Guide for Captioning Your Videos

If you are creating videos to use in class or on the UCSC website, they must be captioned. Below are some resources and instructions for getting this done. 

UCSC uses two captioning services, 3Play Media and  For both services, their primary function is to provide a caption file. This is just a text file – it is not a completed captioned video. The caption file can be embedded in the video file or added to the video file using various methods, which are described below.

In this article you will find the following information:

3Play Media Instructions

Rev Instructions

What to Do Once You Have a Caption File

3Play Media

UC has system-wide agreement with 3Play Media for the purpose of getting media captioned.  The current price is $2.25 per minute for a 3 business day turnaround. The per minute price increases if you need a faster turnaround.  This price includes a caption file in the format you request.  If you want a completed captioned video file, you must order either closed caption encoding or open caption encoding when your caption file is ready. Encoding is an additional $10/file.

You can set up a PO with 3Play through the usual channels.  Once you set up your account, you will be able to use the 3Play Media Account System to upload video files to 3Play for captioning.

3Play Media has numerous short tutorials on how to use their service. Key tutorials are included below. These are typically only a minute or two in length.

Getting Started with Your 3Play Account

Step 1: Upload Videos to 3Play:

See the following videos on the 3Play site to get started with uploading files for captioning.  There are four options for how you upload files to 3Play: upload files from your computer, from links, from a video platform, and via FTP.

Uploading Video Files from Your Computer

Uploading Video Files via Links

Uploading Video Files from a Video Platform

Uploading Video Files via FTP

Step 2: Download Caption Files from 3Play:

Once a caption file has been created for your video, you need to download it.  Remember that this is simply a text file with the captions and time coding.  It is not a completed video file. For YouTube and Vimeo, you can easily encode the captions to your video file yourself.  More on this in the section on Encoding.  

A Note on Choosing Caption File Format:  You can choose from a variety of file formats when you download your caption file.  The .srt format is a common option.  It works with YouTube and Vimeo, as generally works well for encoding the captions to an mp4 file. Each platform should have a list of accepted caption file formats on their site. Here is a list of common caption file formats

Downloading Transcripts and Caption Files

Step 3: View and Edit Captions in 3Play:

You can check your captions after they’ve been processed to see if they are accurate.  This can be especially important in checking for correctly spelled names and technical vocabulary.

Viewing and Editing Captions is a service that provides transcripts for audio files, as well as captions and subtitles for videos.  They will also do translation.  Rev charges $1/minute no matter the length of the video. Files of 30 minutes or less can be completed in 24 hours or less.  Files of more than 30 minutes take longer, and there is no option to expedite your order.  We have found that videos of about 60 minutes are completed in a couple of days. Some 3-hour long videos we’ve submitted have taken a week.

The DRC currently has an account with Rev, so it would be simple to set up an account for your own department.  If you just have a small number of videos to have captioned, you can use a credit card to pay as you go.

Rev only provides caption files; they do not encode captions to video files and produce a finished closed- or open-captioned video.

Step 1: Upload Videos to

Go to and click on “Get Started.”  There you can choose from the following options:

  • Upload files from your computer.
  • Share a link to a public web address.
  • Pull videos directly from your YouTube or Vimeo account.

Step 2: Download Caption Files from Rev:

Depending on how your notifications are set (go to Settings to make changes), you will receive an email letting you know when your file is complete.  Go to and, from the menu, choose Order History.  You will find your completed caption file there.

Click on the file in Order History. Then click “Download” at the upper right.  A pop-up will appear that gives you the file formats from which to choose.  You can choose as many as you like.

Step 3: View and Edit Captions in Rev:

If you want to check the captions before you download, click on the completed caption file in Order History, and then click on “Preview.” You can watch the video with the captions.

If you see errors of any kind and want to fix them, close out the preview and click on “Edit.” Make your changes and save. Then you can download.  We recommend that you not make major edits as it may affect the time coding.  If you feel there is a significant need for change, contact Rev Support and ask for assistance.  Also, if you make major edits to your video file after you’ve uploaded it for captioning, you will likely need to upload it again to be re-captioned. 


What to Do Once You Have a Caption File

If you get a caption file from either Rev or 3Play Media, you have several choices in how you will use that caption file with your video, depending on what platform you are going to use to show the video.

  1. 3Play:
    • After your caption file is complete and ready for downloading, you can order caption encoding. Video tutorial on how 3play works.  You can order either closed captions (must be turned on in your video player) or open captions (cannot be turned off). Remember that caption encoding costs an additional $10/file.
  2. Sidecar file: You can store your caption file in the same folder as your video file. In some players (we recommend the VLC media player), if you store the two files this way, you can play the video and turn on the captions. Make sure the video file and caption file have the same name, for example, myvideo.mp4 and  This works well if you are just going to show the video in class, and you remember to keep the two files together. It also works with certain video platforms.
  3. YouTube: If you own the video that needs to be captioned, you can follow these steps:
    • Go to your YouTube Video Manager.
    • Next to the video you want to add captions or subtitles to, click the drop-down menu next to the Edit
    • Select Subtitles/CC.
    • Click the Add new subtitles or CC
    • Upload your caption file:
      • Select Add new subtitles or CC. Choose the language for the subtitles or closed captions you want to create. You can use the search bar to find languages that don't automatically show in the list.
      • Select Upload a file and choose the type of file you have to upload.
      • Select Choose file > Upload.
      • Use the editor to make any needed adjustments to the text and timing of your new subtitle or closed caption.
      • Select Publish.
        From: Add your own closed captions on Youtube
  1. Vimeo:
    • Add captions or subtitles to your video on the Advanced tab of your video settings.
    • To upload a captions or subtitles file, click Choose File, specify the language, and indicate whether it’s a caption or subtitle file.
    • Once the file is uploaded, check the box next to the file name to activate it. Uncheck the box to deactivate the file, or click the red X to delete it entirely.
  2. Embed captions in video file yourself:
    • This can be done using an app such as Handbrake, which is an open-source video transcoder that has an option for adding captions.
    • If you use Premiere Pro to produce your videos, there is also an option available for adding a caption. See the software documentation for instructions.