How to Add Open Captions to a Video

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When is it useful to add open captions to videos? Maybe you want to produce the next viral social media ad. Perhaps you’ve produced an indie film for a foreign film festival. Using open captions can be the difference in getting your message across to your intended audience. This article will explain why you would want to add hard-coded captions to your project, and an incredibly easy way to it. So let’s take a look!

What are open captions?

Many TV shows and movies these days give you the option to display captions. When the user has control over whether to watch videos with text on the screen, we call the text “closed captions.” To include closed captions, you must create a secondary file, or a “sidecar file”. This specific file for adding subtitles has to be one of several formats.

The main difference between closed and open captions is that open captions can’t be turned off. With open captions, your viewer does not have control over whether they see the captions. These open captions, or “burned-in” captions, are hard-coded into the video file. That means that when you share your film or ad with a distributor or upload it to a hosting platform, there’s only one file.

Why use open captions?

Open captions can be easier to distribute to a larger audience. They should be used when you don’t have control of closed caption functionality. For instance, some websites use hosting services that don’t offer a closed captioning option. Furthermore, some movie theaters don’t have the equipment necessary to display closed captions. In these rare cases, open captions are an ideal choice to make your content accessible to more people.

How to add open captions to video

Maybe someone’s already transcribed your video to text. Now, you have a choice to make. Do you want to create a second sidecar file, just for these captions? Or would you like to combine the text to a video file?

If you pick the second option, you have a few choices. Software like Adobe Premier Pro has features for burning the text onto your video. If you are very familiar with the Premier Pro and its various keyboard shortcuts, it’s not a complicated process. What if you don’t have Premier Pro or aren’t familiar with the software? Then, you might want to go a different route.

Rev’s open captions service may be the quickest way to get fast, affordable captions burned into your video. It only takes a few easy steps.

  • Go to and select our captioning services. When you place an order, add “Burned-In Captions” or “Burned-In Subtitles” – depending on what service you’re looking for.
  • Click add to order to get the total for your project and an estimated completion time.
  • Pay for your order.

You’ll get an email when your file is ready for you. Then, you can download from your order page at any time.

For someone who doesn’t have time to caption themselves or learn the tricks of a professional video editing software, this is easily the way to go. With affordable, 99% accurate captioning services, Rev can help ensure that everyone in your potential audience can enjoy your content.