Captioning Videos: Special Topics

Here’s a round-up of short captioned topics and tips. These used to be in the giant captioned video guide. But it was becoming unwieldy and I wanted to take out instructions for software as that’s always changing. I also separated out the Captioning Videos FAQ.

Captions Revealing Secrets

Should captions reveal secrets?

Sometimes the speaker isn’t on screen, so the captions identify the speaker by name.

That makes sense because most people recognize the voice and know who is talking. Therefore, it makes sense to let the caption viewers know.

Music Example

But here’s an example when the captions gave away the secret.

“Motown 60: A Grammy Celebration” talked about how Berry Gordy wanted songs that hooked you in the first four bars and keep you listening. That’s when he knew he had a hit.

So, the show put it to the test and challenged the audience and viewers to guess the song. The band played just the first four bars.

Well, the captions gave it away (43-second mark). But, how do you capture the music in captions without revealing anything?

In this case, the captions should not have revealed the song title. Why? Because you may have hearing audiences listening. And some people who wear hearing devices may be able to recognize the song.

Crying Example

Can you tell who is crying without seeing their face?

In “Big Bang Theory,” we learn that a character is crying. But we don’t see the character as the scene takes place outside the bathroom door. The person crying is on the other side of the door.

The captions revealed who was crying like this.

[Amy crying]

But, in most cases, you can’t identify a person by the cry. In the next line, the character speaks. It would’ve been better to reveal the character’s name when she spoke using this.

The scene shows Sheldon outside of the bathroom door.

[Crying]

[Sheldon talks to person through the door] Are you OK?

[Amy] Go away.

The trick is to consider whether a person with hearing can identify something or not based on the voice or sound. If yes, then reveal. If no, then don’t reveal.

Caption Timing

Here are two examples. One bad example of when the caption timing revealed something to caption viewers before hearing viewers. And then a second example where caption viewers remained in suspense just as much as hearing viewers.

In this first example, watch the captions closely. It can be easy to miss.

Caption viewers learn who is leaving the show a whopping eight seconds before hearing viewers. Now let’s look at the right way to build suspense with good timing on captions. And notice that the captions represent music two ways.

Well done, the Bachelor captioners!

Use #Captioned When Posting Videos

Expand your video’s reach by adding #Captioned when you post your captioned videos. This hashtag is unique in that doesn’t tell you the topic of the video. Rather, it tells you the video has captions. This allows people to find videos that are captioned.

Yes, YouTube’s search tool has a “Captioned” as an option. However, if a video has open captions, it will not likely show up as a captioned video. And most social networks do not have a search tool to find captioned videos. Thus, #Captioned is the way to search for captioned videos.

Why not #Captions? Because it refers to a lot of things besides captioned videos. The most common use of #Caption or #Captions is “caption this” challenges where someone posts a photo and encourages people to add funny captions to it.

3 C’s of Successful Videos

When you caption your videos, it increases their chances of success. You can’t captivate people without capturing them and you can’t capture them without captions.

  • Caption
  • Capture
  • Captivate

Thus, caption your videos to capture more people and captivate them.

What To Do When You Can’t Caption a Video

I know …

Life happens …

Work happens …

And sometimes you can’t caption your video.

It’s disappointing when you push play only to see no captions.

*** Easy fix ***

Just let us know in the intro that it’s not captioned and cover the key points.

It makes a big difference. It erases the disappointment that comes with pushing play.

Stellar example: Stefano Capacchione shared a wonderful music video. In his intro, he mentioned there were no captions and that the lyrics were in the comments (too long for the intro)! Happy day!

Another example: I uploaded a video, but I couldn’t upload the SRT file with the captions. I used an app to burn in the captions. Problem solved.

And when you do caption your video, add #Captioned so we can find it. Let’s start a revolution to use the hashtag to help make it easier to find captioned videos on social media. Check it out on LinkedIn.

Facebook Caption File Naming

Facebook won’t accept any ol’ SRT file. How you name the SRT file matters. Otherwise, Facebook won’t accept it. It needs to have the country and language name (in upper case) in the file.

Facebook’s naming convention for SRT files is as follows:

filename.[language code]_[country code].srt

The country code needs to be in all caps.

Instead of filename.srt, someone using United States English will name it:

filename.en_US.srt

En represents English and US represents USA.

For the United Kingdom English, the file name would be:

filename.en_GB.srt

For Spanish spoken in Mexico, the file name becomes:

filename.es_MX.srt

To find the language and country code you need, refer to Facebook’s list of languages and country codes for SRT files.

How to Turn on Captions on Windows, Macs, Facebook, LinkedIn, and YouTube

Desktop and Laptop

You may also want to go into your Windows OS or macOS Accessibility settings to turn on captions and format the captions.

Windows

Here are the steps to manage captions in Windows based on Windows 10.

  1. Select Ease of Access.
  2. Select [cc] Closed captions under Hearing.

Change the options to reflect your preferences.

Mac

Here are the steps to manage captions on a Mac laptop or computer.

  1. Select Apple menu.
  2. Select System Preferences.
  3. Select Accessibility.
  4. Select Captions.

Modify the settings to your preferences.

Mobile Devices

If you do not see the CC on your iOS phone, you may need to change a setting before following the directions in the video. This can apply to Macbooks too. Apple has instructions for using subtitles and closed captions on Macs.

iOS devices

How to turn on captions on an iOS device including iPhones and iPads.

  1. Select Settings.
  2. Select General.
  3. Select Accessibility.
  4. Scroll to Media and select Subtitles & Captioning.
  5. Toggle the button to turn on Closed Captions + SDH.

Android devices

How to turn on captions on an Android device:

  1. Select Settings.
  2. Select Accessibility.
  3. Select Captions under System.
  4. Toggle the button to turn on Captions.
  5. Change any options to format Captions to your preference.

Now, you should be able to see the caption option as shown in the next video.

How Do I Caption Videos with YouTube?

YouTube is a great option because it’s free and you can download the caption text file to use with your video. Some apps that burn in your captions use this text file to do the job.

This tutorial assumes you’ve uploaded your file to YouTube.

Now, which option do you want to do?

How Do I Caption Videos with Facebook?

Facebook can automatically generate captions for you. But it can only do this for company pages, not individual accounts.

Here’s a video guide on how to automatically caption videos on Facebook and edit them.

How to Add Closed Captioned to a LinkedIn Video

If you burned-in the captions, you do not need to do these steps. Before you post on LinkedIn, be sure to have your video and its associated .SRT caption file ready. To upload both files to LinkedIn, follow these steps like creating a new post:

  1. Select the Video icon to start the new post.
  2. Select the video file and Open.
  3. Select “Select Caption” below the video and “Select Thumbnail” option.
  4. Find and open the .SRT file.
  5. Select “Done.”
  6. Select “Post” when you’re ready to publish.

How to Fix SRT Errors on LinkedIn?

Have you been having trouble uploading your SRT file to add captions to your video on LinkedIn?

Do you get this error?

Invalid SRT format at line ##: missing sequence number
LinkedIn SRT error: "Invalid SRT form at line 169: missing sequence number"

Great news! It’s an easy fix! Open the SRT file in a text editor to see this.

Caption SRT file showing two blank lines at the end that need deleting

You’ll file has two blank lines. Delete the extra lines until the cursor reaches the last visible character. In the following example, the cursor stops after “watching.”

Caption SRT file showing where to stop the deletions (last period of last captions)

Tada!

I hope you found this ultimate guide to captioning videos helpful. Please share any questions or thoughts in the comments.

This guide will continue to get updates and tweaks as new apps come out and current apps change.

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Image credit: AlexAntropov86 on Pixabay.

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