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Women Watching Closed Caption On Television

What's Open Caption vs Closed Caption?

If you’re a content creator, there’s no doubt you’ve recognized the importance of adding captions to videos. As part of the post video editing process, adding captions is essential to reach the maximum number of people across various social media and video platforms like TikTok, Instagram, and YouTube. There’s more to captions than just the words on the screen, though. Content creators need to know the differences between open vs closed caption text for videos to edit effectively for what they want to achieve.

So…what’s open caption vs closed caption, you ask? Let’s take a look at the differences between them, why they’re useful, and the easiest way to add them to your videos!

What Are Captions?

Captions are text additions to videos that explain what is going on, whether it’s dialogue, sounds, or other important information. The text is synchronized to the audio of the video to play at the correct time and allows users to experience the video to its full extent even without sound.

Why Use Captions?

It’s important to add captions because a staggering average of 70% of users watch videos online without sound. That’s a huge percentage! This number varies by platform, with statistics pointing to almost 85% of Facebook videos being viewed without sound. 

Statistics also show that video captions increase the rate of impressions on TikTok by upwards of 55%. If you’re not captioning your videos, you’re missing out on reaching a huge potential audience that will continue scrolling right past when they can’t follow along with captioning. 

Another major benefit of adding captions to video is for the deaf/hard of hearing. According to the World Health Organization, over 1.5 billion people worldwide are living with hearing loss, with that number expected to rise to over 2.5 billion by the year 2030. Adding captions is a way creators can offer inclusive content for the ever-growing global population of deaf/hard of hearing persons.

What’s the Difference Between Open Caption vs Closed Caption?

Frequently lumped together and simply called “captions”, there’s a difference between open captions vs closed captions in videos. Content creators should be aware of these differences and which platforms allow control over which type.

Closed Captioning in Videos 

Closed captioning in videos is the most common type of captioning you likely come across on a daily basis. These are the types of captions you can turn on and off while viewing. Giving control to the viewer, closed captions are available natively on platforms like YouTube and Facebook. These auto-generated captions may contain errors, especially if the creator is a fast talker.

Most social media platforms don’t allow you to create your own closed captions, with the exception being YouTube and (to an extent) editing them on Instagram. YouTube permits creators to upload SRT files for closed captioning on their platform, and Instagram allows you to edit the auto-generated closed captions on Stories and Reels, though it’s not very user-friendly.

Open Captions for Videos

Open captions are permanently burned into the video, without the viewer’s ability to turn them on or off at will. These are most commonly used by content creators for captioning social media videos for platforms like Instagram and TikTok. You’ve also seen examples of open captioning on tv and in movies where someone may be speaking another language and the translation automatically appears on the screen as part of the show or film itself.

For content creators adding open captions to videos, it’s highly recommended to create SRT files for closed caption options at the same time. This lets you make any necessary edits down the road and lets you add captions to videos however you’d like on other platforms like YouTube.

Choosing Open Caption vs Closed Caption for Videos

In the choice between open caption vs closed caption for videos, which should you choose as a content creator? There are pros and cons to each type depending on the platform.

For example, videos for platforms like Instagram and TikTok can benefit from adding open captions. This gives you control over the captions for your videos without relying on the often subpar capabilities of native platform editing tools and closed captioning capabilities alone. Open captions give you the competitive advantage here, letting your stories, reels, and videos stand out even if a user’s sound is off.

As an overwhelmingly large number of viewers watch video without sound, adding open captions to your videos for this platform is more likely to engage them quickly and keep them from scrolling past your content. It’s also more inclusive for those with hearing impairments, making your brand more accessible to everyone.

YouTube is the largest platform that allows video content creators to upload their own SRT files to maintain control over closed captioning. This means that there’s really no one-size-fits-all approach when choosing open caption vs closed caption. Go for both with an app that allows you to export video with open captioning as well as create SRT files for uploading where applicable (like YouTube).  

Now that you understand the difference between open caption vs closed caption for videos, using the right tools to add them is essential. A video caption app like MixCaptions gives content creators more control with the ability to add, edit, and style open captions for videos exactly how you want. You can then export the video with open captions for social media videos and create an SRT file for closed caption uploading on YouTube, as well. 

Editing and adding captions to your videos has never been easier!

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