Video content tips

Subtitle safe zones for social video

Nearly every platform on social media uses subtitles nowadays. Youtube, TikTok, LinkedIn, the list goes on. Adding subtitles and captions to your videos isn’t essential but, they are great if you’re wanting to increase accessibility or to play into the algorithm.

Each platform has their own ways of uploading, displaying and formatting these subtitles so it can be a bit overwhelming if you’re unsure of where to start. For ease, most platforms now have a built-in auto caption option. But if you’re wanting your subtitles to be pre-written, in another language, or particularly designed then you’ll probably want to create your own in whatever video editing software you use, you can learn how to do that here. Once you’ve made your own you can either export the video with the captions on or upload an SRT file to the platform. You can find out more about SRTs here.

How to stay within the social media ‘safe zones’

If you’re burning captions onto your video, you have to ensure your text or graphic elements aren’t hidden by the icons and buttons. The best way that I have found to avoid this is by using a caption template PNG and overlaying it on my video while creating the captions to ensure I’m staying within the ‘safe zone’ and not spilling onto the social media icons. I’ve created some PNG templates, landscape and portrait, that you can download to overlay your video so you can see where the safe zones are and where the captions should be sat or if there might be any visibility issues when uploading your video.

The portrait template guide works for TikTok, YouTube shorts and Instagram and Facebook reels and the landscape template for YouTube and LinkedIn. Now guaranteed, one of these platforms will soon change up their layout, so take these with a pinch of salt. Once your captions are made, take the PNG off and you’re ready to export and upload your video!

By Natalie Argent

I've worked as a freelance videographer and photographer since graduating my film production degree with clients such as Virgin Experience Days and Dishoom alongside smaller scale independent artists and business owners. I pride myself on my creativity and versatility. In my spare time I enjoy raiding the charity shop for a bargain or attending gigs and festivals!