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Live Streaming Software

How to Add Captions to Your Recorded Live Stream

This post explores the wider range of options for adding captions to your live stream. It's part of our series on BoxCast Features.

Captioning your video content is an important step in making your video content more accessible to everyone. It also may be important to meet compliance standards for your organization.

More than 30 million Americans live with a form of hearing loss. Millions of others are illiterate, learning to read, or use English as a second language. It's more likely than not, that some of these people are your viewers.

In this post, we'll address your options for adding captions to your live stream. Then we'll talk about how we do it at BoxCast.

First, let's define captions. Captions is the overarching term referring to the time-stamped transcript of a video. They are often presented in the form of closed captions, which can be be turned on or off by the viewer. The term, 'subtitle,' while often used interchangeably, actually only refers to dialogue captions.


Automated vs Manual Captioning

Until recently, the only way to caption video, either live or recorded, was a manual process.

You may think back to closed captions you've seen on broadcast television. In those situations, the captions often lagged behind the actual audio. The reason for that is that there is usually a human rapidly transcribing the audio as it occurs.

Recently, AI and machine learning developments have finally delivered a competitive automated alternative. Software can now interpret the audio and deliver captions.

Do they work? Yes.

Are they perfect? No.

The first few versions of automated captions were pretty inaccurate, actually. Since then, they've improved drastically-- enough so that they should be considered seriously in any video context. As is the case with anything built on machine learning, this technology will continue to improve over time.

Many of the captions you see today are still captured manually. However more and more organizations are switching over to automated captioning systems.


Other Considerations

When considering adding captioning to your video, you should consider affordability, speed, editabilty, and compliance.



The price range for captioning is massive. Ultimately, affordability ends up being one of the top benefits of automated captioning.

With a manual caption process, captioning gets pricey fast. Whether you have an in-house solution or turn to an external service, people's time is expensive. At the very least, you'll be looking at least $1/ per broadcast minute for an external service or up to $50,000 in equipment (not including staff time) for an in-house manual solution.

If price is a big factor for you, manual captioning won't be an option. You should look to a service that provides automated captioning.



Manually, a typical one hour broadcast can take up to three focused man-hours to caption. If you send it out to an external service, they will most likely take at least a day to get it back to you.

Your video is most valuable as close to live as possible. If you value live streaming, but your captioning takes over a day to process, this feature is not truly accessible. Mark speed as another win for automated captioning.

If you are choosing between automated options, make sure to ask how long it takes for the captions to process (ours takes under an hour).



If you do opt for an automated caption option, you will want the ability to edit the transcript. When you choose a service, ensure that the process for editing is easy and that the solution helps you pinpoint potential errors quickly. You don't want to be forced to read the entire transcript in review.


Your Compliance Standards

Organizations of all kinds (especially schools and governments) often have overarching standards for compliance. It will be worthwhile for you to check in to see if you have any captioning requirements.


How to Add Captions with BoxCast

At BoxCast, our core goal is to make people part of experiences that matter to them. We are committed ensuring that everyone can enjoy that experience. We are actively taking steps to empower broadcasters with easy and affordable ways to make their content accessible.

We have long offered options for incorporating your own captions via a WebVTT upload. However, many of our resource-strapped organizations needed other accessibility options.

BoxCast Captions now provides automated closed captions for your broadcasts. Broadcasters can create automatic captions for recorded content in a matter of minutes with the click of a button.

After creation, broadcasters can edit the captions to correct the language and timing. The process is seamless and quick.

Here's how it works:


Final Thoughts + Further Reading

Like live streaming, captioning can be easy. Here's more on the little things that can take your live stream to the next level.

Happy Streaming 😃!