Using CaptionSync's Video Encoding feature

Closed Captioning with CaptionSync allows you to get encoded outputs using our Video Encoding feature. This article describes how to use this service.

Video Tutorial (This video is an alternative to the Text Tutorial)


(You can watch this video on full screen at YouTube)

Video Files:

Attached a sample of a Subtitled Encoded video (CaptionSync_Sample_Subtitles.mp4) and a sample of an Open Captioned video (CaptionSync_Sample_Open_Captions.mp4).

Text Tutorial

CaptionSync offers two types of encoding services:

  • Closed Captioning/Subtitling: Encodes the captions into the subtitle data field in the mp4/m4v media file. This allows the viewer to turn them on or off as needed. Subtitles are overlaid at the bottom of the video pane.
  • Open Captioning: Open captioning renders the caption text right into the video, so it becomes part of the picture. Once this is done, the captions are always on – they cannot be turned off.

If you're not sure about which type to choose, read more about this is our article about the differences between the two types of encoding.

Additional important information about Video Encoding is provided in the Notes below and also in our article about this service and the encoding results. We strongly recommend that you read this information before requesting the service.

How to request Encoding Services:

1. Log into CaptionSync, and go to Caption/Transcribe -> New Captioning Submission (or New List of URLs for Captioning, if you are submitting URLs to the files). Click Advanced Settings -> Video Encoding:

Image of the Video Encoding tab, on the Advanced Settings dialog box

2. Select Add Subtitle Track or Add Open Captions as appropriate.

If you're choosing Open Captions, there are two more settings to select: the placement of captions -- whether the open captions appear over the video or under the video; and the bitrate. In most cases leaving this Like Original is sufficient. If you do want to change to a different bitrate, remember that a high bitrate yields a larger file, perhaps with better quality. A small bitrate yields a smaller file, but likely with lower quality.

Image of the Advanced Settings dialog box, highlighting the placement of captions and the bitrate options

3. The appearance settings can be configured under the Caption Appearance and the Web tabs. Please take a look at the notes below for more information on how to configure the appearance settings, and which ones are applicable to your type of encoding.

4. For Video Encoding purposes you don't need to choose a specific caption format; you just need to make sure that at least one format is added on the Output Types tab.

Image of a summary sticky highlighting the Video Encoding setting

5. When you've made all the changes in the Advanced Settings, click Apply Changes.
The Summary Sticky will now show that you have selected Video Encoding.

6. Next, submit your .mov, .mp4, .f4v, or .m4v file, and make the request.

7. When the captioning is complete, you will receive the standard caption files. The encoding takes a bit longer; while the process takes place you'll see a Pending status in the Details page:

Image of the Submission Details page

8. Once the encoded output is ready, download it from the respective Details page (go to Status of Submissions -> ID Details). The encoded video will be in the .mp4 format, and will not be sent via email because of its size – it must be downloaded from your CaptionSync account:

Image of the Submission Details page

Requesting Encoding Services for completed submissions:

You can request encoding services for a job already completed, as long as that happens within 45 days after the initial submission, and the media file is in the .mov, .m4v, .f4v, or .mp4 formats. Open the Details page for the completed job, and check if there is a Add Open Caption or Subtitle Video Encoding link, by the Video Encoding field. If there is, then Video Encoding is available for your job, and you can click it:

Image of the Submission Details page

On the next page, choose the type of Video Encoding. Finally, click Yes, Add Video Encoding:

Image of the Add Video Encoding page

Note that, if you want to add Video Encoding to a Redo, you'll need to add the service first to the original ID, and then you can add it to any subsequent Redos.

Notes on Appearance Settings:

  • For subtitling encoding, most appearance settings are governed by the player itself. Most players will display a centered text in Arial font, by default. So some of the Caption Appearance settings from the Advanced Settings are not applicable to Subtitled outputs. These are Font, Font Size, Text Alignment and Text Background Color.
    See our articles on how to change the location and the appearance of subtitles on VLC or QuickTime Pro.
  • On Open Captioning, the Text Background Color, under Caption Appearance, will only display two possible values: black or transparent. If you choose Not Specified from the drop-down menu, the caption pane will be transparent; if you choose any other color, the caption pane will be black. Note that if you choose to have the captions placed under the video, the Background Color will always be black.
  • The Web settings are also not applicable to Video Encoding submissions -- when doing the encoding process we try to take as many settings as possible from the original movie (not from the Advanced Settings).
    The exception is the Text Pane Size height setting, in Open Captioning encoding: the height can be set, if you choose to have the caption pane below the video. If the caption pane is overlaying the video, then it will show just slightly wider and higher than the caption line and it's not possible to select a bigger height for it.

Additional Notes:

  • This service requires a .mov, .mp4, .f4v, or .m4v as input file. If you submit a different type of media, your captioning job will still proceed as normal and you will receive your standard caption files, but no encoded movie will be generated and no charge will be levied for the encoding service. If you need to transcode your media file into one of those formats, check out Any Video Converter for a good, free tool for this purpose.
  • If you need to redo a submission for which you had requested Video Encoding, the video will automatically be re-encoded if the redo happens within 45 days of the original submission. Redos requested after this window will only generate new caption files, and not reencode the video.
  • There are circumstances under which we may not be able to generate a new encoded video for you (for example, if your original video is in the wrong format or if it uses a codec unknown to our system); in such cases you will receive an email notifying you of this and no encoding charges will be levied. Learn more about the technical background on Video Encoding in this article.
  • Video Encoding is not supported for YouTube or Vimeo videos submitted via List of URLs, because sometimes these platforms do not provide us with the media in its original format. Submitting your video via Dropbox instead is a good workaround for this issue.
  • Note for Windows users: the QuickTime player on Windows requires subtitled outputs to have the .m4v extension. So, to watch encoded videos with subtitles on QuickTime, you need to change the extension of the file, e.g., Bio_1.mp4 -> Bio_1.m4v .
  • If you are submitting your content via AST-Link, or via a partner integration, then you need to set your Video Encoding parameters in the Advanced Settings panel and save them as default before submitting your content. Remember to remove the encoding settings from your defaults after you have submitted your content, if you do not want encoding for subsequent submissions.
  • The Windows Media Player on Windows 7 does not render properly files larger than 1920x1080 pixels. If your encoded output is larger than 1920x1080 pixels (for example, because you added Open Captions under the video pane), use QuickTime or VLC instead to watch the video.
  • When you request Encoding, you can still receive other captioning outputs. You just need to keep/select the outputs under Output Types, and then select the Video Encoding type under Video Encoding, in the Advanced Settings.
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