Make Money Online Captioning Videos

Some links in this post are affiliate links, I may earn a commission (at no additional cost to you) if you make a purchase. Read the disclosure for more information.

Have you checked out Sheeroh Kiarie’s post on Transcription? If you haven’t please check it out because captioning is a “blood relative” to transcription.

Transcription is a fun and cool way to make money online, but when audio or videos are transcribed, on most occasions the task is halfway done.

Transcription has a sister service – Captioning.
Captioning is taking already prepared transcripts and creating captions for videos.

Have you ever watched a Chinese action movie that has no captions (subtitles) ? Well, I have and it is not easy to depict what is going on unless you know Chinese.

Most contracts that involve captioning videos on most Freelancing Websites will often use the terms caption and subtitle – interchangably. On most occasions the terms generally mean the same.

What is Captioning?

Captioning and subtitling are both processes of displaying text on a television, video screen, or other visual display to provide additional or interpretive information. Source: Wikipedia

What is the difference between Captions and Subtitles ?

Captions display spoken dialogue as printed words on the television, computer or handheld gadget screen.

Unlike subtitles, captions are specifically designed for viewers who are deaf and hard of hearing.

Captions are carefully placed to identify speakers, on- and offscreen sound effects, music, and laughter.

Captions can be either closed or open. Closed captions can be turned on or off, whereas open captions are always visible.

Why are Captions Important?

i) They improve accessibility of videos to persons with hearing impairments

ii) The improve the reach of video content to people from non-English speaking countries.

67.5% of YouTube views come from non-English speaking countries

iii) Captions influence video ranking in Search Engines

iv) It is a requirement by the FCC (Federal Communications Commission) to caption videos.

What does Captioning involve?

For a video to have proper captions – the words and or actions e.g. slamming of a door need to match what is on screen.

This means captioning involves synchronizing video to captions.

 Commonly Used Caption Formats.

Many caption formats exist and this is determined by the end location of the caption file. That is, will the video being captioned be viewed online or offline (Television set).

The commonly used caption formats include SRT, DFXP (for Adobe Flash), TTML, SMPTE-TT, SCC (for web media, iTunes, iOS, and DVD), QuickText (for QuickTime), webVTT (for HTML5), CAP (Cheetah), 608/708, RealText (for Real Media), SBV (for YouTube), Adobe Encore, SMI or SAMI (for Windows Media), WMP.TXT, STL (for DVD Studio Pro), EBU.STL, Avid DS, Avid.AAF, Captionate, and many others.

Personally, I handle contracts that require SRT captions but I also work with webVTT captions that are used on Vimeo

Both captioning styles are similar with very minimal differences. See the examples below.

SRT Caption example

SRT captions need to a number before each caption for them to be correct:

00:00:14,000 –> 00:00:20,500
Lost Corners consists of charcoal paintings with pastel on paper and canvas.

When you are finished, save the file with a .srt extension, like

WebVTT example

The webVTT format is used in HTML5 videos and it allows for time notation of hours, minutes, seconds and milliseconds, respectively use like this:

00:00:00,000 where the 3 zeros at the end are the milliseconds. The caption file always begins with the word WEBVTT


00:00:14.000 –> 00:00:20.500
Lost Corners consists of charcoal paintings with pastel on paper and canvas.

When you are finished, save the file with a .vtt extension, like mycaption.vtt


Tools I use for  captioning.

i) Camtasia (My go to tool)

Camtasia Studio and Camtasia for Mac are software suites, created and published by TechSmith, for creating video tutorials and presentations directly via screencast, or via a direct recording plug-in to Microsoft PowerPoint. Source : Wikipedia

Captioning videos using camtasia is super easy and fast because camtasia automatically transcribes audio (although not very accurate) but it provides very good timestamps to append captions.

Captioning on camtasia

ii) Youtube

captioning using youtube

Youtube is more than a video hosting website. It provides awesome and powerful tools to authors and developers.

One tool is the Subtitles and Closed Caption tool that is very powerful. It is possible to convert speech to text using this tool although it is not very accurate.

Captioning is an easy and fun way to make money online and it doesn’t require one to know a lot. You only need to have the right tools for the job.

I believe every transcriptionist needs to learn how to caption videos to increase and improve their online income.

 Sample Job on Odesk that required a Transcriber to transcribe and caption videos.

Captioning Plus Transcription

With the world turning to online jobs by the minute, it breaks no bone to learn something new, like captioning videos especially for transcribers and video editors.

To make money online captioning videos you need to understand the captioning formats available, the tools available and the output media the captions are going to be viewed on.

If you are interested in learning how to caption videos, kindly Contact Me via Freelancer Insights

Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments or on Freelancer Insights

Get Free Email Updates!

Signup now and receive an email once I publish new content.

I agree to have my personal information transfered to MailChimp ( more information )

I will never give away, trade or sell your email address. You can unsubscribe at any time.

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.