Adding captions is an important part of producing online video. Not only do captions help with accessibility for viewers who are deaf or hard of hearing, but they also help your videos get more views.
How does adding captions get my video more views?
Search engines like Google can’t listen to the audio in your video. Instead they crawl the video looking for text in order to determine the content and display it in the appropriate search results. They find this text in the description and tags that you’ve added, as well as in the caption file if you’ve added one.
By adding a caption file, you are allowing search engines to read the full content of your video rather than just the short description and tags that you include. This allows the search engine to get a better understanding of your video so that it can be displayed in more accurate search results, allowing more people to see your video.
Videos posted to social media sites like Facebook are also more likely to be viewed if they include captions. When a video auto-plays on Facebook, it will play without sound unless the viewer opts to turn the volume on. Adding captions will catch a viewers attention without any audio and will allow them to “see” the audio your video without having to turn the sound on.
So how can you add captions to your videos?
You can find dozens of companies online who will manually transcribe your video and create a caption file for you, but that may be out of your budget and transcribing the video yourself can take a long time.
YouTube offers captions free of charge on any video you upload to their site. These captions are not created by a real person, however, but by using speech recognition software. Inevitably, the transcription that the speech recognition software creates is not perfect.
You will have to go through and edit any words that YouTube’s speech recognition software misunderstood, add capitalization and punctuation where needed, and adjust any timings that aren’t quite right. This will take some time, but it will be quicker than manually transcribing the video from scratch, as most of the work is already done for you.
Once you get the text and timings how you want them, YouTube will allow you to download the edited caption file so that you can attach it to your video on other sites that support captions as well.
Here’s how to get started with creating your captions on YouTube:
1. Go to your Creator Studio by clicking on your channel icon in the top right corner and selecting “YouTube Studio” in the drop down menu.
2. Go to the “Videos” tab in the left side menu, then find and click on the video you want to add captions to.
3. Hover over “Other features” and then click on “Translation & transcription”.
4. You should see a video player window and an already published caption file called “English (Automatic)”. Click on this caption file to view and edit it. Before editing your captions you must first click on the “Unpublish”. This unpublishes YouTube’s autogenerated captions and allows you to edit them.
5. Click the play button on the video player to watch your video with captions. You can pause the video and adjust the text on the left as needed.
6. To adjust the timing of where a caption starts or ends, hover over the text block that you want to adjust under the video. Two blue handles, one at either side of the block, will show up. Click and drag these handles left or right to lengthen or shorten the duration of that caption and adjust the in and out points.
7. Once you’ve finished editing your captions, click “Publish”. Your edited caption file will now show up under “PUBLISHED”.
8. If you want to download the caption file to use on other websites, click on your published caption file to go back to the editor. Click on “Actions” and you will be given the option to download the file in multiple formats (.vtt, .srt, and .sbv). You will need to check what caption file format the site you want to add the captions to will accept, and download that format. Most sites that support captions (including Vimeo and Facebook) will accept an .srt file.
If you need help, or if you want to have your captions permanently embedded into your video file for accessibility purposes when showing it live or on a site that does not support captions, we can help. Contact us for a free quote on your project today!
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