If You Don’t Have Subtitles, You Don’t Have A Video
Historically, subtitles were for the deaf and hard of hearing, as well as for people who were in the middle of learning English as an additional language. However, in recent times the use of mobile devices has changed all that.
The Importance of Subtitles
In this video James Rostance covers exactly why, that if you don’t have subtitles, you don’t have a video:
Historically, subtitles were for the deaf and hard of hearing, as well as for people who were in the middle of learning English as an additional language.
However, in recent times the use of mobile devices has changed all that.
One of the most impressive facts that I’ve come across in recent times is that mobile device users will watch up to 8 minutes worth of video with subtitles, before turning on the sound.
So even where it is possible to hear the sound on a video, there is a seemingly crazy preference to watch without it.
Let’s take a second in which case to consider the rest of the time where a user might be in a noisy environment, at work or whilst commuting.
If they can’t truly can not hear, subtitles if available, are the only option.
So now you can see that because for a large part of the time, mobile users can’t effectively hear sound, this is why subtitles are now so very important.
For subtitling videos, you have two different options.
The first is known as soft subtitles, which is where you have a separate subtitle text file created, that you upload along with your video, which allows users to turn them on and off as they wish.
Currently on Facebook, if a subtitle track has been supplied, it will automatically display subtitles on a mobile device if sound is not playing.
The second option is what’s known as hard subtitles, and this is where they are are permanently overlaid on top of the video.
The advantage of this approach is that you get full control of how the subtitles look in terms of size, font, background, as well as making sure subtitles don’t clash with any other graphics or parts of the picture which you want to remain clear.
The other main advantage is that you guarantee that viewers will be able to read your subtitles. Currently platforms like Twitter and Instagram don’t facilitate soft subtitles, which is why hard subs are the only option.
So let’s wrap up with my personal recommendation for how you can maximise viewership as well as the overall experience for viewers.
Because platforms are always evolving and as mentioned, Twitter and Instagram are lagging behind in this area. I recommend producing individually tailored versions of your video for each different platform.
For LinkedIn, Youtube, Vimeo and Facebook, you can provide soft subs with their default setting to on.
For Twitter, hard subtitles.
And for Instagram, hard subtitles also, although you may also wish to have your video re-formatted into a vertical aspect ratio to provide a full screen viewing experience.
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