How autoplay is changing the way we look at subtitles and captions
You can’t read a video marketing article (or listicle) without it mentioning the importance of captions and subtitles and it is understandable to see why. They are an easy way to make your video content accessible for everyone; the hearing impaired, international audiences, and the thumb-scrolling viewer who doesn’t have the attention span to activate the sound on an autoplay video (I’m not belittling the thumb-scroller here – I am guilty as anyone).
It means that video creators, more and more, are forced to provide captions and subtitles (you can read my post about The Difference Between Subtitles and Captions to learn more) if they want the best possible chance of their content gaining traction and engagement. As captions and subtitles have become necessary creators have started getting creative. Before progressing let me clarify that we are specifically discussing open captions here as they allow for a designer touch, being rendered into the footage – you can read about the Open Versus Closed Captions to learn more about the differences, pros and cons.
With the widespread adoption and embrace of businesses and brands using online video and in turn autoplay, soundless video the opportunity has arisen for brands to redesign captions and subtitles. This offers audiences another, albeit small, way to be exposed to their brand, but I think cleverly designed captions do more than just project colours, font and logos onto audiences. They portray a sophistication and understanding of your audience’s viewing/online experience, they tell your audience that you aren’t “doing social” for the sake of it or “doing video” for the views – you take the platform, your content and fan engagement seriously.
Stylised text is not a recent occurrence in film, Woody Allen’s 1977 Annie Hall used subtitles to highlight what the characters are thinking and throughout the last couple of decades the film and television industry has seen enormous growth in the use stylised subtitles to take on another textual element, texting. Being creative and using the context of your video to introduce text, whatever the purpose, will keep the audience engaged with your content and able to get the most out of it.
This video explores how texting and the internet have been represented in film and how it has changed over the years and whilst it doesn’t directly speak to subtitles it does illustrate how creatively integrating text can be seamless. Enjoy!