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Podcast Captioning November 2, 2006

Posted by Jeff in Podcast Accessibility, Podcast Captioning, Podcasting.

Closed captioning podcasts, subtitling podcasts, captioned podcasts, or podcast subtitles are all ways of saying the same thing. Video podcast captioning is simply words added in some form or another to your podcast. These ideas don’t just have to be for video podcasts, here is the step by step process on captioning audio podcasts in iTunes: http://www.automaticsync.com/caption/podcaption.htm

For the rest of this post, I want to focus on video captioning. Yesterday I talked about transcription services and and how transcripts can be made for audio/video podcasts.

Also, to get a bit more background, see my post on Podcasting Accessibility where I go into why and how you would actually approach captioning your vodcast (overlay, silent film method, or extra text bar). Anyway you do it, adding words to your audio or video podcast is a good idea because:

  1. it makes your podcast accessible to the over one million deaf people in the United States, and over 28 million people that suffer from some sort of hearing loss
  2. it can be used as a tool for people learning English as a second language and those working to improve their literacy skills
  3. it can be viewed by people on their computer or mobile media device in places where the audio would be intrusive or they did not have or could not use headphones (i.e. @ work)

Examples of Closed Captioned Video

  • tecnocato closed captioned podcast – tecnocatos is Spanish for tech-addicts… here is a great example of someone using cutting edge technology and a bit of ingenuity to caption a podcast. Though their subtitles are a slight hack, and take some doing, it works very well. If you’re interested in doing subtitles like these, I found out that he uses Textation and he used LiveStage to create a QuickTime sprite that turns the captions on and off. If you have a copy of QuickTime Pro, you can extract the sprite and use it in your podcast.
  • A homemade closed captioning example – here’s an example of a simple captioning example being used for the right reasons.

Closed Captioning Software

  • http://www.cpcweb.com/Captioning/cap_splash.htm – not a bad captioning option… still a fairly manual process even though when you buy the product, it ‘feels’ like it will save a lot of time. Auto captioning is, from who I’ve talked to and what I’ve used, seems to be just as much work as having your podcast transcripted with time signatures, and putting the text into a quicktime text stream yourself.

Doing Your Own Captions

Closed Captioning and Subtitling Companies
I always like to suggest companies for those of you who have the ambition, but not the time. In this case, you’re also going to need cash… because it’s not cheap.

Thanks for the positive feedback on the posts this week. I will post a how to setup a self transcription studio setup tomorrow.



1. Israel Melendez, Jr. - November 5, 2007

iTunes and QuickTime now support embedded (CEA-608) closed captions. As of November 5, 2007, they also work on devices like the iPod Touch and the iPhone. I recently upgraded my workflow to have this functionality supported by my video podcast.

If you like to learn one way of closed captioning a QuickTime video, I invite you download the tutorial available from episode 008 of TECNOCATO HD (CC): “HOW TO CLOSED CAPTION”.

You can get the tutorial for free at:

Let me know what you think…

2. Carson - January 25, 2008

Hi, Are there any services or grant programs that will work with companies to help in the captioning process? I am the CEO of Mediafly, a podcast aggregator. In addition we allow for podcats to be delivered to lots of enabled devices which we are forming partners with. A user recently asked me if we had podcasts which were captioned.

This led me to wonder if, since we are centralizing all the access and delivery of these podcasts, would there be a service or foundation that would be willing to caption all of the popular feeds as soon as they are released. That way each individual publisher would not need to figure this out. We could centralize the process.

Being a start up we don’t have the budget to do this ourselves. But we would be happy to be the platform on which to build such a beneficial service.

Any suggestios would be greatly appreciated.


3. suzanne Robitaille - October 28, 2009


Thanks for the blog tips. I run a website on disabilities and do local press but wasn’t sure how to get transcriptions done. I want to make sure people with disabilities can access podcasts and videos!


4. Samantha Allen - June 8, 2011

is there any where i can watch a podcast with subtitles or CC as not found one yet and would like to as want to use this as example for my thesis. any advice would be much appreciated.


5. Jeff - June 8, 2011

Samantha… try this:

How to Join the Chemistry at MHCC Podcast and View Closed Captions

A good example of a prof who podcasts, captions, and has instructions on how to join the podcast.

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