In 2016 a Digiday article reported that 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound. Having captions on your videos is now essential for online communication.
YouTube has had captions enabled for a long time.
YouTube even automatically generates captions. Unfortunately the accuracy of these still need some work. You can tweak the captions by going to the Subtitles/CC tab when you are in the edit settings of YouTube video.
Click on the English (Automatic) link and it will open up the list of captions. As the video plays through you can edit the captions as necessary. I tend to find with the YouTube automatically generated captions you need to insert punctuation to help make sense of the text. You will also need to tidy up a few of the words. It’s not bad for a robotic process, but not perfect.
SRT – SubRip Subtitle files
When YouTube creates those captions it generates an .srt (SubRip subtitle) file. This is the captions file that contains the information about what text needs to appear on screen and when it comes up and goes off. It is essentially a text file comprised of a caption number, a timecode start and finish and one or two lines of text that needs to be displayed on the screen. Here’s a sample:
00:00:00,420 –> 00:00:06,180
I know a lot of people struggle
presenting in front of the camera.
00:00:06,180 –> 00:00:10,830
Don’t worry it’s kind of normal. The other day
some colleagues asked a question “how do
00:00:10,830 –> 00:00:14,700
you present with impact on camera while
still maintaining your authentic self?”
00:00:14,700 –> 00:00:21,090
That’s a great question. I think there
are two parts to answer this. Firstly I think
00:00:21,090 –> 00:00:25,140
we need to accept that we have different
ways of being and of engaging depending
00:00:25,140 –> 00:00:28,680
on who we’re with. If you are talking to a
client it would be different to talking
You can download the .srt file from YouTube or you can create it separately. This .srt file can then be used to add captions to your Facebook or Linkedin (or YouTube) videos.
To download the .srt file from YouTube, click on the Actions button that is above the captions.
If you have nothing better to do with your time then you can create your .srt file manually using the layout above. However my favourite online service is REV.COM. For $1 (USD) a minute they will provide transcriptions of your videos or create an .srt file for you. And they usually do it within 24 hours. And they are 99% accurate.
If your video is already uploaded to YouTube or Vimeo you just need to provide the link to the video URL. Within seconds Rev.com checks how long the video is and issues an account to pay, your order is processed and the captioning is happening.
Overnight you have your accurate .srt file ready to add to your video.
Adding captions to Facebook videos.
As I mentioned earlier most Facebook videos are watched mute so including captions will help your audience watch, enjoy and engage with your videos.
Adding captions via an .srt file is a little clunky in Facebook, so pay attention. Firstly upload the video. Then wait for Facebook to tell you it has been uploaded. Then go back to the video and click Options in the bottom right corner then edit this video.
This opens up a dialogue box that allows you to add details including uploading the SRT file.
It does stipulate that you need to use the filename format: Filename.en_US.srt, so play it safe and follow that format.
Adding captions to LinkedIn videos:
Uploading your .srt file to a LinkedIn video is a bit easier. Start by uploading a video file to a LinkedIn post. As soon as the file is uploaded you can add the .srt files by clicking the pencil (edit) icon in the top right of the video.
This opens up another dialogue box that allows you to add the .srt file to the video.
Adding captions to Vimeo videos:
To add captions to your Vimeo videos follow these steps. Go your video once it has been uploaded and select Settings on the bottom left under the video.
You can then add the srt file by selecting Choose File under the option at the top – Upload captions and subtitles.
Select the file you want to upload then check the box that says Enable Captions & Subtitles. Complete the process by selecting language and whether it is subtitles or captions. Select captions.
Then hit Save at the bottom of that page.
Your Vimeo video will now a CC option in the menu bar at the bottom of the video.
By clicking this you can turn the captions on or off.
Adding SRT files to YouTube videos
As mentioned above YouTube can automatically generate its own captions however they tend to need to work to get right. You might find it easier to just get the captions generated from REV.com and upload these to your YouTube video. Here’s how.
Open you video and click Edit Video. Up the top you’ll be able to select the menu item> CC Subtitles/CC.
This allows you to select the auto generated subtitles or to upload your own srt file.
SEO value of captions
In addition to making it easier for your viewers to watch your videos without the sound, captions also helps Google, LinkedIn and Facebook better understand what your video is about. It is much easier for the search engines to interpret the text that has been created for the captions. This tells exactly what is in the video and who might be interested in it.
Another option for creating captions so your videos can be watched mute is to generate stylish graphic text as part of the video production. This can allow you to add extra impact to the presentation with engaging visual content. This does require you to build the video with this in mind, so more time is spent in the post production of the video. Here’s an example where the key points of the video are delivered via text so even without sound you get the point.