How to fix Closed Captioning on your YouTube videos

YouTube has a very cool featured whereby the big fancy YouTube computer will try to automagically perform closed captioning for your videos.  In my experiences in watching my own videos, and from viewing other videos, the closed captioning results from YouTube can be hit or miss.  In a pinch, most results are serviceable, allowing non-native speakers the ability to pick up on *some* of the works used in the audio.

I normally introduce myself in my videos as “Hey there, I’m Chad Boeninger, Business Librarian for Ohio University Libraries.”  In one of my recent videos, YouTube apparently didn’t pick up on my Southern accent or the spelling of my name.  The image below shows the result:

“hair I’m sad bond” ???!?


Fortunately, you can fix these results, and the process, while tedious, is not entirely painful.  All you have to do is go into the Edit menu in YouTube, and click on the Captions link.  This will take you to a page where you can change the wording of the captions, as shown in the image below:

Much better! (click for larger)


After you have edited your captions, it is a good idea to disable the YouTube automatic captions for that video to avoid confusing viewers with multiple closed captioned options.

Remember to disable duplicate captions

The end result, is much better:

Much better, with less “hair” 😉

Now that I’ve got the first 7 seconds fixed, now all I need to do is find time to work on the remaining 15:03.  Perhaps an easier option is to download the captions.sbv file from the video and edit in a text editor, as shown below.   You could then upload the modified sbv file to YouTube, remembering to disable other caption options.

Editing captions in a text editor may save time

I’ll edit the captions for an entire video soon, and report back on what I’ve learned.

Does Flipshare degrade sound quality when uploading to YouTube?

The FlipShare software that comes with the Flip cameras allows you to do some really cool things with ease.   One of the features it has is the ability to let you easily upload a video to YouTube from the FlipShare menu.   It’s a convenient feature that doesn’t require the user to open aweb browser and go digging for the file.

The FlipShare window

The FlipShare window

Unfortunately, uploading a video to YouTube this way can have negative affects on the video, particularly the sound.   As an example, take a look and listen to the following video.   This video was uploaded with the FlipShare software.

Now watch and listen to this video, which was uploaded via the YouTube website by browsing to the raw AVI file on my desktop.

In the second video, you will notice that I don’t sound like I’m talking underwater, as I do in the first video. The sound in the second video is clear, but the first video the sound is quite garbled or hissy.

YouTube file names

YouTube file names

In looking at the screenshot above, it appears that FlipShare or YouTube does something to the file when it is uploaded via the FlipShare program.   The raw AVI file is changed into a file named Video 67, and for some reason it does not have a file extension.           This file name change could be the result of the compression that the FlipShare program uses, and the result is degraded audio that has a slight hiss.   I have no idea what causes this, but my only advice would be to upload your Flip videos via the YouTube website, rather than through the FlipShare program.