If you could open up your content to a wider audience, why wouldn’t you? Closed Captions (or subtitles) do just that. In this tutorial you'll learn why to use them in your social media videos, and the best ways to add them.
Why Add Captions to Your Video
Accessibility and Practicality
There are millions of people all over the world who can’t hear or who struggle with their hearing. Captioning your video not only opens up your video to them as an audience, but also helps to make sure you’re including those people who often can be left out of the online community; something that can be very isolating.
And then there are also many of us for who prefer the sound off, or for whom it’s just not practical to have the sound on when we’re watching videos: you might be on the bus or in a room full of people, and it can be frustrating to miss out on something because you can’t hear it. 85% of people watch Facebook videos without the sound on and with 45% of people watching over an hour of Facebook or YouTube videos a week, that’s a big audience to miss out on if you skip the captions.
Another good reason is if you’re making a video where a large portion of your potential audience might not speak the language. In that case, it’s often sensible to include subtitles in that language, to try and cover your bases.
We’ve all hilariously sung the wrong lyrics over our favourite tunes before and I’m sure you’ve seen that even the big artists now release lyric videos as placeholders before their music video comes out. Not only does it give you some visuals rather than just the song, but it also helps fans to learn the lyrics and get them right!
Autoplay and Reach
When you’re flipping through social media and videos auto play, you make a split decision whether to stay with it, if it piques your interest. Having closed captions can help with that, as you can immediately get a flavour for the content by seeing just a few words.
Including subtitles includes your reach and engagement on social media. Research has shown that videos with captions are more likely to be watched to completion, and have a greater chance of being shared.
How to Add Captions to Your Videos
Facebook and YouTube let you add closed captions by either uploading them in the form of an .srt file, or by typing in line by line. Both of these options can be fiddly and often frustrating. I’ve tried to add in captions directly in Facebook only to have the video keep pinging back to the beginning and you need to find your place again.
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You can also add them within your video editing suite, which is the easier option for most filmmakers. Getting the size, placement and ratio right can be difficult though, particularly if you’re new to it.
There are some smart and talented creators who have made templates to help you create subtitles really easily. Here’s one, from VideoHive
For use in Adobe After Effects, Social Media Video Captions helps you create engaging and easy-to-read subtitles. Visually sync with markers, make live update adjustments and choose from single or double line.