How to Generate AI Captions

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  • Alex Lefkowitz
    (Author)

    Alex Lefkowitz is the founder and CEO of Tasty Edits. He holds a BA in Entrepreneurship and is an experienced video editor, having edited hundreds of videos for dozens of creators before starting his own video editing company. Since launching Tasty Edits, he has directly managed thousands of video and thumbnail orders. Now, he draws on his experience working with professional creators to write about video editing, the creator economy, and video marketing. You can also read his work on Hackernoon and Medium. Plus, he's contributed several expert opinions in interviews and articles as a guest on platforms like Jotform.

    View all posts

Generative AI has become incredibly useful to content creators.

From finding content ideas, to structuring video scripts and increasing the quality of video edits, AI has been a game changer.

This is also true when it comes to captions. Here’s how to generate AI captions and harness them to elevate your content.

Contents

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What Are AI captions?

First off: What are AI captions? 

The term is used to describe two different things: 

  • Captions for posts that include graphic elements, for instance on Instagram
  • Video captions, as in subtitles (and more)

When it comes to video, the words captions and subtitles are sometimes used interchangeably, though subtitles typically include translations but no descriptions of background sounds. 

There’s also the difference between open and closed captions. Open captions (OC) cannot be turned off. They’re always in view – think of a TikTok video that integrates captions as a graphical element. Open captions are “burned in”, that is, they’re part of the actual video.

With closed captions (CC), in contrast, you have the choice to switch them off – as on most YouTube videos. You might even be able to switch between different versions.

Today, AI can generate all of these different types of captions, though there are a couple of things to keep in mind. 

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How does AI captioning work?

AI captioning works the same way as any AI workflow: The AI takes a huge amount of training data, analyzes it, and then learns to imitate it. 

For Instagram captions, for example, it takes successful posts by a large variety of people and brands and analyzes the different types of captions with regard to tone, emoji and hashtag use, and topic. Then, it can suggest captions for an image you provide. Often, you can also specify details like how formal or playful you want your captions to be. 

For video captions, things are a little more complex. Here, natural language processing (NLP) models come in. They have been trained to recognize human speech patterns and to transcribe them. 

This is a tricky task due to the massive variety of languages and accents out there, as well as varying sound quality and background noise. Not to mention words and phrases that aren’t part of the standard vocabulary, such as archaic words, last names, geographical locations, or specialized jargon.

YouTube’s auto-generated captions struggle when accents are mixed or uncommon terms are used. The series Downton Abbey, for instance, includes a mix of Yorkshire, upper class English, and American accents, and tons of 1920s terms. Here, “ladyship” quickly becomes “leadership”, and “luncheon” turns into “launching”.

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Which AI generates video captions?

For both social media posts and video captions, there’s a huge variety of tools out there that can generate captions. However, not all of them are created equal, and typically the highest-quality captions are created by paid tools, since those have larger training datasets and better quality control. 

For social media captions, one of the best free tools out there is by Ahrefs, a huge SEO platform. You can upload an image, select your caption style, and get some great suggestions. 

Another fantastic free tool is the caption generator by Hootsuite. This one also works in French, German, Spanish, and Italian. 

When it comes to video captions, there’s YouTube’s inbuilt caption generator, though as we’ve seen it can be fairly limited – despite its gigantic dataset. 

While there are some specialized tools for generating video captions online, the best AI caption generators come with professional video editing tools

Adobe Premiere Pro in particular has a solid caption generator. More precisely, you can generate video transcripts that you can then turn into open or closed captions. 

Using a video editing suite’s own tools is very handy, because they’ll allow you to do a lot more than just double-check that everything is correct: You can also to polish up the visuals and integrate your captions beautifully into your video.

Generating Captions with Premiere Pro

Let’s quickly run through the process of creation captions from the source audio with Adobe’s pro video editing software.

Should I use AI to generate captions?

In short, yes. 

Captioning your content is essential in 2024, especially for video. 

For one thing, data shows that YouTube’s algorithm takes captions into account when ranking content for certain keywords. For another, 92% of people watch video with the sound turned off on their mobile phones – and mobile use makes up 55% of all internet traffic

Plus, AI is an incredible time saver. Instead of wracking your brain for caption ideas or wasting hours manually transcribing videos, you instantly get a great basis to work with. 

However, that’s how you should see the output of AI – a basis on which to improve. You still need to double-check the results, especially in the case of video captions when you’ve got significant background noise or speakers with non-standard accents. You need to pay attention to things like getting brand names right, too.

The bottom line? As in so many other cases, AI is a fantastic tool to save time and make your life easier – but don’t use AI results without giving them a thorough look for quality control.

FAQs

When it comes to social media captions, both Ahrefs and Hootsuite offer free caption generators. Video captions are generated by YouTube itself, as well as by video editing software like Adobe Premiere Pro.

The best caption generator for video is Adobe Premiere Pro. Premiere will actually generate a video transcript that you can then check over and turn into open or closed captions. 

The AI takes a huge training dataset and identifies successful patterns. For Instagram captions, that means pinpointing what captions get the most engagement and imitating them. For video captions, AI uses natural language processing to identify verbal patterns and transcribe natural speech. 

AI captions can either mean captions on social media posts, for instance on Instagram. Or they can refer to AI-generated captions on videos. 

AI is a great way to find inspiration for social media captions, and to provide a basis for video captions. However, you still need to do a manual quality-check, especially if, in a video, you have a lot of background noise or people speaking different accents. 

Author

  • Alex Lefkowitz

    Alex Lefkowitz is the founder and CEO of Tasty Edits. He holds a BA in Entrepreneurship and is an experienced video editor, having edited hundreds of videos for dozens of creators before starting his own video editing company. Since launching Tasty Edits, he has directly managed thousands of video and thumbnail orders. Now, he draws on his experience working with professional creators to write about video editing, the creator economy, and video marketing. You can also read his work on Hackernoon and Medium. Plus, he's contributed several expert opinions in interviews and articles as a guest on platforms like Jotform.

    View all posts