4 Reasons Why You Need Caption Encoding

March 13, 2018 BY 3MEDIAWEB
Updated: September 6, 2023

What is it?

Caption encoding is when captions are embedded into the video and presented as a single asset.

Typically, captions are added onto a video as a “sidecar file,” but this method is intended for online video where one can upload a caption file.

Caption encoding is intended for video that will be shown offline or on a platform that doesn’t support closed captioning.

Closed caption encoding vs. open caption encoding

When you order a file for encoding you can choose between closed captions or open captions.

With closed caption encoding, your video is accessible offline, and users can toggle the captions on or off using the “CC” button.

Closed caption encoding is useful for certain video players like Quicktime or for video streaming services like Netflix, where videos can be downloaded to watch offline.

With open caption encoding, captions are “burned” onto a video.

Unlike closed captions, users are unable to toggle the captions on or off. Open caption encoding is useful for media players like Windows Media Player, or for social media.

The benefits of caption encoding  Eliminate inconsistencies across video players Publishers can control the style of the captions Supported on all video players because they are part of the video Make it easier to create DVDs and other physical media

Below we explore the four cases where caption encoding is necessary.

"Am I required to caption my kiosks? YES.  Americans with Disabilities Act The ADA ensures equal opportunity for people with disabilities. In particular, Title II and Title III require public entities and places of public accommodations to provide full and equal enjoyment of goods, services and facilities. Section 508 Refresh Under the refresh, kiosks are covered as information and communication technology (ICT) and therefore, must be accessible.  State procurement and anti-discrimination laws Many state procurement and anti-discrimination laws support kiosk accessibility.

1. Kiosks

As self-service kiosks become more popular, it’s important to make sure they are accessible.

For many customer-facing companies, kiosks are a great way to improve the customer experience, save money, and increase efficiency.

Outside of business, kiosks are also great in museums and airports, as they can easily inform people on specific needs.

Kiosks have also become a popular technology in “smart cities” around the globe.

A lot of times though, kiosks incorporate video and audio, and if it isn’t captioned, it becomes inaccessible for people who are d/Deaf or hard of hearing.

Caption encoding is an easy way to overcome this barrier.

When choosing between open or closed caption encoding, it all depends on your kiosk’s capabilities. You can use closed captions if the kiosk has an easy way for the user to turn captions on or off. Otherwise, use open caption encoding.

Regardless of the types of captions, adding captions to your kiosks will help improve the overall user experience. Since kiosks are usually found in public places, the noise pollution around the kiosk could dilute the audio. Adding captions will allow users to stay engaged despite the surrounding sounds.

2. Offline sharing

People deliver their videos in many different ways, through many different channels.

Sometimes, this means that organizations deliver their videos offline.

Caption encoding is necessary when you need to distribute a video asset offline.

Whether you need closed caption encoding or open caption encoding, really depends on how the video will be used.

For example, if your video is going to be downloaded offline, like as part of a course or a streaming service, closed caption encoding is the best option as users can choose to turn the captions on or off.

But if your video will be constantly looping in a public place, like at a hotel or museum, open captions may be more useful. For example, sometimes hotels have an intro message on the TV that is constantly looping, or museums feature films within their exhibits that need to be accessible for the mass population. Having these videos open captioned will ensure that you won’t have to worry about turning on the captions, or having an inaccessible version playing in public.

3. Social Media

Facts inside an instagram template. WHY YOU SHOULD BE CAPTIONING ON SOCIAL  There are 2.34 million people on social media around the world. from statista.  Captions improve brand recall, verbal memory, and behavioral intent.  from  Journal of Academy of Marketing  80% more people are more likely to watch an entire video when captions are available. from PlYmedia.  Adding captions to Facebook videos increased view time by 12%. From Facebook

Thanks to social media, people are now constantly consuming video.

On Instagram alone, more than 95 million photos and videos are shared a day. Furthermore, more than 300 million users use Instagram’s “stories” feature daily.

On Snapchat, around 10 billion videos are watched a day.

82% of Twitter users watch video content on Twitter.

And on Facebook, over 500 million people are watching video daily.

These stats are mind-boggling, but what’s even more shocking is that the majority of this video isn’t being captioned.

While Facebook allows you to add captions to videos, platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter don’t have an easy way to add captions as a sidecar file.

So, this is where open caption encoding is key.

In order to have captioned videos on social media, you need to have the captions already burned into the video, since most social media platforms don’t give users the option to turn the captions on or off.

4. When you can’t find the CC button

man in a suit looking through a pair of binoculars

As universally recognizable as the caption button is, believe it or not, on some video players, it’s not always easy to find it.

Instead of making your viewers go on an expedition to turn the captions on, why not try open caption encoding?

After all, you always want to optimize the user experience.

But finding the caption button isn’t just a user problem. In some circumstances, it can be unclear how to add captions to your video. Or, in other cases, your video player simply doesn’t support captions.

In these instances, open caption encoding makes it infinitely easier to ensure your videos are always captioned, no excuses.

How to order caption encoding

Once your file has been transcribed by 3Play Media, you can order caption encoding for any file with a video track.

Always proofread your transcript before ordering caption encoding. Edits made after will not propogate.

Screenshot of account system. ordering caption encoding, which can be found under order.

To order caption encoding, select the file you want to encode. Under Order, select Caption Encoding.

Typical turnaround is 8 hours, but this can vary depending on the duration of the content, and the number of files requested.


Click below to get started with captioning!


Get started with captioning on a keyboard

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