Some background on the assignment: I produced, directed, and edited two videos in 2014 – one four minutes, the other
10 minutes – and the pieces provide an overview of the college's various student organizations. This includes student government, an academic honor society, and a writer's club. As one of the subjects I interviewed explains in the video, “Student LIFE is basically everything outside of the classroom.”
Watch "What is Student LIFE?"
As I began work on the Student LIFE subtitles, I found adding transcription enhanced the existing material. Here are three ways this element adds to my viewing experience:
1. Subtitles decide viewing habits: I watch several videos each week on Facebook, as do many others – Adweek reports users view more than 100 million hours of video every day. I’ve noticed subtitles are now more common in the pieces posted to the site. I follow several media/news sources, including Business Insider, CNN, and Mashable. Many of the subtitled videos these outlets post are short documentary style pieces similar to those I created for Student LIFE.
When I scroll through my Facebook news feed, videos will automatically play without sound. If the video doesn’t have subtitles, I’ll usually roll past it unless the subject matter is appealing. If the video has subtitles, however, I’ll usually pause for a moment and read the text at the bottom of the screen. I’ll stop watching and continue scrolling if I'm not interested in learning more, but I’ll turn up the sound and watch the entire segment if the piece strikes me.
A subtitled video from my Facebook newsfeed.
3. Subtitles substitute for sound: there are times when I don’t have earbuds or headphones with me, so captions allow me to follow a video silently. This is especially helpful if I’m watching the video at a public place like a coffee shop and bringing up the sound would disturb others.
In summary, I highly recommend subtitles be added to your videos. Not only does text enhance a viewer's understanding of the material, but it can help ensure your video is seen and experienced.
Also, I want thank OCC Student LIFE for trusting me to tell their story. I enjoyed building relationships with the students and staff, and I was inspired by their commitment to make Student LIFE the best it could be.