As a producer, you’ve worked hard to create your video, film or programme. You’re ready to distribute your masterpiece but what about subtitles? If you are using broadcast or VoD to publish your film, closed captioning will be a necessity according to OFCOM regulations. Similarly, if you’re looking to build an online audience, subtitles and subtitle translations can be hugely beneficial in reaching out to wider audiences. So you know you need captions, but you’ve almost blown your budget. In the interests of saving back cash, you’re considering creating your own subtitles. Here, we’ll look at the major differences between using a professional transcription and subtitling company or DIY Subtitles.
Transcribing Your Video
Video transcription prices can start from as low as £1.00 per video minute. On receiving a video file, a professional transcriptionist will use transcription equipment to load the video and clean any audio as required. They will then type dialogue and/or sound effects and audio descriptions. Using a transcription program, high quality headphones, a typist foot pedal and possibly audio cleaning software. Professional transcriptionists can type a video at a speed ratio of up to 1:3. That means a typist may take as little as three minutes to type one minute of audio.
Transcribing Your Own Videos
If you have a shooting script available for your film, you may not require video transcription services. However, you will still need to be sure to proofread your original script against your film. This is due to any potential changes during filming where the text differs to the spoken word. You may also need to insert extra descriptions for closed captioning. If you choose to transcribe your own video without professional software, you can expect one minute of video to take anywhere between four and eight minutes to transcribe.
Especially if you have good spelling and grammar, and are familiar with your video script, working on your own video transcription is a feasible, effective way to save money. Transcription can be very time consuming. Your decision on whether to outsource the task or take it on yourself will likely come down to two factors. Namely, your required turnaround for completion and your current workload for other tasks.
Subtitling Your Video
Professional Video Subtitling
Professional subtitlers write subtitles that not only sync with video but also take into account natural audio breaks and pauses, reading speeds and the intended distribution platform and/or video audience. Whilst it’s possible to write manual captions, listening to split between breaks in conversation, subtitle software gives a visual guide which makes those breaks easier (and quicker) to find. In terms of allowing viewers time to read subtitles is important. A calculation can be made to effectively work out reading speed (characters per second), but maths can be time consuming and errors can be made.
Writing Your Own Subtitles
If you are looking at distributing your video on YouTube, Vimeo or the like, you may be able to upload a transcript and have automatic timings inserted which you can then edit as required. For standard SRT subtitles or even WebVTT subtitles, you can use a text editor such as Notepad or TextEdit to create your own subtitles. For your subtitles to function, you will need to ensure all characters are written and correctly encoded and formatted throughout.
There are a few main differences in professional versus DIY subtitling. Whether you choose to outsource your captions will likely depend on the following. For broadcast or online subtitle formats that allow more styling and format specifications, writing captions manually may not be an option. Professional subtitlers use software that automates HTML jargon and coding which would likely be a nightmare to write manually.
The feasibility of writing your own subtitles will come down to caption requirements. Your YouTube video subtitles may be intended as a vehicle in which to add keywords and boost SEO for your videos. In this case, manually written subtitles should suffice. However, if working with VoD or broadcast where your video provider has stipulated specific guidelines around characters, reading speeds, rows, formatting and encoding, professional subtitling is definitely the way to go.
So Transcription and Subtitling Company or DIY Subtitles?
The choice is simple, if you want your subtitles to look professionally written and get the most out of them in terms of SEO then getting a professional subtitling company to do them is the way to go.
If you are interested in transcribing, subtitling or captioning your videos or films, take a look at our Typing Services options page which will give you an overview of what we do, if you would like more information on our service rates and guidelines you can take a look at those too.