The Difference Between Closed Captions and Open Captions

The Difference Between Closed Captions and Open Captions

Knowing the difference between closed captions and open captions is important knowledge for any video content creator. Explore these differences and learn when to use them both.

If you've turned on a television, watched a foreign film, scrolled through FaceBook, or checked out a new YouTube video, you’ve undoubtedly come across closed captions or open captions.

Knowing what captions are and the difference between closed captions and open captions is important knowledge for any video content creator. So today we are going to explore these differences and when to use them both.

What are captions?

Captions are the words you sometimes see scrolling along the bottom of a video screen. They provide a text version of all the audio content in a video. Captions include all spoken words and a text description of any audible sounds in the video such as laughter, applause or music. In addition to a transcription of the video’s audio, captions often indicate the names of speakers and note when speakers change.

Why should video content creators include captions?

In short, captions make video content more accessible to all viewers.

For individuals that are deaf or hard of hearing, captions are essential in order for them to understand the audio content of a video.

Captions are also helpful to individuals that want to consume video with the sound off. As much as 85% of Facebook videos are consumed silently. Why? Because videos are often watched on public transportation, at work, or whilst sharing a room with someone else.

Without captions, video content creators are limiting their audience and are likely to have fewer views.

What is the difference between closed and open captions?

There is one simple difference between closed captions and open captions.

Open captions cannot be turned off by the user and are always visible on the screen. Whereas, closed captions can be turned off by the user.

Closed Captions

Closed captions, or soft captions, are the preferred and most common captioning method as it leaves the viewer in control.

Most of today’s media players and social media sharing sites support closed captioning.

For example, at the bottom of each YouTube video you will see the CC symbol. If you click on this symbol, the uploaded subtitles or the automatically generated captions will be displayed.

YouTube offers closed captions for videos.

In most instances, video content creators should use closed captions as it gives the viewer the most choice and most viewers like to customize their viewing experience. If your video is solely going to be hosted on FaceBook or YouTube, then you should use closed captions.

Open Captions

Open captions are also known as burned-in, baked on, or hard-coded captions as they are seen by everyone that watches a video. There is no option for a viewer to turn off open captions.

Open captions are best used when a video is likely to be viewed in a public space: waiting rooms, bars and restaurants, or any space were loud noises will make it difficult to hear or the environment calls for silence. Open captions should also be used when you know that a large part of your viewing audience will be deaf or hard of hearing.

Open captions allow the video content creator to determine the font color and size of the captions before embedding them into a video. This can be useful to ensure that the captions do not cover up important parts of a video. However, with open captions the user has no control over the size or appearance of the captions which may be a disadvantage to some users with visual impairments. Therefore, it is advisable to adhere to the Web Accessibility Guidelines for captions to minimize any issues for viewers.

The Importance of Caption Quality

When creating captions for your videos, it's essential to prioritize quality to ensure a positive user experience. Low-quality captions with spelling errors, incorrect grammar, or poorly timed text can detract from your video's message and frustrate viewers who rely on them for comprehension. High-quality captions should be accurate, clear, and easy to read. They should also be properly synced with the video's audio to allow users to follow along without confusion. Investing in professional transcription and captioning services, like Happy Scribe's Subtitle Generator, can help ensure that your captions are of the highest quality, making your content more enjoyable and accessible to all viewers.

Caption Customization for Enhanced User Experience

In addition to providing closed captions that can be turned on or off by users, offering customization options can enhance the user experience even further. Some platforms, such as YouTube, allow viewers to adjust the appearance of captions, including font size, color, and background. Providing these options enables users to tailor the captions to their individual needs and preferences, resulting in a more enjoyable viewing experience. For example, viewers with visual impairments may need larger font sizes, while others might prefer a specific color combination for better readability. By giving your audience control over these settings, you demonstrate a commitment to accessibility and inclusivity in your video content.

How to get captions for videos?

If you are looking to create captions for videos quickly and cost-effectively, then look no further than Happy Scribes Subtitle Generator. Happy Scribe’s Subtitle Generator is a cloud-based web-application that automatically generates captions for videos. Moreover, Happy Scribe’s Subtitle Generator can great captions for your video in more than 119 languages and accents.

Adding captions automatically to videos is easy with Happy Scribe’s Subtitle Generator:

Happy Scribe provides both open and closed captioning services

Happy Scribe is an excellent tool for creating closed and open captions for your content. With its advanced AI technology, Happy Scribe can transcribe your video content quickly and accurately, creating a text file that can be used to add captions to your videos. You can edit the transcripts to ensure accuracy and choose between closed or open captions to suit your audience's needs.

Happy Scribe also allows you to adjust the font, size, and color of your captions to match your branding. With its user-friendly interface and high-quality results, Happy Scribe is an excellent choice for creating accessible video content.

Try Happy Scribe’s Subtitle Generator

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