Choosing Between Open and Closed Captions
Open captions are burned into the video itself. Closed captions are uploaded to a video hosting service and displayed by the video player when the viewer turns on closed captioning.
Pros of Open Captions
- Give the editor control over how and where captions display.
- Can be added to videos on platforms that don't support closed captioning, such as Instagram.
- Always available without having to configure a media player's settings.
Cons of Open Captions
- Harder for the editor to add to a video.
- Can't be turned off by the viewer.
- May be hard to read on small or compressed videos.
- The user can't search for video content in the captioning text because it's embedded in the video.
Pros of Closed Captions
- Easiest to implement for the editor.
- May be customized by the viewer on some platforms.
- Can be turned on or off by the viewer.
- The user can search for video content in the captioning text.
Cons of Closed Captions
- Not offered by all platforms, such as Instagram. They are supported by Facebook, LinkedIn, X, Vimeo, and YouTube.
- Requires the user to understand how to turn captions on or off.
Writing Your Captions
The Captioning Key provides a set of general guidelines for how to write quality captions, developed by Described and Captioned Media Program (DCMP).