How to Add Captions & Subtitles to IGTV Videos
Video has become one of the main ways we consume content. Six out of ten people would rather watch online videos than television. And they’re not just saying that 78% of people watch online videos every week, and 55% view them daily.
Videos are more engaging than text or even photos. Think about it: text is small on your phone, and it can feel overwhelming to see big chunks of words. How often have you scrolled past a long Instagram caption? Videos, on the other hand, can be energetic, colorful, and fun, especially when you pair eye-catching visuals with interesting audio.
How to add subtitles & closed captions to IGTV
Some social media platforms, like YouTube, LinkedIn, and Facebook, have auto-captioning. IGTV, like Instagram, isn’t there yet.
It also, unfortunately, doesn’t have a closed captioning feature for video. In other words, you can’t upload a text file with subtitles (sometimes called a sidecar file) alongside your video to caption it.
Instead, you have to use open captions (a.k.a. burnt-in or encoded captions), where the subtitles are in the video you upload.
Here are three easy steps to getting your video captioned with open captions and ready to upload to IGTV:
- Order a professional caption file for your IGTV video
- Add the captions to your video
- Post your IGTV video on Instagram
Let’s go through each step in more detail below.
1. Order a professional caption file for your IGTV video
The first step is to use a closed captioning service to get your video file captioned.
Go to https://www.rev.com/caption and click “Get Started” to upload your video file. If your video is already up on IGTV without captions, you can even upload the URL to your IGTV video by clicking “Paste URL.”
Rev uses professional human captioners and guarantees 99% accuracy on every file. Usually your file will be completed within 1 day.
Pro tip: if you’re uploading a video file, you’ll want to make sure that your video is between 15 seconds and 10 minutes long (up to 60 minutes if you’re a verified account). Those are IGTV’s requirements for videos.
2. Add the caption file to your video
When your caption file is finished, you should have a text file of your video transcript/captions, ideally as a .srt file. A .srt file will have timestamps that sync the captions to your video.
Now you have a few options for adding those captions into your video. Here are three tools we recommend for open-captioning:
Pro tip: you can also order foreign language subtitles from Rev. We will translate your video and send you a subtitle file in an .srt format. This is a great way to expand your reach globally.
3. Post your IGTV video on Instagram
After you add your caption or subtitle file to your video, you’re ready to post your newly-captioned video to IGTV! You can post from Instagram’s app, the IGTV app, or Instagram.com on your browser.
If you’re posting from the Instagram app, click on the IGTV icon (a little TV with a lightning bolt lying on its side) on the top right of the feed. View your channel by clicking on your profile photo to the right of “Search IGTV”. Then click +, choose your freshly-minted video, and hit next. Add a title and description, and then click Post. You’re done!
Posting from the IGTV app is the exact same, except you don’t have to click on the IGTV icon–just click on your profile photo and go from there.
If you’re posting from Instagram.com, go to your profile and click on IGTV. From there, upload a video, add a title and description, and post!
Why you should add captions & subtitles to video content
Captions and subtitles for video–especially social, long-form video like Instagram TV (IGTV)–are important for two reasons: engagement and accessibility.
First, engagement. Instagram, like many other social media platforms, auto-plays videos without sound. They built feeds this way after getting feedback from users–videos auto-playing with sound was jarring. Someone might also be in a setting like a subway train without headphones, where they want to scroll through social media silently.
Most videos are incomprehensible without some type of description, like audio or captions. This means that without captions or subtitles, a big chunk of your viewer audience doesn’t get your jokes, doesn’t hear how great your product is, or doesn’t learn from your how-to.
The second reason to caption and subtitle your videos is accessibility. Many of the people who use captions on social media aren’t hearing impaired, but it’s also important to consider the portion of your viewers that are deaf or hard of hearing. Captions can also be useful for people whose first language is different than the language in your video.
Adding closed-captioning to your IGTV videos can be painless when you know the right steps and the right tools to use. The pros make it well worth it to do since you’ll reach a broader audience, your IGTV video will be more engaging, and every viewer of your video will take away more of it.