A guide to adding subtitles to your videos on social media.26 Mar 2020 By James Atkinson
Subtitles make videos much more accessible. Not just for those people who rely on subtitles, but as most people watch videos on their phone on mute, subtitles are vital for getting your messages across.
You may be producing much more video content now as a means to reach your congregations and it's important to make the videos as accessible as possible.
Rather than produce video with hard coded subtitles (text burned into the video export), I add a subtitles file (.srt) to Vimeo, Facebook and Twitter video uploads.
These make the subtitles more accessible for those who need them and automatically adjusts to how people have their computers and devices set up. People can also turn them on and off. They also automatically adjust to the shape and size of the screen, and on Vimeo and Facebook adjust their position on screen so as to not be obscured when the play bar pops up. It generally just looks better and is more accessible.
I find the best way to produce a subtitles file (.srt) is using YouTube. It does a good job on automatically transcribing the audio, which saves you a lot of time.
Once you have a video ready to share, upload to YouTube. Once uploaded, it takes a short while for the subtitles to be automatically transcribed, perhaps up to 15 minutes. So go and make a cup of tea.
Within the YouTube Studio dashboard, click More Options. The language should be set to English by default. And once the subtitles are ready, you’ll see them appear as “English by YouTube (automatic) …”
Click them and select Edit on Classic Studio. Click Edit. Go through the text and double check it’s all ok. Sometimes YouTube misunderstands words, usually making hilarious mistakes but not mistakes you want public! The "Bishop of Dudley" is always translated as the "Bishop of Deadly". It may also cut off a sentence leaving one word going into the next time block, so you may want to fine tune this, it’s quite simple to adjust the text and timings.
Once happy, click Actions and download .srt It’ll download to your computer as a file called “captions.srt”, rename this and also change the end to “.en_GB.srt“ Facebook won’t like it otherwise. (For example: “bishop-john-subtitles.en_GB.srt”)
Now you have the .srt file you can add it to your video on Vimeo, Facebook and Twitter. If you find you need to make any further edits, the .srt file should open in Notepad for editing, rather than going back into YouTube.
For some reason the web browser Safari won’t support adding subtitles to a video, so if you're a Mac user you’ll have to use a different browser.
When you’re uploading a video, you’ll see there's an option to upload subtitles. Make sure the language option is set to English. When you’ve added the .srt you can then review them. Make sure the tick box is green where it says “English: Uploaded”.
When you publish, the subtitles should appear more or less straight away, but sometimes it takes a short while, but they eventually appear! Sometimes appearing on the phone before the desktop.
In the video settings under Distribution you’ll find the option to add subtitles. Select English and Subtitles, then add the .srt file. Tick the box so it turns blue, rather than greyed out.
Head over to Twitter Media Studio, this is a secret area of Twitter which took me several days to hack into! Try having one window open, logged into Twitter and with a second window open keep trying to access: https://studio.twitter.com/library An utterly bizarre process but it eventually let me in!
From here upload the video using Upload Media. Once uploaded, select the video and you should see the option to add subtitles. Select English and upload .srt file. From here the video can be Tweeted immediately or scheduled for later. Again, sometimes the subtitles may take a short while to appear.
If you have any queries, do get in touch with James.