Closed Captioning / Subtitles

A client of our has a standard requirement to add subtitles to all of their projects for accessibility reasons. Currently, there is no default way to add subtitles/closed captions to a 360 scene. The two options currently are:

1. Burn subtitles onto the 360 film in a 3rd party editing suite

2. Add subtitles as text objects, showing/hiding them using timed events

In the interest of time and ease of editing, I would like to request a default function to add subtitles to a CenarioVR scene. This feature must:

1. Support '.srt' files (or similar)

2. Have the option to 'fix' subtitles on screen so the user can see them no matter where they look

3. Edit the appearance/position of the subtitles e.g top/bottom of screen, font, colour, opacity etc.

This would be awesome!

Oh, and perhaps an option to add them to video objects too?

Many thanks,


Discussion (5)

The issue here is that VR in itself is not accessible. VR content focuses primarily on visual and auditory interaction, the limitations of which WCAG attempts to address.

Adding subtitles doesn't make it accessible. It just detracts from the "immersiveness" of the actual learning experience. Think of the Fendi example, were you are looking around the room for examples of situations that could lead to customer theft. It just isn't something where tabbing to a hotspot provides actual learning, we are exercising a users spatial awareness in the environment in which they are to be working in.

This is more of a customer education point, in which we need to look at the goals of what we are teaching.

Hi John,

I understand your point. But Accessibility is a core requirement for any media nowadays, especially learning content. Where VR cannot be entirely accessible, it should be accessible where it can.

If a hearing impaired individual were to access a VR course, why shouldn't they be able to experience the content in the same way as any other person?

CenarioVR is used is many different ways, not just a 'find the object in the room' manner. Different clients have different needs, and an 'immersive' experience is often not as important than the learning itself.

Subtitles are also a good solution for translations. If the English audio/voiceover in a scenario was hard to understand for a person which English is not their first language, subtitles can be a huge help to make things clear. Furthermore, if you needed to translate the voiceover in Spanish, instead of having to pay extra for new Spanish voiceover, you can add the Spanish translation as subtitles.

We have also had feedback that users access these scenarios in loud areas (hospitals) which makes the audio hard to hear, even when using headphones.

I have seen subtitles being used on other 360 projects/software and it looks presentable and not 'in your face'.

I really don't see why this shouldn't be added/considered as a default feature which can turned on/off. A high profile client of ours needs subtitles for every scenario we are to produce for them. We have worked out a custom way of displaying them in the 360 (hiding/showing text boxes) but these can be fiddly to edit.

Just a few thoughts for you.



Another idea we've come across is 'audio description' for VR. It'll be good to have a play with this!

I must disagree that VR is inherently auditory. There's no reason (other than difficulty) not to use subtitles in a (visually) VR world. I'm not minimizing the difficulty, of course.

Hi @johnb, I have recently added subtitles to a CenarioVR project. The course is to be viewed on Desktops/Laptops and has a multicultural audience of all backgrounds. The client loves the subtitles and they believe it really helps with everyone understanding the content, especially those where English is not their first language.

The process of adding the subtitles to the 360 scene involved me Showing/Hiding Info Boxes using Timed Events. This was a simple process, yet it took some time and was prone to mistakes being made. It also meant my timeline was filled up with Event Flags which wasn't the tidiest thing in the world. But hey, it works! Here's a screenshot of one of the scenes:

Every client we have spoke to recently regarding subtitles in 360 have either requested it, or have been very interested in it. No one has said it wasn't needed.

Here's a link to a promo video of the final content: