Adding Closed Captioning to Videos

Posted on 11/22/2011 5:21:00 PM

We offered Honeymoon Slideshow to our wedding customers. It features closed captioning of the photos at their honeymoon. This is how we implement closed captioning to the video on DVD/Bluray/YouTube.

There're many tools out there to add closed captioning to video through NLE. Some closed captioning text "burn-in" method isn't an ideal sollution. The same text size might not be legible in both SD video and HD video. closed captioning should also support multiple languages/channels selectable by viewers.
Final video products can be distributed through DVD/BluRay authoring. Online video streaming is a popular way to distribute the final product. closed caption is a built-in feature for DVD and BluRay player. YouTube (but not vimeo) also support supports closed captioning. We also offer the Honeymoon slideshow hosted at our web site using Flash video linked to an external XML file. Here's the way we prepare video with closed captioning functionality.

Closed Caption Background Color

DVD/BluRay closed caption text has a black outline around. It makes it easier to read no matter the text is displayed on a light or dark background.
YouTube Closed Captioning style is customizeable. It cannot display transparent background. Thus, white text on black background would be the default selection.

Because the difference in control of different player's CC output, we lay a gradient dark shade at the bottom of the video. In that case, the closed caption text would be easier to read. You can download this sample layer below.


Text Script

All these different platforms have different text script formats. Here's the 0three that we used (example below shows the first 3 entries).
00;00;14;00 00;00;18;00 Private jet from San Juan to the British Virgin Islands
00;00;19;00 00;00;23;00 View from the short flight
00;00;24;00 00;00;28;00 Ferry ride from Tortola to Virgin Gorda

00:00:14,00 --> 00:00:18,00
Private jet from San Juan to the British Virgin Islands
00:00:19,00 --> 00:00:23,00
View from the short flight
00:00:24,00 --> 00:00:28,00
Ferry ride from Tortola to Virgin Gorda

Flash Player XML File
< p begin="00:00:14.00" dur="00:00:04.00" style="1" >
Private jet from San Juan to the British Virgin Islands
< /p >
< p begin="00:00:19.00" dur="00:00:04.00" style="1" >
View from the short flight
< /p >
< p begin="00:00:24.00" dur="00:00:04.00" style="1" >
Ferry ride from Tortola to Virgin Gorda
< /p >


One Input Export Three

All the above 3 formats uses different timecode styles to control the timing and duration of the CC text display. We use an Excel spreadsheet to format the timecode to the style it is required. In that case, we only need to enter the timecode and closed caption text once, then select certain columns from the Excel sheet to save to each text script file (.txt format).


Encore Import Text Script

Once you prepared the text script file output from the Excel sheet into a single .txt file, you can import the text script in Encore. Right at the time line underneath the video track, right click on Subtitle 1: and select Import Subtitles, Text Script.

You will also need to turn on closed captioning for that video track in Encore if you want the closed captioning to be displayed automatically. Otherwise, viewer has to use their remote control to turn CC on.

YouTube Upload

For YouTube, after uploading the video, select "Edit captions/Subtitles" on top of the video display. Then click on the button "Add New Captions or Transcript". Select your text script exported from the Excel sheet then Upload.


Flash Video Player XML Linking

There is no standard procedure for the Flash Video Player XML Linking. It is depends on how your Flash Player is written and designed. However, this is a typical XML Script you can reference to,
< ?xml version="1.0" encoding="UTF-8"? >
< tt xml:lang="en" xmlns="" xmlns:tts="" >
< head >
< styling >
< style id="1"
tts:textOutline="black 3px 3px"
< /styling >
< /head >
< body >
< div xml:lang="en" >
< p begin="00:00:14.00" dur="00:00:04.00" style="1" >Private jet from San Juan to the British Virgin Islands< /p >
< /div >
< /body >
< /tt >

View the Results

You can view the resulting videos here
YouTube with CC
Flash Video at


Free to download the overlay file and all text scripts below.
Download closed Captioning Files
This is a high level overview on how we achieve closed captioning in our video projects. You can download all the files we referenced here. If you have more questions, feel free to leave comments below. We will try to answer your question.



Posted by phillius on 11/22/2011 10:31:00 PM Great article! I am Deaf and this is valuable information you are sharing with all of us.. thank you!!

Replied by LA Color Pros Close captioning is also important for people who are not watching video in their native language too. I'm glad you like the article.
Posted by Bueno App on 11/23/2011 2:01:00 AM Personally I've used ANNOTATION EDIT.. and I used about 5 different subtitling tool, but that was the only one that had the keyboard shortcut needed to move around quickly and efficiently, it allows for easy integration of the subtitle while watching the video/audio at the same time, and even seeing the applied subtitles in real time. It has various ways to ensure your titles is not too long/short, etc...
I created the subtitles in English/French for a full feature documentary called Dust & Illusions. A friend created the Japanese version. It works well, doesn't crash, and is still in active support, meaning that the tool doesn't become obsolete once a new version of your OS comes out.
my 2 cents.

Replied by LA Color Pros Thanks for sharing the info.
Posted by GeorgeS on 5/22/2013 10:00:00 PM Very useful tips, & thanks for the Excel & I'll have a look at Annotation edit, though will avoid the $245 version I think.
I use Media Subtitler for spotting, Aegisub for fine tuning & config (to .ass), also Subtitle Edit & VSS, then Avidemux for encoding (.mp4, .mov, etc.)or VirtualDub/Expression Encoder for .wmv. As well as Adobe Creative Suite, but for virtually anything other than subtitling... and various Excel & Word macros along the way.

Replied by LA Color Pros George, thank you for your message. If you have any comment or suggestion to improve the process, please feel free to comment.
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