Using SCC Files to Caption Content

By: Verbit Editorial

block of code displayed on the monitor in close-up


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Approximately 15% of adults in the United States report having at least some difficulty hearing. That’s roughly 37.5 million people. As the popularity of digital media continues to grow, it’s important to acknowledge that individuals who experience hearing loss may require additional support in order to engage with video content. That’s why it’s becoming standard practice for creators to offer accurate captions to accompany the media they post online.

Thankfully, there’s no shortage of options for those looking to caption their content. Media hosting sites like YouTube and Panopto accept a wide range of caption file formats to give creators significant control over the captioning process. While these platforms may support several different file types, creators should understand what makes each file format unique. With an understanding of these differences, it’s easier to make informed captioning decisions. Let’s take a closer look at one of the most popular captioning file formats: SCC file.

Table of Contents:

What is an SCC File?

“SCC File” stands for “Scenarist Closed Caption File.” It is a type of captioning file that broadcast and digital media producers frequently use. The SCC file format comes encoded with the information necessary to add and sync captions to a piece of video content. SCC captions are frame-based and limited to only 37 characters per line.


audio video editing software displayed on a monitor with scc file format

What is the Difference Between SRT and SCC File?

Some creators may already be familiar with using an SRT file to caption their content. SRT file is short for “Subrip Subtitle File.” SRT files are a plain text format that is compatible with most media hosting platforms. The primary difference between an SRT file and an SCC caption file is that SCC files are not plain text files. Instead, SCC files convey captioning information via code. The SCC subtitle format also has a specific frame rate of 29.97fps and a character limit of 37 characters per line.

How to Create an SCC Caption File

Before a creator is able to upload a captioning file to their preferred video hosting site, they must first obtain an accurate SCC file. SCC files can be difficult to produce manually due to their coding. As a result, the easiest way to generate accurate SCC files is to work with a professional captioning and transcription partner like Verbit.

Verbit uses artificial intelligence in conjunction with a network of professionally trained human transcribers to generate highly accurate captions with industry-leading turnaround times. After a user uploads a video to Verbit’s platform, its proprietary Automatic Speech Recognition software creates a first draft of the transcript. Next, human transcribers review the file and make corrections to improve the accuracy. This information is then encoded into an SCC caption file. The entire process often requires as little as four hours. From there, it’s simply a matter of adding the SCC caption file to a video.


a wide monitor displaying an audio video editing software

How to Add Captions or Subtitles to a Video

After creating the captioning file, the next step is to upload it in conjunction with the desired video. It’s important to note that SCC caption files don’t contain any actual video content. Instead, these files serve as a supplement to the uploaded media. Here is specific information on adding captions and subtitles on several popular video hosting sites:

  1. How to Add Captions in Panopto
  2. How to Add Captions in YouTube
  3. How to Add Captions in Vimeo
  4. How to Add Captions in WebEX
  5. How to Add Captions in Zoom

Why Captions Are a Must-Have

Closed captioning is a tried-and-true means of improving the accessibility of video content. However, the benefits of captioning don’t stop there.

Research shows that offering closed captions — like SCC captions — for videos improves viewer engagement and even increases average watch time. Captioning videos also makes it possible for search engines to crawl the text, thus improving discoverability and boosting a brand’s SEO ranking.

Accurate captions provide more equitable viewing experiences for those audience members who are Deaf or hard of hearing, as well as those with auditory processing disorders. Closed captioning can also be a valuable tool for viewers who are watching content in a non-native language or anyone watching a video with the sound off.

It’s important to note that in order for captions to actively improve accessibility, they must achieve a high rate of accuracy. Thanks to their high accuracy rates, captions that Verbit generates can help support critical accessibility standards like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA). Offering these accommodations proactively can also demonstrate a brand’s dedication to equity and inclusion.

black remote pointed to a monitor or TV

Verbit: Making Accessibility Accessible

Verbit is proud to partner with a diverse network of brands, companies and institutions to meet the growing demand for inclusivity in the media. With a full suite of accessibility tools like captioning, audio transcription, translation and audio description, Verbit supports equitable viewing experiences for all audience members.

Whether a project requires an SCC file, SRT file, VTT file or DFXP file, Verbit can help facilitate accessibility initiatives. Reach out to learn more about how Verbit streamlines the captioning process and improves the reach of digital media content.