by Andrew Kirkpatrick

 Comments (13)


April 16, 2007

This post is subject to Adobe's Terms of Use.

I want to highlight my favorite new feature in Flash CS3 – Flash captioning. There is a new component, named FLVPlaybackCaptioning, which works in cooperation with the FLVPlayback component to make delivering captioning in Flash really easy.
Ordinarily a Flash developer drags a FLVPlayback component onto the stage in the Flash authoring tool, sets a variety of parameters including identifying the video source, and publishes the video. The additional steps for adding captioning are to drag the FLVPlaybackCaptioning component onto the stage, reference the caption data file, choose a FLVPlayback skin that includes a captioning toggle button, and publish. The captions will appear over the video.
Beyond this basic process, there are many additional options that allow complete control over the location and appearance of the captions. The captions can appear in a separate area adjacent to the video (or where ever is deemed best) and with a variety of font characteristics including different font faces which can be embedded into the Flash movie and shown even on user’s systems that don’t have that particular font installed.
The captioning data file needs to be in the W3C’s DFXP (Timed Text) format. There are already tools that help you create a DFXP caption file. MAGpie already supports this format, and other tools such as Captionate and HiCaption Studio have plans to support DFXP in the coming weeks and months. If you prefer to have the captioning work done for you, there are services that can deliver the DFXP file, including the Media Access Group at WGBH, Automatic Sync technologies, and Caption Colorado, and more providers are expected soon.
More information to come – let us know how you use this exciting new feature!


  • By christopher najewicz - 2:45 PM on April 19, 2007  

    It’s really a shame there isn’t a better open-source/free option other than MAGPie for creating caption files. While I appreciate WGBH’s efforts, the software is completely buggy and doesn’t work very well at all. It won’t read flv files or WMV – just quicktime or anything quicktime can read.

  • By Kosmonaut - 10:05 PM on April 25, 2007  

    Thank you for posting about this. It’s always good to spread the word. I blogged about this in my deaf-tech blog:

  • By Jason Berube - 4:09 AM on June 3, 2007  

    If I read this article in AST website correctly, they offer caption timing for free within 5 minutes if providing with transcript (.TXT format works).. Otherwise, it’ll take 2-4 business days to create a DFXP format file.

  • By Dennis van der Heijden - 3:54 PM on June 28, 2007  

    So can we start building a Youtube that is accessible for all on It would be a great idea having AT-devices reviews like on Axistive.

  • By Brent Robertson - 4:52 PM on July 3, 2007  

    AST’s CaptionSync is a for fee service, but everything else is essentially correct. I think you’ll find it very afforbale compared to traditional captioning. If you don’t have a verbatim text transcript, we can have it transcribed for you. Transcription induces a 2-3 business day delay or 24 hour rush transcription is also available…

  • By Cory Wishak - 2:01 PM on September 23, 2008  

    What about adding a descriptive audio track to assist the visually impaired? I have read that it is supported, but have not seen any specific information.

  • By james wachira - 6:54 PM on June 25, 2009  

    Shouldn’t the video default to the captions being OFF?
    I’m trying to figure out a way to reverse this and make the captions OFF on load. Any ideas?

  • By Andrew Kirkpatrick - 9:50 AM on June 26, 2009  

    This is configurable by the Flash author. There is a parameter called showCaptions in the component inspector – if you set this to “false” then the captions are off by default.

  • By james wachira - 5:02 PM on June 26, 2009  

    When I set the parameter ‘showCaptions’ to false, the caption button becomes completely inactive at this point and while watching the video, i am unable to turn them back on.
    Been looking online and apparently others have this problem:

  • By xhamster - 8:42 PM on July 8, 2010  

    What about adding a descriptive audio track to assist the visually impaired? I have read that it is supported, but have not seen any specific information.

    very nice 🙂

  • By Kris Middleton - 6:41 PM on July 29, 2010  

    Hi, I’m in the middle of updating my website with CSS and accessibility options. Captions is one of my important updates, and I see a lot of people online are struggling with the default captions always being on. I seem to have found a solution

    Add a seperate caption button on top of the default caption button (if you chose to use a caption button on the skin). In the caption parameters set the showCaptions to “false”, and your new caption button will work correctly.

    Its then just a case of continuously clicking the caption button within Flash until you get down to the background colours of the button, were u can happily change the colour of the button to match your skin on your playback bar.

    Works for me, I hope it all works for you. Enjoy 🙂

  • By Tole - 10:19 PM on February 12, 2012  

    Here is a tutorial on adding closed captions or subtitles with Flash CS5.5