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Open caption subtitling

Open caption subtitling

Open caption subtitling is a process that involves displaying text in sync with the video. The text can be fully integrated into the video or be superimposed in real-time as it is being encoded. Open captions are synchronized with the video and cannot be turned off, but they do not degrade video quality because the subtitles are part of the original stream.

 

Open caption subtitles are visually more attractive than closed ones, but they are also not practical and financially viable. First, creating such subtitles costs more. Second, if errors are detected, corrections must be made to the entire video file. For example, if errors have been detected in a published video that already has a set number of views, the video should be deleted, it should be corrected and it should be republished.

Open subtitles are embedded or "burned" into the video material in image format, so they are not accessible: they cannot be turned on and off, nor can they be read by screen readers; they do not adjust to the screen size of the device.
Open subtitles are embedded or "burned" into the video material in image format, so they are not accessible: they cannot be turned on and off, nor can they be read by screen readers; they do not adjust to the screen size of the device.

Suggestions from the Bureau of Internet Accessibility if you use open caption subtitling

When using burned-in captions, make sure to follow the best practices

If you’re posting content on your own website, find a media player with strong accessibility features. Make sure that the player supports closed captions, and provide your users with as many caption options as possible to accommodate their preferences.

However, if you’re posting multimedia on social media platforms, you might not have the option to submit a caption file. When that’s the case, burned-in captions are generally preferable to having no captions at all. 

Tips to keep in mind when using open caption subtitles: 

  • Choose an easy-to-read font.
  • Make sure your captions don’t obscure important visual information.
  • Include descriptions of important sound effects and musical cues. 
  • In addition to captions, provide a transcript in your video’s description. You can also post your transcript as a comment or provide a clearly labeled link.
  • Make sure that your captions have a high color contrast ratio relative to the video’s background. This helps to accommodate users with low vision and ensures that your text is readable.