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 https://www.iskysoft.com. 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 http://www.synchrimedia.com/downloads.html 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 synchrimedia@gmail.com. I'd be glad to help you if I can.

If you'd like to buy Video Converter, you can use this direct link: https://shopper.mycommerce.com/checkout/cart/add/16339-10?affiliate_id=622274
I liked it so much I became an affiliate!

The direct link to buy MovieCaptioner is here: http://www.synchrimedia.com/buy_moviecaptioner.html




Comments

  1. There's a $6 Mac program called MP4Tools by EmmGunn software that will let you "burn" the captions into your video as well. It doesn't offer any controls for fonts, but it works great and you can't beat the price!

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    Replies
    1. Perhaps I did something wrong, but it would not put Hard (burned) subtitles into the movie. The only option was Muxed (soft) subtitles and although they played when I hit the Play button in the app, the captions failed to play in QT Player (both 7 and X) despite enabling subtitles. There was a subtitle track, but no subtitles would display. This was using an SRT caption file.

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  2. Thanks, Daniel. I will check it out.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Another good option to create open captions would be VideoGo by IdealShare. Here is the link: http://www.idealshare.net/how-to-add-subtitles-to-avi.html

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