Captioning Your YouTube Videos with Overstream for Tech Tuesday

Many educators and allies embrace videos as sound learning tools for students.  Heck, I even find they are great learning tools for family members or just to make Lil O's grandparents happy.  With that said, if you use videos in your teaching, then it is time to dabble in the world of closed captioning, also known as subtitling.

With that said, you have two main options for captioning or subtitling....

Option #1:  The "lazy" way

Let YouTube caption for you!  You literally don't do a thing, but let students know they can click on the "CC" symbol and choose "transcribe audio."  The downfall with this lazy option is sometimes YouTube mis-captions.

Option #2:  The non-lazy way

For this option, you need to create a caption file as an .SRT document.  If you are like me and have little to no experience creating a caption file, you'll probably want to read this great round-up of captioning applications.  I found Overstream to be super easy to add captions to my "Welcome Video."  Plus, Overstream is free.  I like free.

Once you create the Overstream file, you then need to translate it for YouTube or other popular video providers.  Follow these steps once you've created your captions or subtitles in Overstream. Ready?

Then, move onto Step 3....

For Step 4, I found I needed to paste the captions into Notepad in order to create a file that YouTube could understand.

And then, save the Notepad as a UTF-8 file (weird, I know...).

Even though that might have seemed long and complicated, it really only took about three minutes to do once I created the captions/subtitles in Overstream.  Then, you can easily upload the UTF encoded file to YouTube, as an example.

Voila, you now have closed captioned - the non-lazy way - your own videos.  Or if you are like me, you added silly subtitles.

See for yourself in this 45 second video (which does not show the subtitles on my iPhone, but does on my desktop computer):

Happy closed captioning/subtitling!  Now, your videos will be accessible, suitable and in line with this FCC regulation for the 21st century.

Yay, you!



  1. This could be used for hard of hearing or deaf students, as well. Any time you post a video on youtube, you can create subtitles or captions so deaf students will be able to make use of the video also. You can make videos to introduce yourself to the class (like this one here) or to assign projects, as a tutorial, or anything else that would be helpful to your students. Subtitles and captioning make it easy for everyone to be able to use it and should not exclude any of your students.

    P. Hawkins

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