How to Create Subtitles and Captions for Videos

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Posted

An external subtitle or caption file can help greatly when it comes to video search engine optimization as well as make your video content accessible to a far wider audience.



In this tutorial we will go over making a set of captions or subtitles for a video using URUSoft’s freely available Subtitle Workshop. If you use a mac, you can download NCAM’s magPIE.



The program is simple to understand and to use. After installation, which was automatic and quick, I was able to begin using the product without even looking at the help file. There are more advanced features in the program that will not be covered in this tutorial but they are covered sufficiently in the help files for the program itself and we recommend you read them.



What you Need:


  • A finished video.
  • About 30 minutes of your time – per 2 minutes of video (varies based on how much speech and sound is in the video in question).
  • A Windows computer, XP or Vista for the program.


When you start Subtitle Workshop you are presented with a clean interface containing two empty panes (upper and lower) and several options (left) that can be set including Input FPS (frames per second) and Mode (frames or time). If you do not know the FPS of your video then don’t worry about any of that. This is for advanced use. Mode simply lets you create your subtitles based on time marks or specific frames. If you are creating titles in a language other than English you may want to take a look at the alphabet option which includes most of the world’s alphabets and change it accordingly.



The first thing you want to do is, from the top menu, select File – New Subtitle. This will inject (into the lower pane) the starting point for the new subtitles. As you can see it auto-fills three fields: Number, Show and Hide. The Text field is left empty for obvious reasons. The Number field is simply the numerical value of the subtitle in question. The Show field is the beginning time (or frame) of the video to show the subtitle and Hide is the mark when the subtitle should disappear. All you need to do is put in the text that you would like to show and edit the times.



The second thing needed is the video file. For this tutorial I borrowed some video from the Mahalo Daily video podcast featuring Veronica Belmont and the Pinball place Ju Ju’s in Alameda, California.


In the top menu select Movie – Open and navigate to the file you wish to work with. The program supports a host of formats include .asf, .avi, .ogm, .ogg, .mkv, .mp4, .divx and several others. Check the documentation for the complete list. This will open the video in the upper black pane. Now you have everything ready to go.

You can play through the video and skip back and forth as needed to put in your subtitles or captions.



uro soft



For this tutorial I decided to do a set of Closed Captions so that means I must include notes about when sounds or music are present as well as a note about who is speaking. As you can see from the example video, it begins with music so from 0:00 to 03:00 (seconds) I have it display [Music Playing] in the text field.

The first entry looks like this:



Num Show Hide Text
1 00:00:00,000 00:00:03,000 [Music Playing]


By default the program gives the subtitle a display time of one second, this can be changed at the bottom of the program. If you highlight the first subtitle the Show, Hide and Duration become editable at the bottom left of the subtitle pane. If something is grayed out then take a look at “Work With:” near the middle of the left-hand column, below FPS. This gives you the ability to work solely on time marks or duration of each subtitle as well as both. I preferred to have both active so I could edit either. Next to those fields is the text box where I typed in [Music Playing] for display.


Now we need another line to add the next subtitle. So you can go to the top menu Edit – Insert Subtitle or you can use the hotkey Ins. This will give you a second empty line. Again notice that three fields have already been filled in. The Num field logically increased to 2 and the Show field was incremented one-thousandth of a second more than the previous Hide value, in this case 00:00:03,001 and was automatically given a display time of one second.


Since at the end of the music, when the Pinball screen comes up a pinball bell rings I have made that my second subtitle again editing Show, Hide and Text as needed. Again I edited the empty text to display [Pinball bell ringing].




Veronica and Michael speak quite a bit in this section of the Mahalo Daily and so I thought it would be a good way to show some style ideas as well. For example Michael gave some longer explanations of things that needed to be broken into pieces in order to fit properly. Since when people speak they generally hesitate it gives us a fair amount of time to show each of the subtitles. I tried to maintain a standard of no more than two lines of text and a display length of 2.5 to 3.5 seconds each depending on the text. Some are displayed longer or shorter as needed.



Some things to be aware of:


  • Make sure each line is displayed long enough to be read by most people.
  • Make sure the text does not run off the edges of the video.
  • Try to break the text up into logical pieces, sentences or logical break points.
  • Don’t put more than two lines of text up at once if possible.

captions Tutorial   Creating Subtitles & Captions for Video SEO



When I was finished and satisfied with the captions it was time to save the files. I wanted to save it into several different formats so that they could be displayed by most people. So I chose the three major formats Quicktext for Quicktime, Realtime for Real Player and SAMI for Windows Media Player. Each of the three files was created in the specific format and named the same thing as the video file, i.e. Mahalodaily-MD094-short-final (.avi, .smi, etc). This helps keep track of everything as well as helps many video players automatically recognize the subtitle files.



Quick Summary:


  • Open Subtitle Workshop.
  • Select File – New Subtitle from the top menu.
  • Select Movie – Open and navigate to the video you want to use.
  • Play video to find your ‘marks.’
  • Edit Show, Hide and Text as needed.
  • Repeat until all subtitles or captions are complete.
  • Save to desired formats.
  • Name subtitle files the same as the video.
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Posted

Now I understand all the hard work behind the easy readable lines. My genuine deepest respects. Thank you for the tutorial!

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Posted

i believe that if you want to create better and easier subtitles the best program is virtual sub synch!!! believe me its the better easier way to create subs try it!!!

the program extracts the sound of the video and you can select the sound and then add your subtitles! its too simple.... look my screenshots

that window opens when we gonna create a new project (file-new project)
in the first section you pick your video(if you have already subtitles with the same name and in the same folder its selected automatic by the program)

vss2.jpg

vss3.jpg

now when we press create project opens a new window like the screenshoe select "simple extraction" and press extract.

vss4.jpg

if you want to see the video press that button

vss5.jpg

now do a five times zoom in audio to see with more details...now its too easy to add or even split subtitles just select the part you want and do a right click on it!

vss.jpg

take a quick look in you tube here



download the program from here
http://www.videohelp.com/tools/VisualSubSync

i hope this post to help you to make better subtitles in synch!:)

sorry if i have any mistakes in my english but i am from greece!:)

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Posted

I found i more useful tutorial of virtualsubsynch because if you want to create subtitles from the begging with pefect synch u must use this tool!

Requirements:

*
VisualSubSync installed.
*
An avi file you want to make a subtitle for.

1) Creating the project

Here we go, let's start VisualSubSync and choose in the menu File>New Project…
I use the little browse button (1) to select my video. Once it's done I get this screen:

t01_01_newproject.png?w=&h=&cache=cache

For the WAV file I keep Internal checked so the WAV will be extracted at the next step.
The 2 last fields (Subtitle file and project file) are automatically pre-filled, I keep them like that.
Now I click the Create new project button (2), and I get to the Extract WAV dialog below:

t01_02_extractwav.png?w=&h=&cache=cache

For the WAV file I keep Internal checked so the WAV will be extracted at the next step.
The 2 last fields (Subtitle file and project file) are automatically pre-filled, I keep them like that.
Now I click the Create new project button (2), and I get to the Extract WAV dialog below:

t01_02_extractwav.png?w=&h=&cache=cache

If our video file as several audio stream we can select one in the Stream to extract combo box (1).

For the WAV extraction we have 3 different choices (2).
In the 3 cases a peak file will be created. A peak file contain a highly reduced resolution version of the WAV file, which is used to display the audio form. Using the WAV file directly will be too slow, it will require to process a too large amount of data.
If you choose Only create peak file the video file will be used for audio preview so no more space will be required on your HD, but it's less efficient for audio preview, you will have a little start delay for example.
The Simple extraction option will just decompress the audio stream without any modification, so it can create quite big files.
I advise to use the last option Convert to reduce file size, it will create a WAV in a little reduced resolution but keeping enough quality to have a still comfortable listening.

Ok, now we are set, I now click the Extract button (3) and we just have to wait now, extraction will take 2-3 minutes.


2) The main window

Finally we are ready to start the real work, this is the main window:

t01_03_maindialog.png?w=&h=&cache=cache

The interface can be divided in 4 different parts:
(1) the WAV display
(2) controls for listening, and information about WAV display
(3) the subtitle list
(4) the subtitle edition, with the number of characters by line in the left part and the subtitle text in the right part

An important thing to remember is the shortcut used to control the WAV display part:

*
Zoom-in/out centered on mouse cursor position: mouse wheel up/down.
*
Left/right panning: middle button mouse press + mouse left/right.
*
Faster left/right panning: shift key + middle button mouse press + mouse left/right.
*
Selection: mouse left click.
*
Expanding selection : shift key + mouse left click.


3) Adding subtitles

Ok, let's add a subtitle now.
First, I zoom a bit using mouse wheel up and go to start of the audio stream using the little grey scrollbar, then I start playing using the play button or F1. I select a part of the WAV display using mouse left click and to check that I have the right part I press F1 again to listen to the audio. I readjust the selection keeping the shift key pressed and left clicking in the WAV display part. Once I'm satisfied I right click in the WAV display part and select Add subtitles (1).

t01_04_maindialog2.png?w=&h=&cache=cache

The focus is now set in the subtitle edition part, so I enter the text for this subtitle (2).
You can notice some little statistics in the status bar, like the position of the cursor, the total number of characters and the number of characters by seconds which is usefull to check if your subtitle has a long enough display time (between 15-20 Char/s seems good).

If I don't understand some words I just put some ??? you will see later why.


4) Error checking

Some time later…. Ouff I've finished typing all the text.
Lets's use the error checking function now, it's available from the menu Edit>Error checking>Check errors.

t01_05_errorreport.png?w=&h=&cache=cache

Different types of error are reported, 4 at the moment:

*
Overlapping : An error is detected when the subtitle overlap on next subtitle.
*
Too short display time : An error is detected when the number of Char/s is strictly superior to a specified value.
*
Too long display time : An error is detected when the number of Char/s is strictly inferior to a specified value.
*
Too long line : An error is detected when the line length in a subtitle is strictly superior to a specified value.

You can configure this in the preferences. Edit>Preferences…
Double clicking on a line will place you on the subtitle with the error.

When most of the error are corrected we should have pretty good subtitles.


5) Network mode

Now a special feature for people who's native language is different from the original video. (like me :-D)
VisualSubSync include a little network mode. To enable it select the menu Edit>Webserver>Start.
Give your ip address to your friend, or your domain name if you have one, and they will be able to help you by using any web browser. They just have to enter http://your-ip-address or http://your-domain-name in their browser.
You can of course configure the port used in case you already have a web server by going in Edit>Preferences…
Then to check if it works or see how it looks you can use locally http://127.0.0.1

t01_06_homepage.png?w=&h=&cache=cache

Clicking on [details] open the following page:

t01_07_detailspage.png?w=&h=&cache=cache

Here you can listen to the subtitle audio (1), complete the words missing (2), and finally submit your suggestion (3).
In return you get the suggestion in VisualSubSync by using Edit>Web server>Show suggestions :

t01_08_suggestiondialog.png?w=&h=&cache=

You can correct the text of your subtitle, and your friend will see the text modification instantly by refreshing his browser.

Good Luck!:)

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Posted


Make sure each line is displayed long enough to be read by most people.
Make sure the text does not run off the edges of the video.
Try to break the text up into logical pieces, sentences or logical break points.
Don’t put more than two lines of text up at once if possible.


Subtitling is easy ;-)

European advice:

- 37 characters pr. line incl. " -"
- max two lines
- exposure time: 12 characters/second= 5-6 seconds on-screen for dbl. lines, 2-3 for single lines
- minimum 2 second lines, avoid 1 second lines
- only single-words for 1 second lines
- spots (the distance between subs) should be 4, 6 or 8 frames in dialogue, but THE SAME to keep a rhythm
- with irregular dialogue KEEP spots, which are longer than 0,5 -0,75 seconds rather than connect them to the following (follow the beat of the editing/dialogue if possible - it makes subs invisible)
- no subs overlapping scene changes
- if subs overlap scene changes, leave long enough to give impression of necessity, and clear screen ASAP
- if subs "blink" at cuts, they need to come off earlier OR later, but preferably earlier
- if cuts "blink", subs need to come off closer to the cut OR earlier
- spotting evenly takes pro-software; manual spotting up against clips = find a frame "distance" to the cut that fits your own eyes, when your eyes are still fresh, 'cause after a while they seem to blink all the time, because you focus too much
- dialogue can begin with "- ", but is culturally based
- sub position is culturally based, but is often at left margin on TV and centered at the movies
- put "." or "..." after second speaker in dialogue - NO "-". Begin next sub with capital letter.
- Max. 2 sentences with ".", "!" or "?" in each line in two-line dialogues (more makes for longer exposure time and harder reading)
- keep recognizable words in speech in similar position to text ("En VOLVO er den bedste bil" should not be written as "The best car is a VOLVO"
- Keep suspense if possible, don't print clarifying text on screen with questioning text, unless there is no break in verbal dialogue, eg. due to scene change.
- Go for essence; examples 1. Skip 2nd person question, if question is answered in fast dialogoue, 2. skip 2nd person confirmation, if speaker continues un-interrupted, 3. keep focus on the essence of every scene, which will aid the viewer later on in the film, and dump all the rest, which there is no time for - otherwise keep it
- You can turn questions into statements and vice versa, if it doesn't break or brake rhythm or the story's inner truth
- Be very certain, when you translate the un-translatable cultural reference to a similar cultural reference in the destination language. You will be proud, when you get it right.
- Translate measurements to the destination norm, unless there is no meaning inherent in the mentioning
- Look at the movie - sometimes standard phrases would seem to need a change of polarity, in order to convey the meaning in the destination language. Example: "Are you alright?" Person nods: "Yes" cannot be translated as "Were you hurt?" "No."
- Italics are used for voices far off screen, radio, person calling from a bridge etc. or during a song. But use only in double lines interspaced with dialogue, if it does't fuck up readability or rhythm
- Subs covering up action: Move subs if necessary elsewhere on screen, but try not to; it halts continuity
- Subs for signs and the like are placed under the sign
- Abbreviations - all normal kinds can be used
- Tribal speak, tech speak and other narrow idioms is translated IF cultural emphasis equals viewer's need of understanding - but it needs longer exposure time.
- Curses and swearwords: Translate/transculturate only what is needed to describe a person and remember images often un-necessitate words
- Look up the spelling of names and 4-syllable words, even if you believe you know how to spell them!!! And idiomatic phrases, just to be sure.
- I Don't Understand What Is Being Said! Well, don't despair, if you feel obliged to make "elastic subs": Incomprehensible dialogueneeded as subs on-screen in order to not break/brake rhythm or story - but after 2 hours back and forth you still cannot understand, what is being said... Again, do not dispair: Two days later you might suddenly be able to, and your moron friend may hear it right away! Make "elastics" - you won't go to hell for it!
- Essential: Trust your sense of rhythm, your eyes, your ears and your understanding of essence in the story you are conveying. You are the maker here.

Subbing is NOT a transcription of the spoken script.
Subs are readable essence, meant to AID non-speakers.
Subs confer movie’s rhythm.
Subbing is an art form - as much dealing with essence as any other art form.
Subbers are LOYAL advocates of the cinematic artwork with a right to their own art and viewer beneficial style.

Good work is where nobody notices your work.

--

regarding software and hardware: To minimise your time and effort and maximise your work pleasure fan-subbing find an external wheel button that will let you control forwards and backwards motion fast and in increments, and set and delete spots. Find a dvd-player and software that will let you do that. And then let me know what it is.

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Posted

awesome post.

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Posted

Oh! Thank you very much alex28 for the Tutorial.
It helps alot but I'm learning. B) B) B)

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Posted

Thank you very much guys for the writeup. It's
quite helpful for use. Thank you again. :DB) B)

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Posted


An external subtitle or caption file can help greatly when it comes to video search engine optimization as well as make your video content accessible to a far wider audience.





In this tutorial we will go over making a set of captions or subtitles for a video using URUSoft’s freely available Subtitle Workshop. If you use a mac, you can download NCAM\’s magPIE.





The program is simple to understand and to use. After installation, which was automatic and quick, I was able to begin using the product without even looking at the help file. There are more advanced features in the program that will not be covered in this tutorial but they are covered sufficiently in the help files for the program itself and we recommend you read them.





What you Need:


  • A finished video.
  • About 30 minutes of your time – per 2 minutes of video (varies based on how much speech and sound is in the video in question).
  • A Windows computer, XP or Vista for the program.


When you start Subtitle Workshop you are presented with a clean interface containing two empty panes (upper and lower) and several options (left) that can be set including Input FPS (frames per second) and Mode (frames or time). If you do not know the FPS of your video then don’t worry about any of that. This is for advanced use. Mode simply lets you create your subtitles based on time marks or specific frames. If you are creating titles in a language other than English you may want to take a look at the alphabet option which includes most of the world’s alphabets and change it accordingly.





The first thing you want to do is, from the top menu, select File – New Subtitle. This will inject (into the lower pane) the starting point for the new subtitles. As you can see it auto-fills three fields: Number, Show and Hide. The Text field is left empty for obvious reasons. The Number field is simply the numerical value of the subtitle in question. The Show field is the beginning time (or frame) of the video to show the subtitle and Hide is the mark when the subtitle should disappear. All you need to do is put in the text that you would like to show and edit the times.





The second thing needed is the video file. For this tutorial I borrowed some video from the Mahalo Daily video podcast featuring Veronica Belmont and the Pinball place Ju Ju’s in Alameda, California.


In the top menu select Movie – Open and navigate to the file you wish to work with. The program supports a host of formats include .asf, .avi, .ogm, .ogg, .mkv, .mp4, .divx and several others. Check the documentation for the complete list. This will open the video in the upper black pane. Now you have everything ready to go.


You can play through the video and skip back and forth as needed to put in your subtitles or captions.





urosoft.png





For this tutorial I decided to do a set of Closed Captions so that means I must include notes about when sounds or music are present as well as a note about who is speaking. As you can see from the example video, it begins with music so from 0:00 to 03:00 (seconds) I have it display [Music Playing] in the text field.


The first entry looks like this:





Num Show Hide Text 1 00:00:00,000 00:00:03,000 [Music Playing]


By default the program gives the subtitle a display time of one second, this can be changed at the bottom of the program. If you highlight the first subtitle the Show, Hide and Duration become editable at the bottom left of the subtitle pane. If something is grayed out then take a look at “Work With:” near the middle of the left-hand column, below FPS. This gives you the ability to work solely on time marks or duration of each subtitle as well as both. I preferred to have both active so I could edit either. Next to those fields is the text box where I typed in [Music Playing] for display.


Now we need another line to add the next subtitle. So you can go to the top menu Edit – Insert Subtitle or you can use the hotkey Ins. This will give you a second empty line. Again notice that three fields have already been filled in. The Num field logically increased to 2 and the Show field was incremented one-thousandth of a second more than the previous Hide value, in this case 00:00:03,001 and was automatically given a display time of one second.


Since at the end of the music, when the Pinball screen comes up a pinball bell rings I have made that my second subtitle again editing Show, Hide and Text as needed. Again I edited the empty text to display [Pinball bell ringing].








Veronica and Michael speak quite a bit in this section of the Mahalo Daily and so I thought it would be a good way to show some style ideas as well. For example Michael gave some longer explanations of things that needed to be broken into pieces in order to fit properly. Since when people speak they generally hesitate it gives us a fair amount of time to show each of the subtitles. I tried to maintain a standard of no more than two lines of text and a display length of 2.5 to 3.5 seconds each depending on the text. Some are displayed longer or shorter as needed.





Some things to be aware of:


  • Make sure each line is displayed long enough to be read by most people.
  • Make sure the text does not run off the edges of the video.
  • Try to break the text up into logical pieces, sentences or logical break points.
  • Don’t put more than two lines of text up at once if possible.
captions.png





When I was finished and satisfied with the captions it was time to save the files. I wanted to save it into several different formats so that they could be displayed by most people. So I chose the three major formats Quicktext for Quicktime, Realtime for Real Player and SAMI for Windows Media Player. Each of the three files was created in the specific format and named the same thing as the video file, i.e. Mahalodaily-MD094-short-final (.avi, .smi, etc). This helps keep track of everything as well as helps many video players automatically recognize the subtitle files.





Quick Summary:


  • Open Subtitle Workshop.
  • Select File – New Subtitle from the top menu.
  • Select Movie – Open and navigate to the video you want to use.
  • Play video to find your ‘marks.’
  • Edit Show, Hide and Text as needed.
  • Repeat until all subtitles or captions are complete.
  • Save to desired formats.
  • Name subtitle files the same as the video.



Says, Cannot Render Media when I open the video file

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