Here are some helpful tips for captioning videos.

General Tips

  • Every word is displayed, including relevant interjections
  • Use proper punctuation and grammar.
  • Use no more than two (2) lines at a time, if possible.
  • Captions should be well synchronized with video.
  • Captions should display for a minimum of two (2) seconds; aim for three (3) seconds.

Proper Identification

Identify Speaker

  • Introduce a speaker when they begin talking or making a noise.
  • Indicate speaker when the speaker changes, i.e. a dialogue.
  • Use a colon (:) to separate name and text.
  • Use the name appropriate for the content.
    • Informal: Use full name to introduce, and use just the first name after that
    • Formal: Include titles. Use full name to introduce, then title and last name after that. Ex: "Dr. Smith"

Example Identification of a Speaker:

John: NYU has fantastic programs!
Mary: [hums in agreement] It sure does!

Identify Sounds

  • Any sounds that add to the video's:
    • Aesthetics
    • Meaning
    • Message

Ex. [audience applauds]; [Mary sighs]; [car honks]; [thunder]

  • Identify Tone of Voice:
    Ex. [wryly]; [yelling]; [whispering]

Identify Music

At the very least indicate [Music] when it is playing.

  • If the song type adds to the video meaning, then indicate the type:
    Ex.[somber music]; [swelling orchestral music]; [ominous music]
  • If you can identify the song, then do so:
    Ex. ["Thriller" by Michael Jackson]
  • Put music notes around lyrics (windows: alt + 14; mac: use character palette)
    Ex. ♫ Backstreet's back, alright ♫

Examples of Captioning

Great Example

Good example

(Acronyms such as VO are not clear)

OK Example

(missing speaker, and lines are too long)

Example using with ASL