The benefits of video subtitles
I recently revised a video project I did for Oakland Community College (OCC) Student LIFE, adding subtitles to a few pieces I created for ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990) compliance.
The videos are posted to OCC’s YouTube page and are shown to incoming students at academic orientations. The Student LIFE coordinators have indicated the pieces have become an important tool to educate new students about the school’s extracurricular activities.
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.
2. Subtitles are a learning aid: I like to hear a video's audio, as well as read the transcription. I find it’s easier to follow the content when both elements are provided – spoken and written content, in combination, is an effective way to impart knowledge. This is similar to a classroom setting when an instructor speaks to his/her slide presentation or that which he/she writes on a whiteboard.
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.
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I'm Eli Natinsky and I'm a communication specialist. This blog explores my work and professional interests. I also delve into other topics, including media, marketing, pop culture, and technology.