Video Captioning Style Guide
Captions should include:
- All words spoken by characters (including stuttering etc).
- Words spoken by a narrator.
- The words to any song.
- Identification for off screen speakers.
- Descriptions of sound events that impact on the story or meaning.
Captions should not include:
- Every word or sound effect where the pace of a video sometimes makes it impractical.
- Information that is already displayed on screen, e.g. text in a Powerpoint slide.
- Characters should use a white san serif font, such as Arial or Helvetica.
- Captions should have a black background box.
- Each sentence should use a mix of uppercase and lowercase letters.
- Punctuation should follow normal style and conventions.
- Punctuation should convey, as much as possible, the way speech is delivered.
- Use ellipses when there is a significant pause within a caption (e.g. It's so...majestic).
- In order to maintain reading rate, non-essential information can be removed.
- Spell out numbers from one to ten, but use numerals for all numbers over ten.
- Each line should be no more than 37 characters in length.
- Each caption should run over no more than two lines.
- Line and caption breaks should reflect the natural flow of the sentence and its punctuation.
- Captions should coincide with the relevant soundtrack, to preserve the relation between sound and visuals.
- The reading speed should not exceed 180 words per minute (3 words per second).
- The pace of a video sometimes makes it impractical to include every word or sound effect in caption form.
- No sentence should remain on screen for less than 2 seconds.
Sound and Speaker Identification
- Any noise or music that enhances the visuals, contributes to characterisation or adds atmosphere should be captioned.
- Sound effects should be shown in square brackets, e.g. [dog barking]
- The speakers name should be identified in round brackets, e.g. (John)
- Speakers names and sound effects should be shown on a line of their own,e.g.
I don't think your solution
would work in this case.
This style guide is based on information contained in the following documents:
- 'Captioning Key', U.S. National Association of the Deaf
- 'Transcription Guidelines for Captioning', CaptionSync
- Captioning Quality Code of Practice, Deafness Forum of Australia
- Designing accessible Student Support materials and instructional media
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