Live Caption Spotlight: Social Media and Video Streaming Platforms

While there is no telling what the next big social media or video streaming platform will be – let alone what quirky name and spelling it will be forced to use because all the good ones were already taken – one thing is for sure: today’s most popular social networking sites aren’t going away any time soon.

And what all these applications have in common is their users’ ability to share videos in real time with the rest of the world. Which means they also share a responsibility to provide live captions and/or subtitles for the many audience members who are deaf, hard-of-hearing, or speak a different language.

We’ve already examined how easy it is to add Captionmax’s live captions to popular web conferencing platforms like WebEx and Zoom, but how do social media and video streaming platforms hold up?

Let’s take a look…

Adding Captions to Facebook Live

The Facebook Live logo.

If you want to add real-time captions from Captionmax to a Facebook Live stream, you’ll need an extra ingredient to make it all happen: a captioning encoder.

A captioning encoder is a hardware or cloud-based device that embeds closed captioning data into your live audio/video stream. Your stream will route through this encoder so that Captionmax is able to deliver real-time caption data to be embedded. The encoder will then deliver your stream, with embedded captions, to your Facebook Live audience – enabling viewers to toggle live captions on or off while they watch.

Adding Captions to LinkedIn Live

LinkedIn Live is relatively new to the real-time video scene compared to most other social media sites, but what it lacks in experience it makes up for in selection.

That’s because, instead of offering one universal interface for streaming live videos (and thus a single method for transmitting live caption data), LinkedIn Live lets its users pick from a full menu of broadcast tools – ranging from beginner solutions that won’t cost a dime to more advanced and expensive broadcast-level streaming software.

While the former options might suffice for LinkedIn streamers who are not concerned with accessibility, the more advanced options (like Easylive, Restream, and Wowza) are better suited for users who want to ensure live captions are made available to those who need them.

Like with Facebook Live (which can also use alternative video streaming tools like Wowza), these advanced LinkedIn Live streaming methods require an encoder to enable real-time closed captioning. Once you find one that fits, you’ll just need to visit the “Third-Party Tools” section of your Resource Hub to set up the appropriate technical details before going live.

Adding Captions to YouTube Live

The good news is, not all video streaming sites require an encoder to enable live captions. In fact, with YouTube Live – perhaps the most popular platform of them all – Captionmax just needs a URL to provide live captions.

A snapshot of the necessary switch to toggle on YouTube Live's settings page in order to post captions on the stream. After you create a YouTube Live event, navigate to “Ingestion Settings” and check “Enable captions” under the “Closed Caption” section.

After you create a YouTube Live event, navigate to “Ingestion Settings” (it may also be called “View in Live Control Room”) and check “Enable captions” under the “Closed Caption” section. Doing so will provide you with a Caption Ingestion URL. Copy this URL and provide it to the Captionmax Realtime team, and that’s where we’ll send our live caption data to once the event starts.

If that solution’s too easy for you, YouTube Live also provides encoder-friendly options.

Of course, there is no shortage of other social media and live video streaming platforms available these days, with plenty more surely to come. Some, like Vimeo’s Livestream, still require an encoder, while others, like Instagram Live, do not even offer any live captioning solutions (yet).

If you’re curious what live captioning options are available for the video streaming site you’re prospecting, consult its support page – or contact Captionmax, and we’ll be happy to share our advice.