Captions are an essential tool of all videographers. Whether you're an industry professional producing content for television networks or a new business looking to create a video for a small-scale startup campaign, everyone will tell you it's vital that your output comes with captioning.
But why is captioning so important?
Including captions is the only way you can ensure your content is as accessible as possible for all audiences. There are an estimated 360 million people who are deaf worldwide and billions who are non-native English speakers who may struggle to understand your content. There’s also a growing number of people who watch video without sound, which means your content will not go far unless it is captioned. By not utilizing and implementing captions in your work, you're closing yourself off to a potentially huge viewership, as well as denying countless people the ability to watch what they want — and enjoy it.
There's a growing need to utilize captions in a way that benefits the hearing, native English speaking population. In the fast-paced world we live in, it's natural for people to consume content on the go. If a video is published on social media, there's a considerable chance that a lot of people will watch it while they’re on the go. When creating video content, it must be assumed that it will be accessed in several different environments: on the train during a morning commute, on a lunch break or killing time in a doctor's waiting room. In these situations, it's unlikely that audiences will be able to listen to audio or, at the very least, not at a high volume.
This is where captioning is a video content life-saver.
Captioning isn’t just a nice addition to your videos, either — it’s steadily becoming a recognized legal requirement for on-demand services worldwide. In the UK, the recent UK Accessibility and Subtitle Regulations Act requires that subtitles and audio descriptions are used on all on-demand content. Similarly in the US, there are plenty of guidelines that need to be followed: the Twenty-First-Century Communications and Video Accessibility Act, for example, requires all web video streaming sites comply with FCC captioning rules; and the American Disabilities Act instructs all publicly available video to be supplied with closed captions.
Captioning and SEO
Along with helping viewers watch and enjoy your content, captioning is also incredibly important for SEO. While search engines can't listen to or watch video, they’re very good at identifying text on websites and categorizing their rankings pages based on keywords. By making sure the videos on your website have captions, you will not only engage with a much larger audience but gain more traffic for the increased level of unique keywords and effective indexing from search engines.
Do well-captioned videos perform differently to uncaptioned ones? According to PLYmedia, yes: they found that captioned videos experienced up to a 40% increase in views, while Wibbitz recently reported that 80% of viewers typically preferred silent videos.
With older methods of captioning videos, users had to manually transcribe the content before syncing it to the dialogue to create captions. Not only is this manual transcription tedious and time consuming, once the transcript is recorded it must be matched with the corresponding times on the video. For captions to be functional and make sense, it’s imperative that they’re placed at the correct time in the content, or else you run the risk of confusing and alienating viewers.
Writing, without the writing
Videographers’ schedules are demanding. They don’t leave time for typing out each word of a given video, let alone syncing each of the words to the source. This process is a burden that eats into the editing time of producers.
Luckily there's an automated solution that can help make the whole task a breeze.
With digital transcription services, captioning for even the longest of videos can be performed automatically, with little to no input from the user.
These highly intuitive services use speech-to-text algorithms to identify and decipher spoken content in videos in a fraction of the time it takes a human to type what's being said. These services also let you add a timestamp to the transcribed caption, which are then used to automatically sync the captions to the correct parts of the video.
The recent addition of Trint’s dedicated plugin for Adobe's Premiere Pro editing suite has promised to make the process of automatically recording and placing captions on video even more simple.
The Adobe Premiere transcription panel lets users drag and drop video and audio files and returns a swift, full transcription with time-stamped captions that's automatically linked to exactly the corresponding moment in the recording. The captioned script, dialogue or other speech from the audio or video file can then be edited to ensure 100% accuracy before it is then embedded onto the source media file in Adobe Premiere.
The plugin is free and simply requires an existing Trint account. The service represents the latest in a trend of incredibly smart, business-friendly technology that's able to not only recognize human voice but also undergo long-winded administrative tasks like positioning text in the ideal location for viewers. And with a typical transcription time that's faster than the length of files uploaded, the service leaves even the fastest of manual transcribers in its dust.