roll-up and pop-on captionsCaptions. These words that scroll across our TV screens and computer monitors are seldom thought about, yet they are so valuable. They give us information, whether we’re hearing impaired or watching from across a crowded room. We may be so used to seeing them, the fact that there’s different types of captions may slip by us totally unnoticed. But for those of us in the captioning industry, we are very familiar with the two distinct types of captions: Roll-Up and Pop-On.

Roll-Up and Pop-On captions are the two main types of line 21 closed captioning (which is the standard for captioning). Let’s break down both types of captioning so the next time you see either type, you’ll easily be able to tell the difference.

Roll-Up captioning is sometimes referred to as scroll-up, paint-on or scrolling captioning. During live television broadcasts, you will normally always see roll-up captions. Because the broadcasts are live, roll-up captions are typically verbatim. These captions scroll from the bottom or the top of the screen, one line at a time and must meet strict FCC guidelines for compliancy. Sometimes you will also see roll-up captions in post-production videos as well, but they are mainly used in live broadcasts.

Pop-On captioning, also known as pop-up or block captioning is mostly used in post-production videos and in videos on the internet. Pop-On captions also include background noises and other noises that aren’t related to what the people on the screen are saying. Synced up with the audio, they are mostly shown in blocks of 1 to 3 lines at a time and never get in the way of the important images on the screen. Pop-On captions are also “fun” captions, because all different types of fonts and colors can be used. They don’t have to meet any FCC guidelines for compliancy.

Pretty interesting, isn’t it? Next time you see captions on TV, remember all that is involved to get them there! If you need assistance with your Roll-Up or Pop-On captioning project, just contact us here at Metro Captions – the experts in realtime and offline captioning.

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