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How to Create Closed Captions and Subtitles for Pre-Recorded Television Programs

How to Create Closed Captions and Subtitles for Pre-Recorded Television Programs

RevBlogCaptionsHow to Create Closed Captions and Subtitles for Pre-Recorded Television Programs

The challenges faced by television or movie producers and their teams are endless. For the project to be viewed by the public as an achievement, everything has to go right. Ideally, things will fall into place, but the greatest of professionals know that nothing must be left up to chance. 

One of the main tenets of any production is ensuring that the broadest possible audience can access it. With more and more people depending on closed captioning services to enjoy media and communications, it’s vital that producers avoid cutting corners.

In this post, we will talk about the inherent difference between captioning a live television show versus a pre-recorded program or movie. We will also look at the many benefits of adding captions, as well as what the industry standards are. Finally, we’ll show you how to choose a reliable captions and subtitles provider each time. 

What are some of the different challenges of closed captioning live TV captioning as opposed to pre-recorded TV shows?

To begin talking about the value of closed captions, we need to first speak about the importance of videos. The marketing trends are clear. In 2020, international audiences have watched more video content than ever before. 

Hundreds of millions of hours of video are watched on Youtube every day. Videos are also the preferred means of communication on social media platforms. A recent study claims that by 2021 people will spend about 100 minutes each day watching videos. By 2022, this type of content could account for more than 80% of all online media. 

If you’re not investing in video and in promoting it to the widest possible audience, it’s likely that you are missing out. Advertisers are well aware of these trends. With audiences growing consistently, there’s a need to produce more content. This is why online video is the quickest-growing channel in terms of advertising expenditure.

Live broadcast captioning versus pre-recorded captioning

Video has always been very popular, of course. But the way in which it is enjoyed has changed. For example, television is a medium that is still very prominent, reaching 90% of adults in the U.S. each week. Once, live broadcasts were television stations’ bread and butter. Now, because of technological improvements and the growth of potential audiences through online distribution, pre-recorded productions are in high demand.  

Closed captions refer to the transcription of the audio used in live or pre-recorded media. Captions and subtitles, terms sometimes used interchangeably, are different. The captions are the text representation of speech. Subtitles are intended for audience members who have deafness and hearing loss. Foreign subtitles are also intended for those who do not understand the language being spoken. 

Closed captions, as opposed to open captioning, can be turned on and off by those using the service. Implementation of closed captioning can significantly broaden the distribution of video content and allows more people to benefit from watching it. 

Live captioning presents great challenges for the captioning and subtitles provider because of the speed at which accurate text must be provided. Some examples of such cases in which captioning is required include sporting events, live debates, talk shows, or award ceremonies. These live streams regularly include more than one commentator and jargon specific to the type of event being broadcast. 

Pre-recorded captioning is different, albeit no less challenging. Here, the content is produced before being aired on television. Usually, it includes scripted performances such as sitcoms, or commercials. Naturally, accurate captioning allows for the script’s message to reach audiences that may not be able to pick up the information through sound alone. 

For who are closed captions created?

Closed captioning can be an essential aid to many types of audiences. Live or pre-recorded video events can positively affect the reach of their productions, regardless of whether these were created for television, Youtube, social media,, etc. 

People who are deaf or hard of hearing depend on closed captioning the most. This service eases access to their favorite forms of media. The severity of hearing loss issues differs from one person to another. This is why providing them with reliable and accurate captions or subtitle features is vital. 

With that being said, closed captions can benefit everyone. Many of those who can hear also make use of this support. People tend to use it when the sound is muted or when they are in a noisy environment, or simply to better comprehend what is being spoken. 

What’s the advantage of choosing a closed captioning and subtitle provider for your pre-recorded content before it goes on-air?

More than ever before, especially given the prevalence of streaming services and sites like Youtube, viewers can choose to watch a show at the time that best suits them. Television has become much more accessible. 

Recognizing this fact, the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) has passed regulations that require that specific television programs include closed captioning. This is an acknowledgment that transcription services provide massive relief to anyone suffering from any form of hearing impairment. 

Besides the requirement to include captions, the FCC also demands that these be of high quality and accurately provide the original message captured in the sound clips. Television programs are usually expected to include this feature.

On the other hand, for streaming services and other online media, using captions is not a prerequisite. However, these companies are also learning the benefits of implementing text transcription. Beyond the moral implications, captioning shows simply opens them up to a broader viewership base. 

Services such as make adding subtitles to your show or content a seamless process. Using transcription services can prove to be a useful growth hack. For one thing, the text corresponding to the content can act as a great SEO (search engine optimization) tool. Adding subtitles will help the video pop up in search engines, based on the keywords being searched that are already included in the text. Furthermore, it can help expand the program’s reach, targeting people who read captions and subtitles. For example, Spanish subtitles or English subtitles will prove of great use for those looking to convert speeches to their maiden tongue, or who are trying to learn a new language.

How to choose a closed captioning provider for your shows and movies

As we already mentioned, closed captioning can significantly enhance the potential of a live show or a pre-recorded event. Within taped programs, the captions are added in the post-production process. The goal is to synchronize the text with what is being spoken and to provide viewers with a smooth experience. 

When working with top-tier captioning services, producers of pre-recorded shows can integrate the transcript of the audio easily into the final product. Companies should base their choice to work with a captions provider on several factors. The accuracy of the transcript, the delivery speed, and the pricing are all elements to consider when making this kind of decision. In an endeavor to lower costs for broadcasts, it is important to deliver captions for file-based television in a fashion that serves the general workflow. 

What are the price, turnaround time, and accuracy expectations when choosing captioning services?

Adding closed captions to your pre-recorded program has many benefits. Let’s review. For one thing, producers and content creators can easily repurpose broadcast transcriptions. Additionally, this type of content can be used for online platforms while also adding to the video’s SEO potential. Most importantly, the captions can help broaden the viewership of the presentation. 

Choosing the ideal provider for these kinds of closed captioning services means balancing expectations in regards to the pricing, the turnaround time, the accuracy of the transcription, etc. Ideally, this translates into receiving a transcript promptly, in an easy to use format, without any mistakes, at a reasonable price. 

A service like checks all those boxes. The company works with tried and tested industry professionals. They, in turn, are provided with Rev’s cutting edge software that allows for the transcript turnaround time to be around 12 hours. The process of uploading videos and downloading the SRT files containing the transcript is easy and intuitive. 

Using means that the captions become one less thing to worry about during the post-production process. Most other providers advertise their positive traits but overlook the negative ones. Low quality of the transcription, days of waiting around for the files, and difficult to use formats are some of the risks you face when using a lesser caption and subtitles provider. 

What are some of the closed captioning standards, the delivery methods, and what type of files are required?

The trouble with numerous online platforms is, still, that their videos are not accessible to everyone. These market requirements are transforming transcription services into something that all video content producers need to consider. 

As previously discussed, most television programs are required to include closed captions. In February of 2014, the FCC adopted standards defining the components necessary for high quality closed captions on television.

This protocol requires that captions match the words that are being spoken in the audio. Inaccuracies must not exceed 1%. Imprecise transcripts can significantly hurt a brand. knows this and offers, at least, 99% accuracy on all its closed caption documents. 

Captions must also synchronize with the words being spoken in the video and presented at a readable speed of 3 to 7 seconds. Furthermore, the transcript must be complete, including all that is said during the video, and should not block the visual content. 

Besides adhering to these closed captioning guidelines, also knows how important it is to get these documents to you as quickly and with as little hassle as possible. This is why the service usually can provide you with the transcript in less than 12 hours. When submitting a longer video file (more than 30 minutes), work on the transcript is divided between several employees to keep the turnaround time to a minimum. 

Is closed captioning automated? does include automatic live captions for video conferencing software such as Zoom. For this it uses a state of the art speech recognition AI. However, the majority of the services delivered by the site are the work of highly skilled professionals and advertised adequately. also allows for multiple video formats (MP3, WMV, AIF, etc.) to be easily uploaded onto the site. The service can then provide a transcription file in a variety of formats. The difficulty of the process is thus reduced to a minimum. 


For content creators, it has never been more important to create videos. Pre-recorded television programs, as well as online videos, can reach audiences like never before. However, to achieve outstanding results, the content must be made accessible to all potential viewers. 

Closed captions offer great visual aid to numerous types of viewers. Working with a highly-professional captions and subtitles provider ensures that your message is delivered accurately, helping boost the producers’ reputation and expanding viewership numbers all the time.

Affordable, fast transcription. 100% Guaranteed.