How Do I Add Captions to My Videos?

January 12, 2017 BY LILY BOND
Updated: February 23, 2021

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 System Caption Format Integration Available
Adobe Captivate Stamped Doc
Adobe Connect Recordings Encoded Captions
Adobe Encore SCC
Adobe Flash DFXP
Adobe Premiere Pro SCC
Adobe Presenter TXT
Amazon Direct SMPTE-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 Compressor SCC
Articulate Storyline Stamped Doc
Avid Media Composer Avid DS
Blackboard Collaborate Encoded Captions
Brightcove Custom DFXP Yes
Camtasia SRT
Canvas SRT
Cattura SRT Yes
Desire2Learn SRT
DVD Studio Pro SCC
Echo360 XML Yes
Echo360 Active Learning Platform WebVTT
Ensemble Video DFXP Yes
Facebook SRT Yes
Final Cut Pro 7 and X SCC
Flowplayer SRT Yes
GoToMeeting & GoToWebinar Recordings Encoded Captions
Hulu Custom SMPTE-TT
iTunes SCC
JW Player WebVTT Yes
Kaltura SRT Yes
Kaltura MediaSpace SRT
Knovio by KnowledgeVision JSON
Lectora PPT XML
Limelight DFXP Yes
Lync (Skype for Business) Encoded Captions
MediaPlatform WebVTT Yes
Mediasite SRT
Microsoft Stream WebVTT
Netflix Custom SMPTE-TT
Ooyala DFXP Yes
Panopto DFXP Yes
PowerPoint TTML
QuickTime QT
Slideshare SRT
Tegrity SRT Yes
thePlatform SCCSRTWebVTT Yes
Video.js WebVTT
VidYard SRT
Vimeo WebVTT Yes
Viostream SRT
VLC Player SRT
VoiceThread DFXP
WebEx Encoded Captions
Windows Media and Silverlight SRT
Wistia SRT Yes
YouTube SRT
Yuja Yes
Zoom Encoded Captions

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