Wouldn’t it be nice if you could easily add captions to your Instagram videos?
Unfortunately, Instagram doesn’t (yet) have this functionality. So, does this mean you’re out of luck?
Not at all!
This post will walk you through exactly how you can add captions to your videos – whether for use on Instagram or pretty much anywhere else.
An example of captions on an Instagram video
Keep in mind that Instagram doesn’t currently even have a way for you to UPLOAD your captions…never mind create them. This means you’ll need to transcribe your video and then “burn” the captions right onto the video itself (bummer, right?!).
In any case, before we jump in, it’s important to ask the question….
WHY Add Captions to Your Instagram Videos?
If you’re going to go to the work of adding captions, you probably want to know whether it’s ACTUALLY necessary, right?
It’s not just something you should do because everyone else is doing it, or just because it’s a “best practice”.
That said, there are some pretty big reasons why every video posted to Instagram should have captions.
Many (most?) People Prefer Watching With the Sound Off
While we don’t know exactly how many Instagram users watch videos on the platform with the sound off, we DO know that 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound.? 85% of Facebook videos are watched without sound. Wowzers!Click To Tweet
So, it’s a pretty safe bet that a good chunk of your followers prefer to read captions (especially those who are at school or work and don’t want to get caught!).
Your Non-native English-speaking Followers Will Thank You
Do you know how many of your followers speak English as their second language? While it may not make up a majority of your followers, you can bet there are more than a few.
Make it as easy as possible for them by adding captions to increase comprehension.
Do it for Your Hearing-Impaired Followers
I mean, really, shouldn’t this be motivation enough to add captions to your videos?!
According to Interactive Accessibility, 7.6 million people in the US alone have a hearing impairment. And that number is likely to be higher if we add in all the people who have an undiagnosed impairment.According to Interactive Accessibility, 7.6 million people in the US alone have a hearing impairment.Click To Tweet
It’s standard practice now to make sure all your website images and videos are accessible…so why wouldn’t the same hold true for your Instagram posts?
How to Add Captions to a NEW Instagram Video
Now, onto the good stuff. You’ve decided you want to add captions to your video, but aren’t sure where to start.
If you haven’t yet recorded your video, you’re in luck: there’s a handy dandy little app that make the whole process of adding captions SUPER easy!
Apple Clips lets you shoot a video, then automatically turns your words into text and adds it as captions for your video.
This feature is called “Live Titles”, and not only automatically converts your words to text, it magically syncs them up with your voice.
You can then edit the captions as you like, and then post directly to Instagram once you’re done.
How to Add Captions to an EXISTING Instagram Video
I wish I could tell you to just go to Instagram and use their built-in captioning/transcription feature. Sadly, they don’t have one!
The process I’ll outline below is the next best thing. It’s quick and not SUPER complicated (although there is a slight techy component to it. But don’t worry, I’ll walk you through it! ).
Go to Rev.com and get captions of your video
By far, the cheapest and easiest way to generate automatic captions of your video is to use Rev.com. While they’re perhaps best known as a transcription service, they can also do captions and subtitles for your Instagram videos.
And don’t worry – anyone can afford it! Rev charges a buck a minute…which means for a 2-minute video, you’re paying less than you would for a cup of coffee.
Here’s how to do it…
Go to Rev.com and select their Caption service (middle one below). The caption file they’ll send you is what you’ll need for your Instagram video; but they’ll also throw in a transcription file, free!
Next, upload your video. The Rev team will then create a caption file and will email it to you within around four hours.
Edit your captions (if necessary)
While Rev guarantees a 99% accurate caption file, you may find you want to make some minor edits.
Using their caption editor, look through the text and make any changes or edits you’d like. Everything is laid out using time stamps, making it quick and easy to find exactly what you’re looking for.
Once you’re done, you can download your edited file by simply clicking the Download button in the top right corner of your screen.
“Burn” your captions onto your video
Now comes the slightly tricky part. Since Instagram doesn’t give us a way to upload or sync the captions file we got from Rev, we’re going to need to use another tool to basically insert the text into the video.
There are a number of tools you can use for this, but the one we’ll use here is Adobe Premier Pro, as it’s the tool that Rev recommends. If you want to use a tool you already have – like Windows Movie Maker or Apple’s iMovie – you can of course do this too.
What you’ll do is upload your video, then drag the captions file you created in #2 onto your screen, like this:
The rest is pretty intuitive: play the video, and as you start a new line in your captions file, simply drop a “marker” onto your video’s timeline. This essentially syncs your video file to your captions file.
Once this is done, you’ll want to save your captions as “open captions” – this ensures that they stay on throughout the video (i.e., that they show up automatically and can’t be turned off).
To do this, go to the bottom of your screen and click New Item, and then Captions, and finally Open Captions.
Next, drag the open caption box in the bottom left corner of the screen to your main work area, like this:
Your captions will now be automatically inserted into your video, and ready for you to play around with: change the font, size, color, etc. to suit your liking.
Finally, go to File > Export to save your completed video with captions to your computer.
For complete, step-by-step instructions on using Adobe Premiere Pro to add captions to your video, check out this excellent YouTube tutorial. Watch the first part, then skip to 11:20 to see how to do open captions.
Post your video to Instagram
You’re now ready for the fun part! Simply upload your video to Instagram as you normally would. Remember, they’ve now been “burned” into your video, so they’ll show to all viewers automatically.
My hope is that eventually Instagram will give us a native solution to insert captions in our IG videos. But until that time, the process above is the easiest and most effective way to do it.
Wondering how to add captions to your Facebook Lives? I have the 411 for that too!
Are you ready to create your own Instagram video with captions? Let me know how it goes for you!