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Digital Media Lab

This guide is to help you learn how to create digital media projects

Why Caption?

Captions

Captions are an important part of creating a video. You will often have viewers who either have hearing issues or who don't have access to speakers or headphones. Captions allow you to share your content in a variety of circumstances. 

Captions are text that appears on-screen as words are spoken. Captions should reflect exactly what is spoken and should be timed to coincide with the person speaking. Captions should also be made available through accessible means, when possible. An example would be including a separate text-based caption file (for example, an .srt file) instead of simply creating text overlays within the video. A caption file can be useful in multiple use cases, such as when someone accessing your video has vision and hearing issues. For example, a caption enables the user to enlarge the text size or change the font color. 

Transcript

A transcript is a copy of the spoken content of a video in paragraph form but is not necessarily a verbatim account of what is spoken. Transcripts can accompany a video but are not displayed on the screen with the video. A transcript may summarize the spoken information or include information about visual imagery or any audio that is not spoken (such as sounds and music). Transcripts may also explain who is talking when there are multiple speakers. 

Note: YouTube uses the term 'transcript' somewhat interchangeably with captions, with the main difference being that the transcript is in paragraph form. 

Transcript or Caption?

Optimally, you should include both captions and transcripts for your videos. Including both with your video will provide the most information about what you are presenting and impart the most meaning to your audience. This will be beneficial to anyone in your audience with hearing issues but is also helpful to people who may problems streaming your video. Instead, they can download your captions and transcript. 

At minimum, you should include captions with your video. CSU campuses require that videos include captions. 

Resources to Learn More About Captioning

Captioning with Camtasia

Camtasia is available on campus computers. When possible, write a script for your narration so that you have text that can be copied and pasted. 

Captioning with YouTube

YouTube makes it easy for anyone to view your captions from any device. Viewers can also download your captions as a transcript. 

Upload your caption text and let YouTube set the timings.