Closed captions are the visible text version of the spoken words that accompany videos or movies. Similar to subtitles, they primarily allow the deaf and hard of hearing to be able to enjoy watching movies or videos. However, they do differ from subtitles in the following way:
- Subtitles show the spoken words in a video or movie assuming that the audience can also hear the audio;
- Closed captions provide more information on the basis that the audience cannot hear the audio, ie describing background noises, sound effects, music, tone of voice etc.
Closed captions are, in effect, a file running alongside the audio and synced against a timestamp. This allows the audience, therefore, to either turn on or turn off the closed captioning. (Open captions are burned into the video/movie files and therefore remain visible at all times).
As well as being a legal requirement for all media broadcast on television in the UK, most online video services, eg YouTube, allow captions to be displayed. It is also a legal requirement for online on-demand content. Although YouTube has an inbuilt automatically-generated caption service, there has been widespread criticism around the voice recognition being far too inaccurate.
To improve accessibility to your media files, contact us to discuss our closed captioning service.