Friday, February 3, 2017

Creating Open Captions - An Update

Previously I wrote about how to make what are known as "open captions", that is, captions that are always on and cannot be turned off like closed captions. The process I mentioned was that you would export from MovieCaptioner as an Embedded QuickTime movie, then open that movie in QuickTime Pro and export as a new movie. What this would do is combine the separate text track with the video track so it can't be ignored. If the text track is separate, when you upload it to YouTube or  some other site, the text track would be ignored and you'd just get the movie and no captions.

Unfortunately, although it still works if you currently own QuickTime Pro, Apple has decided in their infinite wisdom to stop selling QuickTime Pro for whatever reason. Since then I've been searching for a replacement and I think I've finally found something. The software is called iSkysoft Video Converter. It can take the SRT caption files that you export from MovieCaptioner and add them to a movie. When you export the new movie, it combines the text with the video track just like QuickTime Pro did.

The problem I saw initially was that the text was white with a gray outline and often hard to read depending on your video. I discovered, however, that you can change the text font, color, and size, and even change its placement over the movie. Note that the placement will be the same throughout the movie. It can't be at the top on one scene and at the bottom in another.

After you launch iSkysoft Videon Converter, just drag your movie to the interface. Click the MP4 icon in the lower left, because that's what we'll export as. Then go to the Edit menu and choose Subtitles. A new window will open and you'll see the video and some tools on the right side and the Subtitle icon will be highlighted in blue. Choose the pulldown menu next to Subtitle and choose the SRT file you exported from MovieCaptioner. You'll see your subtitles on the movie.

You can click on the Font pulldown menu and choose a different font if you wish. I chose Arial Bold in this example. The slider allows you to reposition the text on the screen. I left it at the bottom.

Now you can click on the Font pulldown menu and it will allow you to change the font, the size, the and the color. I chose white and used the font size slider to see what would fit best. I ended up with 41 in this example.

When you're done, close the font and color windows. Now we're going to add a black bar for a background so the text will stand out from the video. You can download this black bar...

Don't worry about its size. You'll resize it when it's imported into your movie. Now we're going to either click the Watermark icon next to the Subtitle icon (that's currently highlighted in blue) or go to the Edit menu and select Watermark.

Now click on the three dots next to Image Type to select the black bar. It will import as a gray rectangle. Just use the grab handles and drag it so it covers the width of the movie and drag it down where your captions are. Resize the height so all the text fits in the box. You'll want to scrub through your movie at this point and make sure all the text fits. The way the software handles captions is it will keep them to the bottom as much as possible. If you have a two line caption, then the next one is a single line caption, the single line will be at the bottom of your black box with a black space above it. Just something to consider. It is more apparent when you go from three lines to one line. For best results, keep your captions in MovieCaptioner to one or two lines each if possible.

You can use the slider to adjust the transparency of your black box. By default it came in around 50% transparency, but I bumped it up to around 75-80% just so the text is more readable, but you can still see the video through the box.

Once you're done making adjustments you can click the Done button, then hit the Convert button to make your new open captioned movie. Once it's done the software will ask you if you want to open the folder where it saved the movie to. It will be in your Movies folder on your Mac (there is also a Windows version of Video Converter too I might add) and there will be an iSkysoft Video Converter folder within your Movies folder where it saves them by default.

Video Converter logoI hope this little tutorial helps you. Drop me a line if you have tried this yourself or have another solution to creating open captions. You can download a free demo of iSkysoft Video Converter from The demo will allow you to export 1/3 of your movie. Cost is currently $39.95.

MovieCaptioner logo
Also, give MovieCaptioner a try too. You'll find it's the easiest way to create SRT and other caption formats as well as transcripts of your movies. The transcription process is streamlined and only takes a few minutes to learn. You can download your free 14-day, fully functional demo from and while your there you can download a free eBook called Get Started with Video Captioning that will be helpful in learning the basics of making your videos accessible to the deaf. It is available in both iBooks and PDF formats. There is also a Spanish translation available in PDF format.

And if you have any questions, drop me a line at I'd be glad to help you if I can.

If you'd like to buy Video Converter, you can use this direct link:
I liked it so much I became an affiliate!

The direct link to buy MovieCaptioner is here:

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Adding Closed Captions to Facebook Movies

Did you know that Facebook supports closed captioning? Here's how to do it.

First, you will need to create your captions using MovieCaptioner or some other software. Export as SRT, the same caption format that YouTube uses.

Once you have your caption file ready, upload your movie to Facebook by clicking the Add Photos/Video link on your status.

upload photos/video link

Click the blue Post button. Your video will begin to upload. After your video is done uploading, you should get a "Processing" alert that will give you the option to Edit your movie.

Processing video alert window

Click the Edit Video button. It will take you to this page where you can set the description, privacy, date, and other information associated with your video.

Video Edit page

If you didn't see the Processing alert, you can always click the Options menu on your video's page and select Edit this video from there.

Alternate way to get to the Edit this video page

Scroll down to where it says Captions on the Edit page. Note the naming convention you'll need to use for your SRT file. Mine says to use "", so I had to add ".en_US" before the ".srt" on my file prior to uploading it. If you don't use that naming convention, you may get an error when you save it. That happened to me before I noticed that I needed to change the name.

SRT upload button. Caption files must use this naming convention.

Click the button to upload your SRT file, then click the Save button at the bottom of the page and you're done! Now if the captions are not appearing when you play the movie,  just click the little cog wheel icon on the video's playbar and check the Captions option.

video playbar with Captions selected
If you need an easy way to create SRT files for Facebook videos, give MovieCaptioner a try. You can download the fully functional demo to use for 14 days from

MovieCaptioner logo

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Extracting QT Text Tracks From Movies to Create Different Caption Formats

Do you have a QuickTime movie that has a text track, but you need to somehow get the captions out to create another format, such as SRT for YouTube or SCC for broadcast TV or iOS devices? Today's your lucky day. I'll show you how easy it is to repurpose QT Text tracks from movies.

First of all, you'll need QuickTime Pro, which is a $30 upgrade to the QuickTime 7 Player from Apple.

Open your movie that has the text tracks in it and go to the Window menu and select Show Movie Properties.

In the Movie Properties window, select your text track (this one has 2 - one is French and one is English) and then click the Extract button.

It will extract the text track into a new movie. Kind of weird to have a movie that is nothing but text, but that's okay.

Now we're going to export this movie from QuickTime Pro.

Choose Text to Text from the pulldown menu. I've named the new file "french.txt".

Once it exports, you'll have a QT Text file that looks something like this.

Now, before we import this file into MovieCaptioner, we're going to first save it as Unicode (UTF-8) encoding. This will fix any unsupported characters like characters with accents (a lot of them in my French file), smart quotes, curly apostrophes, ellipses, em-dashes, en-dashes, and probably a few others I'm forgetting about. This is particularly important if you intend to create SCC captions. They can sure throw a monkey wrench into the works!

Now open up a new project in MovieCaptioner, load your movie and save your project, then go to the Import menu and select QT Text as the import option.

It will pull in all the captions and the associated timecode that goes along with each one. Be sure to set your Frames Per Second (FPS) in MovieCaptioner. It's right between the movie and the caption list. Clicking on that will open the Preferences window where you can select your frame rate. 

(click the image for a larger view)

Once you have everything set you can choose from one of the many exports from MovieCaptioner including for YouTube, SCC (for broadcast, DVDs, and iOS devices), and many Web players.

Please give MovieCaptioner a try. You can download a free, fully-functional demo that is good for 14 days from Please view the tutorial videos there to see how easy it is to be up and running with MovieCaptioner in a few minutes.

Good luck with your captioning projects!

Monday, February 1, 2016

How to Add Captions to YouTube Videos

It's really simple to add captions to your YouTube videos. If you're using MovieCaptioner, just use the YouTube export option...

This will create a text file with a ".srt" file extension, which you would upload to YouTube after you've uploaded your movie. Just click the CC button under your movie...

Inline image 1

Then choose Add new subtitles or CC...Inline image 2

Select Upload a file...

Inline image 3

Choose Subtitles file and find your SRT file that you exported from MovieCaptioner, then click Upload.

Inline image 4

After the SRT file uploads, you'll see the captions on the right-hand side of the screen. Just scroll to the bottom and click the Publish button and you're done. Pretty simple. 

Inline image 5

It will tell you your captions were published... 
Now all you need to do is click the CC button on the playbar of your movie and enable your captions. 

Inline image 6

Please give MovieCaptioner a try. You can download a free, fully-functional demo that is good for 14 days from Please view the tutorial videos there to see how easy it is to be up and running with MovieCaptioner in a few minutes.

Good luck with your captioning projects!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Closed Captioning - The Secret Edge to Marketing Your Video Content

As you may know, video can be a compelling way to advertise your product or get your message across to millions of people every day. But what you may not know is that by captioning your videos, all the content in your video becomes searchable, and that will give you a huge edge over your competition that may not have captioned their videos. Closed captioning software has come a long way and it's now easier than ever to add captions to your videos. YouTube, Vimeo, and many others only require you to upload a single closed caption file to make your videos accessible to the deaf population. This will open up your market to a whole new audience. According to the World Federation of the Deaf, there are approximately 70 million deaf people in the world, certainly not a market to overlook. Not only does closed captioning make your content available to those who can't hear, but studies have shown that many hearing people learn better when closed captions are present in the video. It can help them to see the words that they are hearing, see the spellings of names, vocabulary words, and clear up confusion when the audio is not quite clear. It also allows them to know what is being said when they are in a noisy environment or even in a quiet environment when they cannot use headphones. It is also the law in many places that video content must be made accessible to students with hearing disabilities. So, if you want to increase your SEO, open your market up to a whole new segment of the population, and provide better retention of your video content, it time to start captioning your videos! Will you take advantage of the secret edge to marketing video content? Or will your competition have that advantage over you?

Please give MovieCaptioner a try. You can download a free, fully-functional demo that is good for 14 days from Please view the tutorial videos there to see how easy it is to be up and running with MovieCaptioner in a few minutes.

Good luck with your captioning projects!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Synchronizing Transcripts to Your Video the Easy Way

Let's say you already have a text transcript of your movie and you need to synchronize it. First you'll need to break them up into readable chunks if they aren't already. You'll put carriage returns in the break them into separate captions on each line. Something like 50-60 characters or so looks good usually. You can use your text editor's built-in character counters to get you in the ballpark.

Once you have your transcript broken up line by line into captions, you're ready to synchronize it. Make sure it is a plain text file and it has a ".txt" file extension.

Open MovieCaptioner and load your movie. You'll be asked to save your project right away after importing your movie.

Then go to the Import menu and select Text in Line Form.

This will tell MovieCaptioner to treat each separate line as a different caption. Once the transcript is imported, you'll see the Set Timecode button appear at the top of the interface (or access it via the View menu). If you haven't used this feature yet, see this video:

Using MovieCaptioner to Synchronize Imported Transcripts

It may take you a little practice, but it will get the timing dead on.

This works great, but what if you have a very long movie? Is there a shortcut? Indeed there is! First, you may need to increase your limit with YouTube. You can do this by verifying your email. You will also need to own the movie you are uploading (according to YouTube). The maximum you can upload to YouTube will be 128GB or 11 hours long. Hopefully your movie isn't THAT long!

Then use YouTube's Upload button to upload your video. You can set the viewing privileges to Private if you don't want anyone to see it on YouTube.

After uploading your movie, go to the Video Manager and find your movie's Edit pulldown menu. Select Subtitles and CC from the pulldown menu.

Click the Add New Subtitles or CC button on the next page.

Choose your language. From here you'll have 3 choices: Upload a file, Transcribe and set timings, and Create new subtitles or CC.

Choose Upload a file, then select Transcript (since you don't have timecode yet). Use the Choose File button to find the transcript on your computer. Then click the blue Upload button.

You'll see your transcript appear in the window. Now simply click the Set timings button and go to lunch.

The auto timing will of course depend on the length of your video, but it doesn't take too long usually. You should eventually see your captions with timecode to the left of each one. Now there's one more step - click the Publish button to make them available to the movie. This will make the CC button appear on the playbar of the movie.

If YouTube was your final destination, congratulations - you're done! But what if you need to create a file for some other use such as a DVD or broadcast captions? It's simple. Just go back to the Subtitles and CC window where you uploaded them and click on the language that you selected before you uploaded the transcript.
You'll see the captions listed again, but just above it on the right you'll see a button called Actions. That is a pulldown menu where you'll select the type of file to download.  Choose .srt. It will save the captions as a file to your computer with the timecode.
Then you can open a new MovieCaptioner project, load your movie, then go to the Import menu and select Subrip SRT. Find the SRT file you downloaded from Youtube and it will just suck the captions and timecode right in. Then you can export it as whatever caption format you want!
Hope this saves you some time if you already have transcripts. If you don't, MovieCaptioner can help you create them and when you're done creating them you won't need YouTube to synchronize them. The timecode will be there ready for you to export to many different caption formats. Give MovieCaptioner a test spin today. The demo version is fully functional for 14 days and I'd be glad to help you with any questions you might have.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Using Compressor to add SCC Captions to Video for Broadcast TV

An inexpensive way to add SCC captions to your video for broadcast TV is to use Apple's Compressor ($49.95 from the App Store). After creating your captions in MovieCaptioner, export your project as Sonic Scenarist (SCC File Only). This is the file you'll use along with your movie in Compressor.
Open Compressor, then go to to the File menu and select Add File and load your movie into the interface. Then in the Settings panel, select the proper preset that your station expects you to use. Most likely it will be something like MPEG-2 Program Stream, which you'll find under the MPEG Files dropdown menu. Just drag that preset onto the movie panel where it says Add Outputs and it should stick there. Then click on that panel to highlight it. On the right, under Metadata, you'll see a button where you can choose your closed caption file. Click that and find your SCC file that you exported from MovieCaptioner. It will have a ".scc" file extension. Once that is loaded the Start Batch button should highlight in blue. Just click that and it will render the captions to your video. Pretty easy, right? Here are the 4 main steps as outlined above. Click to see a larger version...
Once the processing is complete, you can check to see if your captions are there by opening the new movie in VLC Player (a free video player from VideoLAN. After opening it in VLC Player, go to the Video window and select Subtitles > Closed captions 1. You may need to rewind your movie and replay it to see the captions appear.

While the captions in VLC Player will look a bit different from what you'll see on TV, that's just the way VLC displays them. They will look the way they're supposed to look when aired.

 A couple of notes...

SCC files create what are called CEA-608 captions on Line 21 of the video (often called Line 21 captions). Many networks have the capability to up-convert CEA-608 captions to the newer CEA-708 standard. Although this conversion works, it does not allow the viewer at home to change any of the text properties associate with the captions like true CEA-708 captions. To create CEA-708 captions you would need an MCC caption file. MovieCaptioner cannot currently create these, but our affiliate, East Texas Captioning can. For a nominal fee they can add the MCC file to your video for broadcast.

 I don't know that a similar inexpensive solution for Windows users exists. It might actually pay you to get a Mac that can run Compressor just for this purpose.

 Another option would be to purchase the HDProQT plugin for QuickTime Player from PixelTools. Cost is $1495, but it will allow you to choose your SCC or MCC file and export the broadcast video directly from any QuickTime supporting software, such as QuickTime Pro, Final Cut Pro, or Adobe Premiere.