Make Auto-Captions on Videos More Informative

Auto Captions on Videos

There’s a lot of video being hosted on the Web today. Many hosting services provide a way to add captions to your videos automatically.

Auto-Captions are often machine-generated and don’t always read perfectly. They can also be quite slow, sometimes taking hours to become available after a video has been published.

You can help speed up this process by providing a transcript of your video’s audio beforehand. This way, the service doesn’t have to generate one from the audio track itself and can just sync it with the video instead. You can also try using an automated caption generator like Bigvu’s auto-captions to achieve the desired outcome. 

This is great for accessibility: text-based captions are more flexible than closed captions in that they’re not tied to specific video players or formats, and as text, they can be indexed for search (videos without transcripts won’t show up in searches for their content).

Closed captioning also provides much better control over formatting—for example, you might want to emphasize certain words or phrases with bold or italic text that wouldn’t be possible with auto-generated captions.

And it’s even better for people who aren’t hearing impaired. Pre-generated transcripts can make skipping through long videos much faster. Some players will even use them as a table of contents, allowing users to jump directly to chapters or sections within a longer piece.

Limitations of Auto-Captioning Tools

While auto-captioning tools are getting better, they haven’t reached perfection. People often end up with auto-captions that are funny but not so informative.

It works in reverse—they get captions that are correct but boring. This can be corrected in software by editing it out with closed captions or a transcript before you start making your video.

To make your auto-captions more informative and accurate, follow these steps –

  • Use a speech recognition tool like the one in YouTube’s editor to create an initial draft.
  • Make sure your captions are turned on for all videos you upload. As you’re viewing a video, use tools like YouTube’s automatic captions and manual corrections to edit the caption file so that it accurately reflects what is being said in the video.
  • If you plan to broadcast in real-time, use an online caption service that integrates with your live streaming system or platform.
  • Make sure the audio in your video is clear and easy to understand
  • If your video contains audio that’s difficult to understand, then its auto-captions will also be difficult to understand. For example, if the environment you’re in is too noisy or if you’re using a bad microphone, then the auto-captions may not accurately convey what you’re saying.

To make sure your audio is clear and easy to understand:

  • Use a good microphone
  • Use good equipment (e.g., camera)
  • Film in a quiet environment
  • Speak clearly at an appropriate pace (not too fast or slow)
  • Avoid slang words or phrases that the transcription software wouldn’t recognize

Language Must Be Clear and Free From Slang

When recording YouTube videos, make sure you speak clearly and avoid slang or any other jargon. If a viewer doesn’t understand what you’re saying, the captions won’t be able to identify it either. For example, instead of saying, “What are you going to do today?” say, “Do you have plans for today?” Instead of “I’m so excited!” say, “I’m happy about this outcome.”

Also, avoid idioms and phrases that don’t make grammatical sense when used literally (like “Let’s hit the ground running”), as well as colloquialisms (like “Gonna get down to business!”).

Use Background Noise or Music to Mask Pauses or Interruptions

As you watch the show, you might notice that there’s always music playing in the background, regardless of what else is going on. This is because the audio engineers know that having no “dead air” (silence) is important for keeping people engaged.

Background noise will help make up for any unnatural pauses or interruptions in your speech. Just be careful not to choose a sound that’s too distracting or one that makes it harder to hear what you’re saying.

You can add the sound in post-production or during recording. If you have a skilled audio engineer on your team, they can layer sounds into your video in post-production without much effort. This can be done with computers, and various software are available to get this done within minutes.

Don’t Talk Too Fast

It’s a simple but often overlooked fact that the resulting transcript is unreadable if you talk too fast and too much in a video. It’s even more so when it comes to auto-captions. But what’s an auto-caption? What does it do?

To get the full effect of an auto-caption, imagine yourself watching the video on mute while reading this sentence aloud. Now imagine being able to read this sentence without any subtitles (like on TV). It will take some time for your mind to wrap around this concept!

Use a Single Voice

To produce more informative and accurate captions, make sure there’s a single voice in your video. Multiple speakers speaking at the same time confuse the auto-captioner. If you’re using auto-captioning, be sure to have a single person speaking at a time.

You’ll still get clunky, imperfect auto-captions for your videos. But there are a few things you can do to make the transcripts more accurate.

Make sure your audio is loud and clear—it’s easier for the computer to hear clapping if it’s not muffled by breathing into a microphone. And try to avoid slang or references that computers won’t get.

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