Typography impacts mood so it is worth considering custom subtitle styles to influence how your audience feels. Let's take a look at the most common subtitling styles.
This is the most 'traditional' subtitling option, featuring a standard white font (normally Arial, Helvetica, or Sans-Serif font family) with a drop shadow on two lines. For a 1080p video, the font is typically 50px-60px. Note that it's not always the best style if scenes have light backgrounds.
We recommend this option for the majority of our customers. As you can see, with the black opacity box, the text is much clearer on bright backgrounds and equally will stand out on dark backgrounds. It's also not intrusive.
This is a valid style option for online and web video content at 720p and above only. A single line of subtitles is outside the title-safe area, meaning the text may appear cut off if broadcast on older or lower-resolution monitors.
Like style option 3, except the black bar fits the screen's full width. By default, the black bar stays on screen even when the subtitles are not present, but it's best practice to turn off the bar if there is more than one second of space between subtitles. The black bar can be opaque or solid.
Like options 2 and 4 combined, the black bar can be solid or opaque and typically on the screen throughout the video. This is a popular option to cover an new burnt-in subtitle layer.
We can fulfil any custom subtitle styles and specifications. We know this is important to brands or for projects with a more creative flare. We can change colours, fonts and backgrounds.
Custom subtitle styles may require additional video editing time due to the customization involved. Almost anything is possible. Remember, we can also re-position individual subtitles to avoid overlap with new video graphics, such as lower-thirds with the title and name of a speaker.
Remember, the video player controls the appearance of Closed Captions, and limited customisation options are available. Even high-end streaming services like Netflix or Amazon don't offer much control.
In contrast, hard-coded subtitles—or Open Captions— can be created using any fonts, colours and placement you can imagine. You get complete control of the style and tone. The only negative is you can't turn open captions off.
The subtitling style guide here provides examples of the most commonly requested subtitle style options for open captions. Business customers are used to tailoring subtitles to match brand guidelines, but open captions are also excellent for indie films and channels dedicated to a specific language market.
Still unsure if open captions are the best option? Learn more in our blog: Closed Captioning vs Subtitles. Or contact us for recommendations.