Wondering how to add captions to videos and elevate the student learning experience? Do it for free in five simple steps.
Are you one of the millions of educators creating powerful video content for your lectures or course materials? If so, you may be wondering how to add captions to videos to elevate the student learning experience.
Content delivery is more reliant than ever on video, so it is essential to understand how to caption them.
Don't worry — this guide has you covered whether you're a technical whiz or technically challenged. Adding captions to videos is easy and free. It can make your content more accessible to all students, and it helps get your videos in front of more learners. Best of all, it's simple and free.
*What Are Closed Captions in Videos?
It's important to know what function captions serve before you learn how to add captions to videos. Closed captions are a text version of the spoken elements in a video, including dialogue and sound effects.
*Why Should I Add Captions to My Lecture Videos?
Educators are increasingly using videos to supplement lectures and other course materials. Videos are an engaging and effective way to deliver content, but they can pose challenges for some students.
By learning how to add captions to videos, you're making your content delivery equitable for all learners and offering a chance for more students to benefit from your content.
- Adding captions to your videos makes them more accessible to deaf or hard-of-hearing students.
- Captions make following along easier for English language learners.
- Some students prefer to read rather than listen.
- Captions also make your videos more searchable. Search engines index the text in captions, making it easier for students to find them.
*How Do I Add Captions to My Lecture Video?
If you're worried about how much time it will take to caption your videos, don't be! There are free and easy-to-use captioning tools available to make the process quick and painless. Here’s everything you need to know about how to add subtitles to YouTube videos and Google Drive videos.
*Method #1: Add captions to videos using Google Drive. (Not recommended)
Google Drive is a relatively simple way to learn how to add captions to videos. With Google Drive, you can caption videos saved to your computer for free.
- Sign in to your Gmail account. (Don't have one yet? Make one for free).
- Open Google Drive.
- Drag the video file to your Google Drive.
- Wait for the file to upload and process (this takes 10-30 minutes depending on file size).
- Click on the video to watch it, the click “cc” at the bottom right of the video to activate subtitles.
Boom! You’ve officially learned how to add captions to videos and you're ready to share the video with students using a link to your drive video. Just be sure to change your file settings so that anyone with the link can view (Don’t know how? Click here).
*Method 2: Add captions to videos using YouTube. (Recommended)
YouTube is another efficient way to learn how to add captions to videos. You can add YouTube subtitles to your videos for free using their built-in captioning tool.
Here's how it works:
- Open YouTube and sign in using your Gmail account.
- Upload your video by clicking the "upload video" icon in the top right of your screen. Then, drag your video file to the drop zone or upload it from your computer.
- Add a title that explains what the video is all about, and select "made for kids" if your students are under age 18 (you must do this if your primary audience is children).
- Once your video is uploaded and processed, click the video to watch and select "cc" in the bottom right of your video.
- You can allow the YouTube automatic subtitles algorithm to generate captions for you, or you can enter your own. As much as YouTube tries to get it right, the algorithm sometimes gets it wrong. So be sure to go back and edit the captions as needed to ensure your message is delivered loud and clear.
Pro tip:Finally, save your students an extra step. To automatically display subtitles when students hit play, type "yt:cc=on"as a tag for your video.
Learning how to add captions to videos is much easier with YouTube, so it’s the recommended method for most educators.
*The Pros and Cons of YouTube vs. Google Drive
Google Drive is a convenient way to privately store your videos alongside your other course content.
However, there's one major downside.
After uploading several videos, you may notice that your drive space fills up quickly. Once it reaches 100%, you will no longer be able to upload new videos. You can buy more space or switch to using YouTube to caption your videos instead.
Unlike Google Drive, YouTube allows you to upload as many videos as you want for free without purchasing additional space. Although it’s easier to learn how to add captions to videos using YouTube, one downside is that it's a less private platform.
If you're not comfortable with your videos being public, you can always set them to "unlisted" so that only viewers with the link can access them.
Sometimes the YouTube closed captioning algorithm doesn't correctly translate speech to text if the sound is not clear. If the YouTube captions don't quite line up the way you want them to, you can easily edit the captions manually by clicking "manage videos," "subtitles," and then editing captions for individual snippets of time.
No matter which route you choose, adding captions to your videos is a great way to increase accessibility and engagement in your course. Not to mention, it's pretty simple to do on your own if you let YouTube’s subtitle algorithm do it for you. So next time you make a video for your students, make it more engaging with captions!
Do you have any questions or tips about how to caption videos? Share them in the comments below!
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