How do I add closed captioning to my videos?

How to create captions

There are two options when it comes to adding captions to your vialogue videos:

1. Use YouTube’s “Transcribe and Auto-sync” method

This is probably the more time-efficient option. All you have to do is transcribe your video, and YouTube will automatically attach all lines to all their respective time codes. Once you’ve transcribed and “Set Timings”, you can download that file and then save it as a VTT (the supported captions format on Vialogues). The only catch is that you have to upload your video to YouTube, but you can keep it unlisted and delete it once you've gotten what you wanted. It's a clever little cheat.

Here are YouTube's instructions on how to create captions

Not enough of a challenge for you? Read on to learn how to create caption files from scratch.

2. Transcribe and timestamp manually

Creating caption files on your own is not difficult, it just takes some time (depending on the amount of speaking/cues in your video). Here's a tip: When transcribing the talking points and sound effects, be mindful of how you break your lines of text up so that they are neither too long nor too choppy.

When creating your own caption files, it will be important for you to keep in mind the following:

  • You will need to use a simple text editor and your file must be encoded in UFT-8 format.

  • WebVTT files contain cues with detailed information. Each cue starts with an ID, followed by the range of time that the text is to appear on the screen, followed by the actual text.

  • Time ranges are separated by two dashes and a right angle bracket that look like this: "-->" (without quotes). This signifies when text should appear on screen and when it should disappear.

  • Time is formatted as HH:MM:SS:mmm.

  • Cues are separated by a blank line.

Here is an example of a caption file:


00:00:02.000 --> 00:00:20.000
Your text goes here and will be displayed from second 2 to second 20.

00:00:25.000 --> 00:00:40.000
This is the second caption that will appear at second 25 and last until second 40.
This line of text will appear on the second line of the caption.

00:00:41.000 --> 00:00:42.000
[ Sound effect ]

00:00:43.000 --> 00:00:44.000
[ Slow clap ]

Notice that the file starts with "WEBVTT" as the very first line in the document. This is a must. If this line isn't there, Vialogues will report it as an error and will not upload your file until you correct it.


How To Upload Captions

Once you have a properly formatted WebVTT (.vtt) file, you are ready to upload your captions to Vialogues.

(Please note that we currently only support one track per video and all captions must be in English.)

You can attach captions from the create page or from your video's settings page.

Step 1. From the closed captions section of either page, click on the "Browse" button.

Step 2. Upload your VTT file.

Step 3. If there are any errors, they will be displayed. You will need to correct all errors before being able to attach your caption file to your video.

Step 4. When you are done, hit "Save" to retain all changes.

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