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The Ultimate Guide to Video Caption and Subtitle Formats

Video Caption and Subtitle

Subtitles and captions are a textual representation of video soundtrack. Captions and Subtitles are being incorporated for most of the videos online because of many reasons. Captions are needed by people who are deaf. If the speaker of the device is low or if the video is being watched in a noisy environment, captions will be helpful. Subtitles are needed to understand the videos that are in foreign languages. There is an option to turn on the caption and subtitles on YouTube.

CAP: developed by Cheetah international, this is t he common subtitle/caption file format used for videos by media.

CPT.XML: Originated in caption embedding software Captioate, this format is used for Flash Video caption encoding.

DFXP: This is another common format for Flash Video captioning. This stands for Distribution Format Exchange Profile.

EBU.STL: European Broadcast Union developed this format and is common subtitle format for PAL broadcast media.

QT: This file format was developed by Apple and is used for QuickTime video and audio.

RT: RT stands for RealText captions and is used for RealMedia video or audio.

SAMI (SMI): This format can be used to add subtitles or captions for Windows Media audio as well as video. This was developed by Microsoft. SAMI is Synchronized Accessible Media Interchange.

SCC: SCC stands for Scenarist Closed Caption file and is developed by SubRip. This is the standard and popular format used for Line 21 broadcast closed caption, DVD and is also used for adding subtitles to iPhones, iTunes, iPods etc.

SBV: Subviewer or SBV format is the caption file format for YouTube videos. This format is similar to SRT text format.

SRT: Of all the subtitle, caption format files, this is the common file format and is generally used for adding subtitles or captions to YouTube and Facebook videos. SRT SubRip Subtitle.

STL: Spruce Technologies developed this file format for adding subtitle and captions to DVD Studio Pro. Spruce Subtitle File is the full form of STL.

WebVTT: This caption/subtitle file format is used for HTML5 media players.

While the above are few of the most important video caption and subtitles formats, there are few additional caption formats mentioned below. 


• Abode Apple XML

• AAF – Avid

• Avid DS- Avid

• CCA – MacCaption

• ASC – Cheetah International

• ONL – CPC 715

• Crackle TT


• Evertz ProCAP

• ITT –iTunes Timed Text

• Matrox4VANC – Matrox for MX02

• MCC – MccCaption

• MCC V2 – MacCaption

• Multiplexed SCC – Multiple CC

• Rhozet RT

• SonyPictures TT

• TIDLP Cinema


Captions and Subtitles are important for many reasons. Deaf people can enjoy the videos, transcriptions make the video appealing and search engine understand what is there in the video better when captions and subtitles are added and this is beneficial for SEO.

YouTube offers the creators with the feature of adding captions and subtitles to the videos easily. These can be created by using online services such as 3playmedia, Vimeo, Amara, Zoom digital, 121captions and so on. Rev is another service for creators and this comes for an inexpensive price and is a fast service for captions.

The basic difference between the captions and subtitles is that captions display any audible content and subtitles are the visual representation of linguistic audio content in foreign language. Captions are in the same language as the video subtitles are translated into the required languages. The creators need to choose between the two based on the requirement and the type of videos and the places from where they are getting views for their video.

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