How Closed Captions Are Different from Open Captions?

How Closed Captions Are Different from Open Captions?

Closed captions vs open captions

Movies, short films, web series, video games, YouTube videos, all use captions. The chances are high that you have seen captions on the above-mentioned types of videos. The trend of adding captions is increasing gradually and is becoming a norm.

But, one thing that you might not know is that there are two different types of captions. One is open captions and the other is closed captions. However, the differences are not very clear. Another question that needs to be answered is when to use them respectively.

Before moving into that, let’s have a look at the basics.

What are Captions?

Captions are the text description of the dialogues of a video, displayed on the screen. Captions also cover the description of the relevant background sounds and identify different speakers. The captions are displayed on the screen along with the video images, to make it easy for viewers to access the visuals of the video while reading the captions. The viewers don’t need to depend upon the video sound solely now.

Most of the individuals assume that captions are for deaf and hard of hearing. But there are more benefits of captions making them accessible to them. Good quality captioning services also focus on sound effects and music while writing the captions. This gives an extra added experience and a better understanding of the context while watching a video.

What are Open Captions?

In open captioning services, the captions produced are the permanent ones. They are included in the videos as a permanent feature. This means you can’t switch them off. They are also called as burned-in, baked, burnt or hard-coded captions.

85% of the videos watched on Facebook are without sound and thus video creators take advantage of the open captions, as it can prevent the viewers from scrolling down if the open captions are displayed immediately.

Benefits of Open Captions

  • Open captions are always on, which solves the issue for many individuals such as – those suffering from arthritis, as they find it hard to press buttons, for individuals who find it difficult to switch on captions because of changing technologies, etc.
  • Open captions make things easy for the video creator since he/she won’t be required to handle separate video and captions files.
  • No decoders are required for the open captions, as the captions are burnt into the video directly. Thus, open captions are more universal than closed captions.
  • The video publishers have the option of choosing font size and style for the captions. Thus, they can make sure that the captions are clearly visible.

Disadvantages of Open Captions

  • Because they are a permanent feature of the video, after being added. You can’t turn them off when you don’t need them.
  • Another con of open captions is that they are directly burnt into the video, so they are tied with the quality of the video. If a video is blurred, the captions are also going to be like that.

When to Use Open Captions?

The type of video decides whether to use open captions or closed captions.

  • For a video that is especially for the disabled population, open captions are a must.
  • If you know that your video is going to be played in a noisy background, open captions are a good choice.
  • Movies need open captions, as they are for individuals all around the planet.
  • GIF and memes files need open captions, as you won’t be able to understand anything without captions.

What are Closed Captions?

Closed captions are on-screen text descriptions, also displayed as CC, as a separate track. Because these are not directly burnt into the videos and are separate from the videos, it gives you the option to switch them on or off.

Benefits of Closed Captions

  • One of the biggest benefits offered by the closed captioning services is that you can switch the closed captions on and off.
  • The next benefit is for video publishers. Because these captions are separate from the video, it is easy for the video publishers to edit the captions and upload the file again.
  • There are various file formats for closed captioning files, which gives more flexibility in terms of choosing different media players.

Disadvantages of Closed Captions

  • Closed captions need decoders to make them displayed. This is possible only if the media player supports that feature.
  • For video games and TV shows, you need to install the decoders.
  • Another problem that viewers face is that they are dependent upon the video publisher to make sure that the captions are clearly visible and readable. The font color, size, background color, etc. affects the caption readability.
  • ●        The viewers are responsible for turning the captions on or off. But there are many individuals don’t know how to do that.

When to Use Closed Captions?

All the popular websites such as – Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, and streaming services such as – Amazon Prime, Netflix, etc. prefer closed captions.

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