Closed captioning and indexing

In my last post I lamented that the captions I made for my introductory video were too small and too difficult to produce. I’ve since discovered a good work-around as well as some tips that allows video to provide even more value to the employer you are creating content for. First, some observations on closed captioning.

Only high end video editing software allows true closed captioning. Pay $300 or more and that feature is yours.  iMovie and Photoshop’s Premiere Elements by comparison are affordable video software. But to make captions you have to insert a series of them, one at a time, into your film’s frames, here and there, hoping that your words somehow match up to the text on the screen. Play the video in my previous post to see what I mean. What you really want is fluid and continuous text flowing seamlessly by. You can have that with YouTube. Say what?

Upload a video and in a short time go back to it. Most probably you will see a pair of “CC”s in the lower right hand corner. Using speech to text software, YouTube has probably created closed captioning for you, without you even realizing it. Check on the box to see if this is so. Several options exist at this point to edit what YouTube has provided, or for you to upload a transcript for YouTube to use instead. If you decide to send it a text file, YouTube will do its best to sync the file to your frames. Magic. There’s more.

Let’s say your video had you talking for ten minutes on classic American cars. You upload it and YouTube comes back with closed captioning. Your words are now in text. And, since Google owns YouTube, Google will index your remarks, just as it would with any text file on the net. There, without much trying, your video comes alive to the search world. Previously, if you supplied the captions yourself, like I did with my video, Google would not know what you had said, aside from perhaps the title of your video. But now your remarks become a searchable commodity, ready to rise higher in the page rankings.

Ever notice how Google returns video results on the first page of search results? If a video is out there, Google usually mentions it on the first page when you query something. I’m convinced Google gives priority to videos over the dozens of articles that may be just straight text. Google can place an ad on video, after all, so video produces results for them. Which leads me to the downside in all of this.

A YouTube video is not as elegant as a video made purpose built for a site like WordPress or even Facebook. Videos at these sites stand alone. Compare my simple WordPress videos at this site to the YouTube video linked below. YouTube videos are rather messy looking and they can contain ads. On the plus side, YouTube videos are distributed far and wide and they are indexed almost immediately by Google. I think videos meant for YouTube constitute terrific value for employers. A freelancer can have his written work indexed as well as a supporting video. This combination has to draw more results than a HTML file alone. Other problems? Just one so far.

On my desktop iMac the closed caption feature is readily enabled, it works and it works well. But the CC feature does not work in my browser on my iPad. Safari does not support it. Going to the YouTube app, however, lets me see the closed captions without a problem. Try going to the app on your mobile device first to see what happens. And let me know what you think.

YouTube video: closed caption demonstration (external link)

Below is an illustration showing a YouTube closed caption text being edited by me for corectness.


About thomasfarley01

Freelance writer specializing in outdoor subjects, particularly rocks, gems and minerals.
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