Open Captions

There are two kinds of captions: closed and open.

Closed captions can be turned on or off as desired by the viewer. For video streamed to a computer over the Internet, closed captions are generally controlled through the “CC” button in the video player’s control bar. For broadcast television and TV streaming services such as Netflix, closed captions are controlled through a menu system activated using a remote control.

Open captions, on the other hand, are always visible to the viewer. They are burned into the video and cannot be turned on or off. These types of captions are also referred to as “baked on” or “hard-coded” captions.

Advantages of Open Captions

Although Open Captions are less common than closed captions, they do have several advantages:

  • They are supported by all video players and devices.
  • They give the publisher complete control over presentation of the captions.
  • They ensure that captions will always be visible in scenarios where viewers are unlikely to hear the sound track (e.g. noisy environments) or where the sound is intentionally muted (e.g. airports).

How to Order Open Captions

Open captions are available at no extra charge as part of Speechpad’s Premium Captions service. Before placing your order, you’ll need to contact us to advise that you want open captions. We’ll need to know the font style and size, as well as the location and dimensions of the caption box. You’ll be able to specify things like:

  • font family
  • font color
  • font size
  • background color and opacity
  • text alignment (e.g. left-justified or centered)
  • location, width, and height of caption box

Once we have the details, we’ll configure your account to produce a version of the video you uploaded with the captions burned-in the style you requested. You’ll be able to download the video with open captions right from our website, or for bulk orders, we can put them on an FTP server for you. It’s important to keep in mind that the video you receive from us will be the same resolution as the video you uploaded to us, so you should upload your highest quality version. We support most common web video formats, including MPEG (.mpg), MPEG-4 (.mp4), Flash (.flv), QuickTime (.mov), Windows Media Video (.wmv), Audio Video Interleave (.avi), and RealVideo (.rm).

You’ll be able to download the closed captions as well, which gives you the flexibility to support user-selectable captions in scenarios where that may be more appropriate.


The following video includes open captions produced by Speechpad:

For comparison purposes, the following example shows the same video with closed captions. After you begin you playing the video, click the “CC” on the video player to turn the captions on. The captions will render in the default style determined by your browser.