Video Captions

When you caption videos for students who are deaf or hard of hearing, a lot of other students benefit, too.

Why Captions Matter

  • Of course, people who are deaf or hard of hearing need captions to make sense of videos.
  • However, a UK study found that 80 percent of people who use captions are neither deaf nor hard of hearing.
  • Captions benefit people who are not native speakers of the language in the video.
  • People find captions useful in noisy environments and in places where they have to be very quiet.
  • Captions allow students to see how words in a video are spelled, which helps them learn technical terms.
  • Captions clarify speech that’s mumbled or heavily accented.
  • Also, the text in captions makes your videos searchable. On public sites like YouTube, that means search engines can find your videos.

There is a team at Wright State working on an automatic captioning application that would integrate with Panopto. We will update this page when that becomes available.

Video About Captions from W3C

Below is an audio-described version of this video. It has extra narration to describe action in the video for people who are blind or have low vision. For more information, see the Audio Description page.

Do It Yourself Captions

As you’ll see below, you can caption videos yourself with a little bit of technical knowledge. If you already have a script that accurately matches what’s said on screen, then you have a lot of the hard work done.

But there’s more to good captions than just getting words on screen. When professionals make captions, they know where to start a new line, how to indicate off-camera sounds, how to show who’s speaking, and other finer points. Plus, the pros make captions more quickly and accurately than most of us ever could. While it may be fine to make your own captions for a short video now and then, you may find it’s more cost effective to use professional captioners for larger projects.

Add Captions to Videos in Panopto

Panopto automatically creates captions for every video you upload to it. These are why you can search the content in Panopto videos. You can convert these to closed captions and edit them to correct mistakes.

Reveal Captions in Panopto

If you have a caption file that’s appropriately formatted, or if you need to create a caption file, you’ll find help on Panopto’s page: Manually Upload Captions.

Add Captions to Video You Uploaded to YouTube

YouTube offers four ways to add captions to videos:

  1. Let YouTube make automatic captions, then edit the errors.
  2. Upload a text transcript of your video and let YouTube sync it to your speech.
  3. Use YouTube’s captions editor to play your video and type captions as you go.
  4. Upload a caption file already formatted with time codes, such as a .srt or .sbv file.

Find Human-Captioned Videos

Find Captioned YouTube Videos

YouTube’s automatic captioning can be entertaining, but is usually not very accurate. But YouTube offers a way to search for videos where someone has uploaded or edited captions, which should be more accurate. Just type your search term, follow it immediately by a comma, a space, and the letters CC.

Search the Web for Captioned Video

When searching for videos on the web, you can limit your Google search to captioned video.

  1. Do a Google search on the term(s) you want to find.
  2. Click “Videos” to limit your search to videos.
  3. Click “Settings” and choose “Advanced search.”
  4. For “subtitles,” choose “closed caption only.”

Captioning Resources

Resource Description
Subtitles & Closed Captions YouTube Help documentation.
How to Add Closed Captions to a YouTube Video Start with a transcript and upload it for captions. Or use YouTube’s built-in transcription tool that conveniently pauses the video while you type.
Contribute closed captions and subtitles YouTube Help documentation on how to contribute captioning to someone else’s videos, assuming the author allows it.
Overstream Add captions to videos you don’t own on YouTube, Vimeo and other hosts.
How to Caption Videos A YouTube captioning tutorial done with humor.
Captioning Key Guidelines for good captions published by the captioned media program administered by the National Association of the Deaf, funded by the U.S. Department of Education Office of Special Education Programs.
Described and Captioned Media Program This site provides a wealth of articles on captioning. It’s funded by the U.S. Department of Education and administered by the National Association of the Deaf.

Captioning Services

A number of companies will caption videos for a fee. To start, you might upload a copy of your video to their site. Or you might give them access to your video on the Web. The service will provide a caption file that you can upload to your video platform. Often the professionals can caption so quickly and accurately that it isn’t cost effect to do it yourself on anything but short videos that you need to get out in a rush.

Some captioning companies widely used in higher education are listed below.