Closed Captioning for User-Generated Video (via ProfHacker)

[Changed title, but not URL, to reflect distinction between subtitles and closed-captioning.]

Yesterday, ProfHacker posted a blog entry about how to produce closed-captioning for your videos using the site Universal Subtitles. As ProfHacker points out, when you have created the subtitles, they exist only at the Universal Subtitles web site; but, you can download the subtitles as a file and upload that file to your video on YouTube. ProfHacker shows the process, step by step.

Embedded below is my first effort at closed captioning. The main glitch is that my videos often already have subtitles of varying kinds, because they are often language-learning videos. And, you cannot (I think) change where the closed-captioning sits: it is always at the bottom of the screen. Now, if your already-existing subtitles are YouTube “annotations,” you can always go into YouTube and move them around. But, if your subtitles were created with the video itself (as in iMovie or whatever), then you would have to actually go back and re-edit the video and upload the revised version (which would have a new URL on YouTube).

The take-away on this for me is that, when I produce subtitles in my videos (that is, subtitles that are not closed-captioning), I will want to keep them at the top or sides of the screen, so that there is room reserved at the bottom for closed-captioning. As you can imagine, the screen “real estate” will really be filling in at that point.

This is my video on how to sing Happy Birthday in Hebrew. In the few places where my subtitles and my closed-captioning collide, I have not tried to fix it (yet). Obviously, you will need to click the “cc” (closed captioning) button at the bottom of the video screen.

What experience do you have with closed captioning, whether needing it or producing it? What issues should I know about as I continue to closed-caption my videos?

[Subtitles for User-Generated Video was written by G. Brooke Lester for and was originally posted on 2011/03/11. Except as noted, it is © 2011 G. Brooke Lester and licensed for re-use only under CC BY-NC-ND 3.0.]

3 Responses

  1. Here’s my favorite:

    I have israeli friends here in Wisconsin who might be willing to help with closed captions of *the Hebrew” with and without vowels. I am against providing English subtitles without first providing Hebrew subtitles. Sorry, I’m a purist.

    On the other hand, one could make a case for using a more adult version of the song with young adults. For example:

    Here are the words to put in closed captions:

    זה היום לחלום
    נתגנב ביחד
    It’s a Celebration
    זה בא לי פעם בשנה.

    Happy Birthday to You
    חלומות יתגשמו
    אם נחגוג ונרקוד עד הבוקר
    Happy Birthday to You
    שהשנים יעברו
    בכיף בשמחה ובאושר.

    ילדים מזדקנים
    עוד שנה עוברת
    It’s a Celebration
    זה בא לי פעם בשנה.

    ממסיבה למסיבה
    It’s my Party
    לה לי דלה
    נה נה נה נה
    Everybody Singing
    Everybody Movin

    • Awesome! I’ve replied there.

      I *think* that, at Universal Subtitles, you can create captioning for a video not your own, and preserve a link to it at that site. Imma try to find a moment soon to attempt that with the Eden vid using your subtitles.

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