Creating captions for my course videos inside the Introvert VA Club was on my list of to-dos for a while. It was one of those things that I didn’t know much about and, therefore, never took the time to do! It wasn’t until a new member mentioned she was hard of hearing that I was inspired to research captions and start adding them to all our videos.
While researching and trying out tools, I found myself confused by terms and frustrated by tech. But I figured it out and want to share what I learned with you!
Adding captions is a great thing for your videos and can be a valuable service for your clients!
This article may contain affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase through the link, I get a small percentage at no additional charge to you. See my disclosure for more info.
HOW TO ADD CAPTIONS TO YOUR VIDEOS
WHAT ARE CAPTIONS?
Captioning is the process of converting video audio into text.
Captions are the text that appears at the bottom of the video. This text allows the viewer to follow along without playing the audio. (See example below.)
THE BENEFITS OF ADDING CAPTIONS TO YOUR VIDEOS
There are many benefits to adding captions:
- Accessibility – Captions make videos accessible to people who are deaf or hard of hearing.
- Viewer comprehension – Captions are a helpful learning tool and can help viewers understand the material better, especially if you have a thick accent or if the viewer has background noise.
- Flexibility – Sometimes, people will prefer to watch videos with the sound off. (For example, while in a public place.) Captions allow viewers to understand the video without audio or headphones.
Fun fact: The French Chef with Julia Child was the first TV show to air with captions in 1972.
TERMS TO KNOW
There are a few terms you’ll need to know before you hop into captioning. These are terms that you’ll run into while creating and adding captions to your videos.
Captions are designed for viewers who can’t or don’t want to hear the audio.
Subtitles are designed for viewers who don’t understand the language in the video. It’s a translation.
Transcripts are a written form of audio. You’ll see transcripts a lot of times in blog posts where there’s a video or in the description of a podcast episode. It’s not something that is in the actual video; instead, it is written text you can access elsewhere.
Keep in mind that sometimes you’ll hear captions and subtitles used interchangeably. 😜
Open captions are text that is embedded in the video. There is no option of turning the captions on or off. They are there whether the viewer wants them or not.
Closed captions are text that is optional. You’ll see a CC button at the bottom of a video where you can turn the captions on and off.
TOOLS TO CREATE CAPTIONS FOR YOUR VIDEOS
There are many tools to choose from to help you create your captions. (You can also hire people or manually create them). I prefer using ASR software.
AUTOMATIC SPEECH RECOGNITION (ASR) SOFTWARE
ASR software turns your video audio into captions automatically. You upload your video to the software platform, and it spits out the text. You’ll then edit the text so that it matches the audio in the video.
Some ASR options out there are:
- Screencast-o-Matic (free with a paid subscription)
- YouTube (if you host your videos here, you can have YouTube transcribe your videos for free)
I’ve been using Amberscript to create captions for my courses. It’s simple to use and affordable.
THE PROCESS OF ADDING CAPTIONS TO YOUR VIDEOS
The process I use in Amberscript will likely be very similar to any ASR software.
The steps are:
- Edit the captions that the ASR software creates for you. Correct any punctuation, grammar, or spelling errors.
- Re-align timestamps.
- Download the text as a .vtt file.
- Upload the .vtt file to your video platform (I host my videos on Vimeo)
Remember, if you’re adding captions to YouTube videos, you can do that within YouTube and won’t need ASR software. (That is, unless you find that YouTube captions aren’t accurate and you’re losing your mind correcting errors. In that case, you’ll want to save your sanity by using something like Amberscript!)
The example below is why it’s important to edit the captions the ASR tool creates for you. The caption is supposed to read “Honeybook,” not “Hornibrook!” 🤣
OFFER CAPTIONING AS A SERVICE
If you enjoy creating captions, you might want to offer it as a service to clients!
Here are a few ideas:
💡 Some course platforms (like Skillshare) automatically generate captions for their classes. The problem I found is that they are far from accurate! Each class uploaded to Skillshare is done so by teachers, so you could reach out and offer to clean things up. That way, their students can understand the class better.
💡 Membership owners typically have a ton of videos inside their memberships. Vimeo and YouTube are the most popular platforms they use to host their videos. You can either create captions for Vimeo videos or clean up captions inside YouTube. (Membership Academy is where tons of membership owners hang out. It would be a great place to find clients!)
💡 If you purchase a course and notice there are no CC (closed caption) buttons on the video, you can reach out to the teacher and offer your help. Explain why it’s important to add captions to videos.
Adding captions to your videos is important for many reasons. One of the most important reasons is making your videos accessible to people who have hearing issues. It’s not hard to do, however! Just find an ASR tool you like, edit your captions, and upload to your video host. Or just edit your YouTube videos within their platform.
Want to learn more about adding captions to videos, including step-by-step instructions on how to use Amberscript? Join the Introvert VA Club and have access to this course, plus other trainings and support!