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One of the changes we’ve seen to video over the last few years are people are consuming content on Social Media channels and they have the volume turned down. Which has meant that captions on video has become more and more important. So in this¬† post we’re gonna look at a really simple quick process for adding captions to your videos.

Understanding captions

The first thing that’s worth knowing is the difference between Closed Captions and Open Captions. Closed Captions are like you see on a DVD player or on YouTube with a little CC button that you can switch on and off and they allow people to switch subtitles on and off so that you can choose whether you watch the subtitles on that video or not. Open Captions are burnt permanently into the video. In other words you can’t turn them on or off. It doesn’t matter what device you watch that video on, it’s going to come up at the bottom with the captions embedded into that video.

So what we’re going to be doing in this post is creating Open Captions, and the reason why we’re doing that is because lots of social channels including LinkedIn don’t have the facility to turn on and off those captions using the Closed Captions option.

Creating an SRT File

The next thing you’re gonna have to do then is generate the SRT file which is the subtitles file which you’re gonna embed in that video. Now I’ve looked at a few different ways of doing this. I’ve tried to find a free way of doing it. YouTube rather brilliantly
allows you to use Google’s Voice Recognition to actually generate an SRT file automatically. However, really frustratingly, the way that they deliver that is no good for this process and I won’t go into it in too much detail. But basically it’s a scrolling
system which means that you can’t actually do anything with that SRT file which is infuriating, bad Google, naughty Google, fix that one please!

As a side note you can use that Google Voice Recognition to do transcriptions we’ve got a separate video on the YouTube channel which talks a little bit about that so you can click on the link and follow to that video as well.

The second option you’ve got is to create the SRT file in an editing suite, again that’s gonna be really time consuming you’re gonna have to transcribe it and then you’re gonna have to put in all the timings and that’s a really really long winded way of doing it as well.

So I’ve opted for the third option, which is a paid option and it’s with a site called Rev.com. So using this site is gonna cost about $1 per minute for the length of the video so for a standard social media video of three or four minutes you’re looking at literally
just a couple of quid. That’s not just giving you the transcription, that’s giving you the SRT file and actually what that means is that all of that text is timed exactly to your video. Which frankly is gold dust, they will deliver that file to you in sometimes an hour, they say a maximum of 24 hours.

It’s really really simple, you just go on to the site, if the video’s already uploaded onto YouTube you send them the link otherwise you send them an upload file, they process it and they send you back the SRT file. It’s dead simple.

Burning the SRT into the Video

Once you’ve got that file, the second part of this process is even simpler you need to download a program called HandBrake this is a free program that you can get on both Mac and PC. And HandBrake is a video encoding program, now there’s a lot of different settings in HandBrake. You don’t need to pay attention to 99% of them.

  • All you need to do on HandBrake is click on source and open up your video file.
  • The next thing you need to do is click on the subtitles tab and click Import SRT you need to navigate to the file that Rev.com has sent you and then one more box to tick.
  • You just need to tick the box that says burn in and that’s just gonna burn those subtitles into that video.
  • After that you just need to select a destination and then click start, your video will output to that source directory and it will have the subtitles burnt into it.

All you then need to do is upload it to the channel of your choosing and hey presto your video’s got subtitles. Incidentally if you do need to make minor adjustments to that file that comes from Rev.com, if they don’t get it quite right, or if you need to make a few changes it’s a fairly simply text file. You can open it up in any text editor make the adjustments and save it and you should be able to just use that as you would do normally.


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