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Caption (timed text) Information

Amazon is a customer-obsessed company and captions help ensure a consistent viewing experience for all customers, including those who might be hearing-impaired, are non-native English speakers, or prefer to view videos without sound. Approximately 30% of all viewers use closed captions and 80% of those viewers aren't hearing-impaired. For these reasons closed captions are becoming a requirement on most professional video streaming sites. Caption files are an investment in the quality of your content and once created are yours to keep and use on any video platform.

What are the international captioning requirements?
All videos published in the United States must have English captions. If the video’s spoken language is Spanish, Spanish captions can be used instead. All videos published worldwide as Included with Prime must have captions, except in Japan.

How do I create captions for my titles?
Creating closed captions files is a technical process that might be challenging for some content providers. We recommend engaging a 3rd party service to assist in the creation of high-quality captions files. The following is a sampling of providers that can assist you with video captions. Amazon isn’t affiliated with, nor endorses any specific provider.

Amazon Video accepts a variety of caption formats. Please review the information in the help topic to help you create acceptable captions files.

We recommend that you submit pop-on captions (captions that appear one to three lines at a time). If you provide roll-up captions, we must convert them to pop-on, which adds opportunity for error.

What if my title has no dialogue?
If a title contains no dialogue or has extended scenes with no spoken content, captions should include a description of the foreground or background audio elements. Extended silent scenes should be captioned with [no audio].

All captions files must conform to match the video source.

  • All dialog in video files requires captions in the native language of the content. English captions are required for all titles published in the United States. For example, in a movie listed as available in the United States, all dialog in English or in any other languages spoken in the movie must have corresponding English language captions.
  • If the video source being delivered doesn’t contain localized audio, then text for both forced narrative and dialogue events must be burned-in to the video. For example, a Japanese feature film delivered for distribution in the UK.

    What are forced narratives?

  • All timed text assets must start with zero-hour time code (i.e. 00:00:00). Assets that don’t adhere to this won’t display at the correct time. For example, files that have a one-hour offset will not display text until one hour into the video’s run time.
  • When creating captions files the output file for all timed text assets must be UTF-8 encoded. Amazon Video doesn’t support character encoding other than UTF-8. For example, when working with a 3rd party captions provider, please ensure that captions output file us UTF-8 encoded.
  • If you have both captions and subtitles available for a title, we prefer to receive Closed Captions/SDH to improve the viewing experience for customers who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Closed Captions

Closed captions are timed text that includes both spoken dialogue and atmospherics for the deaf and hard of hearing. There are many different types of closed caption file formats that you can choose from when creating your captions files. Amazon Video prefers formats that support positioning to avoid caption text overlap with other on-screen text. Certain file types, such as .scc and .srt don't support positioning. The following closed captions formats are accepted by Amazon Video:

  • SMPTE-TT (RP-2052) with an .xml file extension
  • STL (EBU standard) with a .stl file extension (Spruce Subtitle file format which also has an .stl file extension not supported)
  • EBU-TT with a .xml file extension
  • DFXP Full/TTML (Timed Text Markup Language) with a .dfxp file extension
  • iTT (iTunes Timed Text) files with a .iTT file extension
  • SCC (Scenarist Closed Caption) with a .scc file extension
  • SRT (SubRip text file format) with a .srt file extension
    SRT file content information and troubleshooting

English captions are required for all titles published in the United States.

Timecodes must be in the format of hh:mm:ss,mmm with a comma between ss and mmm.

  • hh for hour
  • mm for minute
  • ss for second
  • mmm for millisecond
All timecodes contained in a closed captions file must appear in linear (sequential) order.

Subtitles

Subtitles are timed text assets that provide on-screen text of the program dialogue. Like closed caption formats, there are several types of subtitle file formats that you can choose from when creating the files. The following subtitle formats are accepted by Amazon Video:

  • DFXP Full / TTML (Timed Text Markup Language) with a .dfxp file extension
  • iTT (iTunes Timed Text) files with a .iTT file extension. iTT is a subset of TTML, version 1.0.
  • SubRip  with a .srt file extension
    SRT file content information and troubleshooting

Caption Frame Rates and Drop/Non-Drop Values

There are multiple frame rates that can be used when creating captions files depending on the type of content and standards for your region. Non-drop frame timecode means that for every frame of video, there is a corresponding timecode number. The timecode increments without any compensation. In almost all cases, timecode is non-drop frame. The following caption frame rates and drop/non-drop values are supported by Amazon Video:

  • 23.976 fps DF (Drop Frame)
  • 23.976 fps NDF (Non-Drop Frame)
  • 24 fps
  • 25 fps
  • 30 fps
  • 29.97 fps DF (Drop Frame)
  • 29.97 fps NDF (Non-Drop Frame)


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