How Do I Add Captions to My Videos?

January 12, 2017 BY LILY BOND
Updated: January 4, 2018

A man who is confused

So you have a video – but how do you add captions?

There are three main ways to associate a caption file with a video:

Upload Captions as “Side Car” Files

The most common way to add captions to your videos is as a “side car” file. Most web video players and platforms allow you to upload a caption file in their specified format along with your video file. Captions will sync with your video. Users can turn captions on and off by clicking a “CC” button and can often change the visual formatting of the captions directly on the video player.

Use Open Captions

If you want to play your video offline or never want captions turned off, you can burn the captions directly onto the video file to create open captions. In this case, users can’t turn captions off – they are a part of the video file.

Encode Your Captions

The third way to associate a caption file with your video is to encode the captions. This is often necessary for offline viewing, for kiosks, or if you don’t have a video platform. You can also distribute caption-encoded videos as a single asset. Users will still be able to turn the captions on or off, and the captions should work across mobile devices.

What Caption Format Do I Need?

It is critical that you use the correct caption format for your video player, video platform, or lecture capture system. While some caption formats are easier to create from scratch (for example, SRT and WebVTT), many formats use hex codes and are extremely difficult to create from scratch. We recommend using a professional captioning service or a caption format converter for these.

Below, you’ll find a list of major video players, video platforms, and lecture capture systems and the caption format required. For most popular platforms, integrations are available to automate the caption post-back process so this step becomes trivial. How-to guides are available for most systems below.

Video Player/Platform/Lecture Capture SystemCaption FormatIntegration Available
Adobe CaptivateStamped Doc
Adobe Connect RecordingsEncoded Captions
Adobe EncoreSCC
Adobe FlashDFXP
Adobe Premiere ProSCC
Adobe PresenterTXT
DOC
Amazon DirectSMPTE-TT (RP-2052) with an .xml file extension
STL (Spruce Subtitle File) with a .stl file extension
EBU-TT with a .xml file extension
DFXP Full/TTML (Timed Text Markup Language) with a .dfxp file extension
iTT (iTunes Timed Text) files with a .iTT file extension
SCC (Scenarist Closed Caption) with a .scc file extension
SRT (SubRip text file format) with a .srt file extension
Apple CompressorSCC
Articulate StorylineStamped Doc
Avid Media ComposerAvid DS
EBU STL
Blackboard CollaborateEncoded Captions
BrightcoveCustom DFXPYes
CamtasiaSRT
CanvasSRT
WebVTT
CatturaSRTYes
Desire2LearnSRT
DVD Studio ProSCC
Echo360XMLYes
Echo360 Active Learning PlatformWebVTT
SRT
Yes
Ensemble VideoDFXPYes
FacebookSRT
Final Cut Pro 7 and XSCC
FlowplayerSRT
GoToMeeting & GoToWebinar RecordingsEncoded Captions
HTML5WebVTT
HuluCustom SMPTE-TT
iTunesSCC
JW PlayerWebVTT
KalturaSRTYes
Kaltura MediaSpaceSRT
DFXP
Yes
Knovio by KnowledgeVisionJSON
WebVTT
Yes
LectoraPPT XML
LimelightDFXPYes
Lync (Skype for Business)Encoded Captions
MediaPlatformWebVTTYes
MediasiteSRT
DFXP
SMI
Yes
Microsoft StreamWebVTT
NetflixCustom SMPTE-TT
OoyalaDFXPYes
PanoptoDFXPYes
PowerPointTTML
QuickTimeQT
SlideshareSRT
TegritySRTYes
thePlatformSCCSRTWebVTTYes
Video.jsWebVTT
VidYardSRT
WebVTT
Yes
VimeoWebVTTYes
ViostreamSRT
WebVTT
SCC
Yes
VLC PlayerSRT
VoiceThreadDFXP
SRT
SAMI
SCC
SBV
Yes
WebExEncoded Captions
Windows Media and SilverlightSRT
WistiaSRTYes
YouTubeSRT
SBV
WebVTT
TTML
DFXP
SCC
EBU-STL
Yes
YujaYes
ZoomEncoded Captions


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Read the free report: 2017 State of Captioning.

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