two services:
- Software that allows users to add and edit captions/subtitles
- Captioning and subtitling services provided by a community of transcribers and translators.
In Advanced Settings, you can upload existing captioning or use their editor to create a new file for free. You also have the option to purchase captions, subtitles, and translations from Amara, based on the length of your video (rounded up to nearest minute).
Captioning for Facebook
Nel Shelby is Video Producer at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival and Owner & Filmmaker for Nel Shelby Productions, her New York City-based company dedicated to dance videography and editing. Nel shares her mission to preserve and promote the art of dance with her husband, Christopher Duggan, a dance and wedding photographer. They collaborate on projects with dance companies of worldwide renown, up-and-coming choreographers, dance educators, dance schools and more. Nel is also the proud Director and Producer of PS DANCE! — a New York Emmy-nominated documentary about dance education in NYC’s public schools.