In this second part of the series, we will be exploring Rev's approach to closed captions and subtitles, and how Rev captions can help improve your distribution strategy.
You probably don’t need an in-depth explanation of why closed captions are necessary for your content. If you’re not up to speed, know that they are a best practice and are usually required by law. So, why are captions and subtitles often an overlooked part of the distribution strategy?
To be honest, it’s because making captions is not easy. It not only requires you to transcribe and timecode everything being said but also to include other important audio content like sound effects, music, and speaker identification. The good news is that you don’t have to make caption files yourself.
While there are many speech-to-text services that can provide you with closed captions, many of these files require intense editing to fix misspellings, timing, and then conversion to all the formats each distribution channel requires.
However, Rev provides you with the most powerful captioning tool used in post-production and distribution with 99% accuracy and only at $1.25 a minute to make your videos accessible and provide the best possible experience for every viewer.
Videos don’t caption themselves... at least not very well (when it comes to the auto-generated options out there). Save time on creating (or editing) closed captions for your audience and make Rev captions part of your video distribution workflow.
Improving Your Audience’s Viewing Experience
While closed captions and subtitles are not just beneficial to the deaf and hard of hearing, it is the most important reason to caption every piece of video content you publish. You want everyone who can’t hear what’s on-screen to be able to understand and enjoy the content, too.
You might have heard the terms ADA, or most recently, CVAA mentioned when it comes to making your videos accessible. These acronyms are for the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 and the 21st Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act of 2010, respectively. Both of these laws have affected the film industry, most notably how Netflix and Hulu are making closed captions a requirement for their content streaming platforms. Sounds like captions are getting pretty important these days.
You should also consider some other caption benefits that improve your viewer’s experience:
Captions improve comprehension of dialogue
Captions provide clarity for names or organizations mentioned
Captions allow viewers to understand the content when sound is off or inaudible
Captions help people learning English (ESL) or children learning to read
Captions also help those with attention deficits or learning disabilities
Captions help online viewers find your content because of its SEO benefits
Plain and simple, you need captions in your distribution strategy. The future of the industry will be to require all video content have closed captions.
Don’t Just Caption Your Film
While we’re on the importance of captions, it’s important to remind filmmakers and distributors alike that captions aren’t just for the feature. In fact, you need to make sure that captions are provided for every video asset in your distribution strategy and marketing campaign.
Captions should be provided for any of the following video assets:
Behind-the-scenes or “making of” extras
Social Media Clips
Film festival premiere
And the list doesn’t stop there. Essentially, any video content you create should include English captions as the bare minimum.
Including foreign subtitles for your feature and marketing assets will also increase your chances of reaching a global audience. If you’re going to put any paid advertising on your next movie trailer, make subtitle tracks available for those native languages to boost engagement with your project!
Using the Right Captions Files For Your Channels
In addition to how important it is for your caption content to be accurate, making sure you have all the file formats you need for a successful distribution is key. Some caption file extensions are more simple and straightforward than others, while some offer full customization of the style and placement of the captions.
The go-to caption format for the film industry is Scenarist Closed Captions (.scc) which provide the standard CEA-708 captions for broadcasting, streaming services, video-on-demand platforms, video editing, as well as when authoring master discs for distribution. With SCC, you can customize the caption style with things like font, size, color, and position.
For online videos, you can usually rely on SubRip (.srt) which provides an easy-to-edit text file with timecodes and caption data.
Below is a more detailed breakdown of all the caption file extensions generally accepted for various OTT and distribution platforms.
Online Video Platforms
Video hosting platforms like YouTube, Vimeo, Wistia can generally accept these caption files:
Social Media Platforms
Online social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or LinkedIn will accept:
Facebook ready SubRip (.srt)
Streaming & VOD Apps
Video-on-demand platforms like iTunes or Amazon Video as well as streaming platforms like Netflix and Hulu will generally accept any of the following:
Timed Text (.ttml)
Video Editing Software
Post-production apps like Adobe Premiere Pro and Final Cut Pro will import these caption files:
Timed Text (.ttml)
Don’t get overwhelmed by all these different caption file formats. With Rev captions, you only need to order captions once per video and you can download them in any or all of the following formats:
Scenarist (.scc) 29.97 fps
Timed Text (.ttml)
Quicktime Timed Text (.qt.txt)
Cheetah .CAP (.cap)
Spruce Subtitle File (.stl)
Avid DS Subtitle File (.txt)
Avid DVD Subtitle File (.txt)
Facebook ready SubRip (.srt)
Scenarist 23.98 fps (.23p.scc)
Getting Captions For Your Videos
With your project ready, it’s time to get it captioned! Go to the Rev caption page to get started. You can upload your files from Google Drive, Dropbox, Vimeo, YouTube, a public URL, or directly from your computer in the following video formats:
After you upload your files to Rev to be captioned, you can also request the video be translated in up to 17 foreign language subtitles. Once ready, you can submit your order and you’ll get your captions delivered to your email soon!
With Rev’s caption editor, you can download your captions in any format listed above. You can also integrate directly with YouTube or Vimeo to automatically send your captions back to the video on the platform.
Captions aren’t just great for the deaf and hard-of-hearing. They help empower your entire audience who may prefer to have captions on for a myriad of reasons.