How to Add Closed Captions to a Video: Easy Methods 2024

Explore different methods and tools for captioning videos effectively. Get maximum impact and reach for your content!

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By Danielle Vaughan
Lucia Gcingca
Edited by Lucia Gcingca

Published April 23, 2024.

A woman sitting on a couch watching tv with closed captions

When you're making a video for an audience today, you can't get away doing so without adding closed captions. That's if you want to engage as wide an audience as possible (adding closed captions to your video could increase its views by 80%) while driving SEO.

Join us as we explore easy methods like leveraging artificial intelligence (AI) tools to incorporate closed captions. See how you use close captions to enhance accessibility and engagement in your video content.

What Are Closed Captions?

A closed caption is text that provides information about the audio portion of a video, including dialogue, sound effects, and speaker identification. Viewers can choose to turn the captions on or off, typically through a captions button on the video player.

This differs from open captions, which are permanently embedded in the video.

Note: Both open and closed captions assist with the full comprehension of the message in the video.

» Which caption type is is right for you? Check out Closed captioning vs open captioning

The Benefits of Closed Captions

Some benefits of including closed captions and subtitles in your videos are:

  • Accessibility: Captions are great for viewers with hearing impairments as they ensure equal access to information.
  • Reaching a Global Audience: Expand your reach to non-native speakers with captions or translated subtitles.
  • Enhanced Comprehension: Sometimes, background noise or learning differences can hinder understanding. Captions provide an additional layer of clarity.
  • SEO: Search engines can crawl and index caption text, potentially boosting your video's discoverability.

» Unlock nine tips to make your content accessible and engaging

4 Easy Ways to Add Closed Captions to a Video

Now that you understand the power of closed captions, let's look into the methods available to add them to your videos:

1. Use the Platform's Built-in Tools

If you're publishing videos to the world on YouTube or TikTok, you can enjoy automatic captioning, a convenient option for short and clear audio. However, accuracy can be an issue, especially with complex audio or accents. Consider it a starting point, but be prepared to review and edit for mistakes.

» Discover how to upload a video to YouTube 

2. Manual Control With Editing Software

For creators seeking ultimate control, video editing software like Adobe Premiere Pro allows precise timing, formatting, and customization. This method is ideal for polished presentations and offers granular control over every aspect of your captions.

Note: You'll need a bit of technical expertise and it can be time-consuming, especially for lengthy videos.

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3. Online Captioning Services

If high-quality and accurate captions are your top priority, online captioning services like Rev provide professional human captioning for a fee. This is ideal for mission-critical videos or internal knowledge base step-by-step guides containing industry jargon or technical terms. However, online captioning services can be less budget-friendly than other methods.

4. AI-Powered Tools

Tools like guidde use AI technology to generate captions. This is great when you have plenty of videos to work through and don't have time to caption them yourself. Also if you're creating documentation to be shared in one central repository rather than on a social network.

Similar to YouTube's automatic captions, AI sometimes gets things wrong when it comes to complex audio. And audio-to-text AI tools might not be familiar with niche vocabulary, so make sure to review your content before you publish it.

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The free tier gives you up to 25 how-to videos, making it a suitable option to test the features before committing to a paid plan.

Guidde's easy-to-use interface and AI-powered features simplify the video creation process. Its interactive elements and comprehensive pricing options make it ideal for novices and non-designers, enabling them to communicate and educate their audience effectively.

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How to Choose the Best Closed Captioning Method

When you're selecting the right option for you, here are some considerations to weigh up.

  • Your Budget: YouTube's built-in tool and some AI-powered options are cost-effective, while online captioning services require investment.
  • Your Technical Expertise: Manual captioning with editing software necessitates some technical knowledge.
  • How Much Control You Want: Video editing software offers the most control over caption formatting and timing.

4 Best Practices for Crafting Clear Closed Captions

Regardless of the method chosen, ensure your captions are precise, well-timed, and easy to read for optimal viewing experience:

  1. Accuracy and Conciseness: Strive for captions that accurately reflect the spoken dialogue, but keep them concise. Leave out filler words like "um" and "uh," but ensure the meaning remains clear.

  2. Readability: Prioritize easy reading. Use short sentences, proper grammar, and avoid abbreviations viewers might not understand.

  3. Timing is Key: Captions should appear on screen in sync with the spoken words. Leave enough time for viewers to read each caption before it disappears.

  4. Context Matters: Don't just transcribe dialogue. Include speaker identification for conversations with multiple people and sound effects like "[laughter]" or "[doorbell rings]" for clarity.

Pro tip: Quality assurance in caption editing helps avoid accessibility issues or misunderstandings. Watch the video again without audio to gauge comprehension.

Closed Captions Open Doors to a Global Audience

By incorporating closed captions, you open your video content to a more expansive audience, ensure accessibility, and demonstrate social responsibility. It's a win-win!

Remember, with various captioning options, there's a perfect fit for every budget and technical skill set. So, unlock the potential of your videos today by exploring AI-powered tools like guidde to jumpstart your journey towards inclusive content creation.