Vimeo Closed Captioning and Subtitles

By: Art Morgan
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Vimeo has long been favored over YouTube by video producers, for several reasons: 1) its clean layout minimizes or eliminates ads, 2) inexpensive Plus and Pro level accounts allow you to do more with HD video and long-form video, 3) flexible groups, channels, and albums allow for more meaningful community feedback and engagement, and 4) Vimeo has a feature that allows you to add a password to videos, allowing you to do private screenings of your videos, even to people who don’t have Vimeo accounts. I could go on, but you get the idea – there are lots of reasons to love Vimeo.

Now there is one more reason to love Vimeo: with their latest player update they now support closed captions and subtitles! We tested out the captioning and subtitle features as soon as they were released, and found them extremely easy to use. Here is an article on our support center that describes how to associate closed caption files that you have created with CaptionSync with your Vimeo videos. In many ways they have leapfrogged their competition, because the new player plays captions and subtitles seamlessly on all sorts of devices, including iPhones, iPads, and other mobile devices.

Another thing that we like is that they are providing support for a wide variety of closed caption output files right out of the gate. So far we have successfully tested DFXP, SRT, SMI, and SCC, and support for VTT is on the way. Support for SCC is a nice plus for video producers; when producers need to deliver shows to a television station or VOD provider like iTunes they typically deliver the captions in SCC format. SCC is an older closed captioning format that was popularized by broadcast encoders and tool providers, but which is not human-readable because the caption text and commands are in hexidecimal format. To accurately preview your video with SCC captions you often need specialized software, and things can get especially confusing when you are dealing with varying frame-rates. I won’t go into the gory details in this blog post (we have all the details and answers on our Support Center, when you are logged in with your CaptionSync account), but suffice it to say that our video producer customers will appreciate the SCC file support.

Another pleasant surprise: several people on the Vimeo engineering team are Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) alums (go Tigers!). Automatic Sync has worked with RIT for years, and the faculty and staff there are experts in accessibility and assistive technology. Knowing that RIT grads are on the Vimeo team makes us even more confident that Vimeo will lead the way in video accessibility for years to come.

UPDATE: CaptionSync’s List of URLs feature now works with Vimeo videos. This means that you can submit your Vimeo videos for captioning directly from your CaptionSync account, without needing to re-upload them. More info is available in the Support Center when you are logged in to your account.