What is the difference between closed captions and open captions

Closed captions

If you create video, you will know that captions are important for a variety of accessibility reasons. And, yes, there is a difference between closed captions and open captions. We explain below, but first…

What are captions?

Captions are the words (and sounds) you sometimes see scrolling along the bottom of a video, film, or social media post.  Essentially, captions provide a text version of all the audio content from a video. Captions include all the spoken words and also any audible sounds in the video like [car horn], [music], or [laughter]. Lastly, captions will sometimes include the name of the person speaking.

What is the difference between closed captions and open captions?

The difference between closed captions and open captions is actually quite simple:

Close captions: can be turned off by the user

Open captions: cannot be turned off by the user

Close captions are the most common method across a wide variety of media. This is because the user has the ability to control whether the captions are displayed. Most media players and social media platforms support closed captioning. Usually this is indicated by a small CC symbol at the bottom of the video. Simply click this icon and captions will be displayed.

Alternatively, open captions (also known as “burned-in subtitles” are hard-coded into your video. There is no way to turn them off. Open captions are great when you want your captions to look the same no matter what format you video is being played. Open captions also allow the creator to have full control over how the captions are displayed. Specifications like font color, font style, font size, background color, and positioning are all at the video creators discretion. 

As always it’s best to make your content accessible following guidelines from the Web Content Accessibility Standards.

How to get captions for videos?

If you are looking for the best caption creator online, then you should consider Sonix. Sonix’s subtitle creator brings together automated transcription, automated translation, and automated subtitles for the world’s most powerful caption and subtitle creator.

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