Captioning your videos #7: OpenCaptions.com

July 2, 2007

OpenCaptions logoCame across yet another Internet website that helps you caption your videos: OpenCaptions. Some quick thoughts below, along with yet another a 25-second captioned “bonus” video of my two daughters.

  • OpenCaptions is somewhere between alpha and beta — meaning that it’s still under considerable development and is probably slow and buggy, and the person who created this site knows and is admitting it.
  • Registering for a new account felt “slow” — there were obvious delays when loading the registration webpage. But once I actually created captions, the process went smoothly and quickly.
  • Only accepts Google Video, YouTube, or any Quicktime video already on the web.
  • Video is left on these video hosting sites, and captions are only shown on top of it via OpenCaptions.com (much like Overstream and BubblePly). Captioned videos can be embedded onto a website or blog (unless you have a blog with WordPress.com, like I do – ugh!).
  • Nice feature: colloborative captioning – you can invite a friend to help you caption videos.
  • Relatively easy to add captions, but then it’s difficult to match it to the correct place on the video. Adjustments are made by clicking on “End caption” at the correct place, or clicking on the double-arrows (a nice feature) to move the start / end time back or fro one second. But more often than not, I felt like I was flying “blind” because the video playback itself didn’t show any seconds — a sorely lacking feature, in my opinion.

(Click on the video for a larger version)
OpenCaptions screenshot

  • To watch what you’ve done thus far, you have to save as a draft and then click on “Watch,” which pops up the video in a separate window — again, difficult to edit your work this way.
  • Captions are displayed a bit too far down below the video, below the playback controls. I’m used to seeing the captions / subtitles either right on the bottom portion of the video, or just beneath.
  • Very nice ability to adjust the font size of the captions and even invert (from white-on-black to black-on-white) during playback! I’ve never seen this elsewhere.
  • This seems to be an experiment by a NYU researcher, so I’m curious if this will be improved upon anytime soon (the first and only blog entry is from January of 2007) or even if this will stay around much longer.
  • I would say that, thus far, dotSUB.com remains the easiest way to caption videos on the web, with Overstream in second place.
  • See my other reviews of creating subtitles using Windows Movie Maker, Jumpcut, Subtitle Workshop, Overstream, YouTube, and dotSUB.

Click on this picture to watch the captioned video of my daughter spelling out names. Have fun!

Opencaptions video

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8 Responses to “Captioning your videos #7: OpenCaptions.com”

  1. Hana Says:

    I’m interested in your captioning/subtitling reviews. Have you reviewed Google’s captioning service?

  2. Proud Geek Says:

    Stay tuned! :-) Actually, I know there’s a way to show closed captions (I’ll post about that soon) and to upload closed captioning files to Google Video, but I’m not too sure you can use Google Video’s website itself to create captions. YouTube (also owned by Google) allows you to create captions, but at this point YouTube’s captioning / remix functionality is difficult to use and is buggy … (See link to YouTube above for the full review.)


  3. Hi, I’m the developer for OpenCaptions.com.

    Thanks for the great critique, I’ll definitely build these ideas in when I get back to working on it. I sort of got tied up with lots of other work and will probably get back to OpenCaptions around August. This is still an experiment about what captions could be.

    DotSub is great! Use them!

    If you have any other ideas you’d like to see, please contact me through the site. http://www.opencaptions.com

  4. Javier Says:

    I want to add http://tubecaption.com to your list.

    Check out our demo at http://tubecaption.com/captions/demo
    and let me know if its not easier then dotSUB.com

    At http://tubecaption.com we share 50% of AdSense revenue with the users that publish their captions.

    You can add subtitles, captions, comments etc to any youtube video.

    Let me know what you think.

  5. proudgeek Says:

    Sure, Javier, will review Tubecaption – thanks!

  6. Bill Says:

    Tubecaption has been down, without any notice…


  7. […] Captioning Your Videos #7: OpenCaptions.com […]


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