Adding captions to your video

Almost 5 billion videos are watched on YouTube every single day*.

It’s video that’s driving internet traffic and fast becoming a favoured tool for marketers to engage with their customers and prospects.

Most of the time these videos are watched whilst others are around us. You just need to look at a train full of commuters on mobiles and tablets to see this.

And that’s the problem.

A video is always meant to be watched and listened to, not read, but the way we are consuming video means that, if they don’t have captions, they can become inaccessible and ineffective. That is why you need to have a version of your video that has captions for specific uses.

Adding caption allows more people to watch your video because they’re not annoying those around them with the sound. A captioned version allows you to maximise the impact of your original video.

Opportunities to use your captioned video

Once you have the captioned version there are further ways the video can be used, which you may not have originally thought about.


If you have a captioned version of your video you can use it at exhibitions where it is impossible to hear any sound because of the noise in the hall. The video is a great eye catcher that stops passing visitors. They stand, watch and understand the narrative; perfect timing for you to start a conversation.

Social Media

You may want to push your video out on LinkedIn, if you are a B2B company and that is where your customers and prospects are, but many office computers have the sound turned off as standard, to avoid disturbing colleagues. A subtitled video means office based people can still watch and learn whilst at their desk.

Or, you might want to advertise on Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. Many people scroll through their social media feeds on the train or on the sofa with the family around, so they need an option to watch and understand your video without sound.

Office Reception

If you have a spacious reception area, it’s a great opportunity for waiting visitors to watch a corporate video so they can understand more about your company. But, if the sound is on and your video is on loop, the poor reception team will go out of their minds listening to it over and over again!


Captions aren’t limited to the words being said, they describe all audio, including the type of music and any significant sounds, this means that an audience with a hearing impairment can also benefit from your video.

Adding Captions to your video

When you upload your video to YouTube or Facebook, there is the option to specify which language the video is in and to add auto-generated captions. These are then made available within the video player, giving viewers the option to turn them on or off. The the only problem with these auto-generated options is they don’t always correctly ‘hear’ the words being said in the video. This means you have to go in and out of the settings and edit them sentence by sentence. As you can speak around 150 words per minute this can quickly becomes a lengthy task!

The process of adding captions directly to a video might seem straight forward, but there is a bit of work involved. First, you need to transcribe the video. You can either add the text manually using a video editing software, or create and upload an SRT file to the editing software.

Within an SRT file, each line needs to be broken down by exact timecode and formatted correctly for the program to understand it. This includes subtitle information like the start and end time-codes of the text and the sequential number of subtitles.

The SRT file can then be uploaded to a third-party piece of software to generate the caption visuals and these can either be baked into the video file or uploaded to whichever video player you are using to distribute your video e.g. YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo. This is not a difficult process, but it does take a bit of time.

Here’s an example of an animated video we created, which includes captions.

Getting the most from your investment in video

When you are commissioning your next video, ask the production company if a version with subtitles is included.

Square Daisy includes a second subtitled video as standard. PLUS, we offer an option for a shorter version for Instagram too.

This 2 for 1 may sound too good to be true, but we always look for ways to add value and wow our customers through the outstanding service we provide.

* 37 Mind Blowing YouTube Facts, Figures and Statistics – 2018 Read more…


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If you're considering video, get in touch and we can talk about the best approach for your audience

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