Most cinemas nowadays will offer some screenings which include movie closed captioning. Whilst closed captions include transcription of speech, audio description and can include translation, there’s a lot more to professional movie closed captioning than that. At Capital Captions, we love working with a massively broad range of movie genres, and interestingly, each genre can involve different considerations in terms of closed captioning services. We’re going to explore these in this blog.
Horror Films and Closed Caption Descriptions
Horror films are all about atmosphere and suspense. Closed captions for scary movies should include audio descriptions that fit the tone of film and accurately describe audio events. Closed captioning should describe sound rather than narrate events, however, a little extra description can go a long way. A thoughtfully worded’ sinister creak’ or ‘petrified shriek’ can make all the difference.
Children’s Movies and Subtitle Reading Speeds
Perhaps the most important aspect of children’s film closed captioning is reading speed. Children can’t read as fast as adults. For this reason, the speed at which captions appear and disappear must allow time for target audiences to read and understand the text. Adult reading speeds should typically be around 200-250 wpm (words per minute) whilst the ideal for children is between 160-180 wpm. Reading speeds are prioritised for younger viewers, even over and above verbatim video transcription. Sometimes captioners will need to remove words or shorten sentences to achieve adequately paced subtitles.
Subtitlers may also take into consideration closed captioning formatting. Some obvious elements of kids subtitles may be the style of captions: bright colours, fun fonts and large readable text.
Period Dramas and Closed Caption Transcription
Video transcriptionists will need to pay a lot of attention to detail when working with period drama closed captioning. Language spoken in period dramas can seem unnatural in some ways – with differences to modern spellings, syntax and even more formal grammar. In addition, references to historical events, people or places need to be accurately spelt and so the transcription process may involve a significant amount of research.
Foreign Transcription and Blockbuster Video Translation
High quality subtitle translation services can effectively make or break a movie for global audiences. The translation process should involve foreign transcription, closed captioning and then subsequent translation in order to get the best results. Subtitlers should never work on professional foreign closed captioning through back translations and should always translate from the source language.
Sci-Fi Closed Captioning and Forced Narrative
Forced narrative (also known as forced subtitles) is a technique which involves display of a subtitle regardless of whether closed captioning is turned on or off on a movie. Sci-Fi movies often contain a significant amount of forced subtitles due to the speaking of alien languages and/or display of alien text. However, subtitles will also apply on many other genres of movie where there are multilingual scenes or conversations between characters.
Musicals and Closed Caption Formatting
Closed Captioning musicals can be tricky. Deaf and hard of hearing viewers may have limited access to music. For this reason, subtitlers should transcribe notes with special formatting to indicate lyrics as opposed to speech. Formatting usually takes the form of italic writing with each subtitle contained within musical notes. Subtitlers also need to consider verse lines and rhyming structure when breaking up lines and captions to keep the rhythm and timing in line with dancing and singing.
Comedy Movie Subtitles and Timed Text
When creating subtitles for comedy movies, it’s all about timing. Caption writers should pay close attention to comedic timing and aim to synchronise any pauses in a video with the absence of subtitles. In funny movies, a silence or a break may be important to bring attention to a character’s facial expression or allow time for thought before a big surprise. Wrongly timed closed captions here can be distracting and also give away a joke too soon, effectively destroying the punchline.
So there you have it, our exploration into the world of movie closed captioning by different genres is complete. If you’re interested in adding closed captions to your movie, get in touch with our team today. Alternatively, visit our ‘quote page‘ for your free quote and advise today.