Tips You Need to Consider When Adding Captions to Your Videos

Tips You Need to Consider When Adding Captions to Your Videos

Closed captions are textual representations of audio content within a media file. They are designed to make the audio contents available for viewers or listeners with visual impairment. Closed captions usually provide a time-to-text track as a supplement to the audio. The content in closed captioning usually included non-speech elements like the names of the speakers, sound effects within the audio, and other sounds critical to understanding the plot of the video.

This element is the primary difference between closed captions and subtitles. Subtitles do not contain the added sounds and features within the audio apart from the speech from the speakers. Adding closed captions to your video can increase your viewership, improve your viewer retention, and a host of other benefits. While closed captioning can be highly beneficial, you must consider a few things when adding closed captions to your videos.

Make sure the closed captions are readable

The most important thing you must consider when adding closed captions to your videos is their readability. The closed captions aim to help viewers understand your video better. If the captions are not readable, it will take away from this aim. Four elements affect the readability of closed captions;

Size– the captions should not be too large that they cover the visual content in your video. They should also not be too small that people can hardly read them.
Colour– the colour contrast between the background and the text either allows or inhibits readability. It would help if you found the right contrast.
Background– The background should enhance the text readability. The positioning of the text against the background also matters.
Font– the font should not pose reading difficulties. The font needs to be balanced, not too thin or thick. The wise thing to do would be to go for simple font styles.

Ensure the captions are accurate

Accuracy is also a key factor to consider when adding captions to your videos. The closed captions should capture what is said in the video word-for-word. This way, the audience understand the context. If you do not want to write some words (like curse words), you can use symbols or paraphrase them. This is better than ignoring or leaving them out entirely. Accuracy also means that the captions are available throughout the video.

Ensure that the captions are synchronized

You must also ensure that the captions are synchronized. This means they match what is happening in the background (in the video). The point is to make sure the captions appear on the screen at the same time they are leaving the speaker’s lips. This will help viewers understand the context. Timing is the key to adding synchronized captions to a video.

The length of the captions matter

The length refers to the number of words that appear on the screen at a time. In a nutshell, the length of the sentences appearing on the screen. Some captions appear as one word after another. This can be extremely annoying. Others have extremely long sentences which cover the visual content and affect readability. Neither is good! The trick is to ensure the sentence lengths are not too short or too long. It would also help to steer clear of captions that run more than two lines long or take up the entire screen length. Once or two blocks of captions with about 60 characters would be perfect.

The positioning also matters!

The closed captions can either go at the bottom, centre, or top of the screen. Most people go for bottom closed captions. The centre is the worst place to position captions in a video. You do not want the captions blocking the video content. Placing captions at the bottom allows viewers to multitask (watch the video as they read the captions). Whether you place them at the top or the bottom, the trick is to ensure that the position of the captions is consistent. Shifting positions negatively influences the user experience.


You can add captions to your videos manually or seek assistance from video captioning experts. Experts will ensure all the elements above are considered when creating and adding captions to your videos. They will also take care of all the heavy load so you can take a step back.