Kapwing: making video easily accessible

A few months ago, after Peter Seaby’s inquest concluded, I recorded a series of five short videos to explain what had happened. I did this for a few reasons. Firstly, for practical reasons, because I was too tired to try and write a blog post and wrangle my thoughts coherently. Secondly, because I was interested to see if it would reach more people than my blogs do alone. Thirdly, because I get frustrated sometimes that it’s hard to capture nuance in writing, in a blog post, in a way that it feels a little easier on video.

I have to say while it might have been easier for my tired brain to film rather than write, I’d not anticipated the time it would take to then produce a transcript of the film, to make sure it was accessible to people on Twitter. I should thank those tweeps who pointed out the need for it to have a transcript too (much as I shouldn’t have needed it pointing out).

On the plus side I received some lovely feedback from people about the videos, and a number of people who said it made my work much more accessible and engaging.

I was sold that I needed to video more (much as I hate seeing my face plastered in my own twitter stream) but I also needed a better solution than writing transcripts as Twitter threads.

A few weeks later I stumbled across Kapwing, and my goodness am I glad I did. Kapwing is an online video editor that allows you to record, edit and collaborate on video. And the absolute cherry on top for me is that it also allows you to auto generate subtitles for video.

I created an account to try Kapwing for free. Once you log and import your video, this is what a new project looks like:

[Click on the image to see it full size and get a better feel for what’s included]

You can edit your video, and then the timesaver extraordinaire for me is to click on ‘subtitles’ in the middle of the bar at the top and you’ll end up with a screen that looks something like this:

The magical green auto-generate wand really is wizardry. It’s not perfect, but its far and above the best auto generated captions I’ve come across. It just takes a matter of minutes to edit and check it has heard you correctly, nothing compared to the time taken when writing a transcript from scratch. You can choose the font, the level of transparency/background you prefer. You can choose to have subtitles at the bottom, top, middle, anywhere you like in your video. So many options.

The end result is something like this, a video from last week on the anniversary of Laura Booth’s death:

I’ve chosen to have the subtitles above my head because I noticed that they were invisible in the Twitter app sometimes when at the bottom.

To date I’ve exported the videos back onto my mac, but Kapwing does include the option to share straight to Twitter. Will have to give that a go soon.

Accessibility, and efficiency, are both super important to me. I want my work to reach as many people as possible and I want my crowdfunded resources to be used in the best way possible.  

If you create an account you can try all Kapwing’s features without charge. The free account allows you to upload upto 250MB files, export videos up to 7mins long, publish up to 3hrs of video a month and transcribe up to 20mins of video. You can then take out a monthly or annual subscription if you need to produce more than the free version allows.

I can see how Kapwing could save lots of people, hours of time. Perhaps more importantly I can see how it has the potential to make video lots more accessible, to lots more people. I would highly recommend checking them out.


ps They also have the cutest logo too, what’s not to love.

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