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How to Create a SRT File

  • How to Create a SRT File

    A “SubRip Subtitle” file, also known as SRT (.srt), is one of the most common subtitle/caption file formats used. It originated from the DVD-ripping software SubRip, which “rips” (extracts) subtitle and timings from videos. In captioning, a text file format is used, which you can easily create using TextEdit (on a Mac) or Notepad (on a Windows PC).

    What are the parts of a SRT file?

    An SRT file consists of four parts:

    1. The number of the caption frame in sequence
    2. Beginning and end timecodes for when the caption frame should appear
    3. The caption itself
    4. A blank line to indicate the start of a new caption sequence

    The time format used is hours:minutes:seconds,milliseconds, with the milliseconds rounded to 3 decimal places. Each timestamp is separated by a two-hash arrow (“– –>”) and a blank line before the next caption sequence.

    Parts of a SRT File

    Why should I use a SRT file?

    A SRT file is the easiest format to use to create your own captions.

    Most media players, lecture capture software, and video recording software are compatible with SRT caption files.

    Some of the most common platforms are:

    How to create your own SRT file

    The first step in creating a SRT file is to create the transcript for your video. Use the instructions below to create your own SRT file from scratch. Depending on the operating system you use (Mac or Windows PC), the instructions are slightly different.

    If you use a Mac...

    1. Open a new file in TextEdit.
    2. To begin, type a “1” to indicate the first caption sequence, then press “enter.”
    3. 1

    4. Enter the beginning and end timecode using the following format:

      hours:minutes:seconds,milliseconds – –> hours:minutes:seconds,milliseconds
      timecode

      Then press “enter.”

    5. In the next line, begin your captions. Try to keep a 32-character limit, with 2 lines per caption so that the viewer doesn’t have to read too much and the caption doesn’t take up too much space on the screen. Also make sure your captions are compliant with captioning guidelines.*
    6. After the last text line in the sequence, press “enter” twice. Make sure to leave a blank line to indicate a new caption sequence.
    7. caption and blank line

    8. Below the blank line, type “2” and begin your second caption sequence following the SRT captioning format.
    9. Repeat the steps until you have a completed transcript.
    10. Completed transcript

    11. To save your file as an .srt, first go to Format → Make Plain Text, or use the keyboard shortcut: Shift + Command + T.
    12. Changing To Plain Text

    13. Next, go to File → Save
    14. Under “Save As,” type the name of your file, but switch “.txt” to “.srt
    15. Uncheck both “Hide Extension” on the bottom left hand side of the menu, and “If no extension is provided, use “.txt””.
    16. Saving on Mac

    17. Then hit save.
    18. Congratulations! Now you are ready to upload your captions.

    If you use Windows...

    1. Open a new file on Notepad.
    2. To begin, type a “1” to indicate the first caption sequence, then press “enter.”
    3. 1

    4. Enter the beginning and end timecode using the following format:

      hours:minutes:seconds,milliseconds – –> hours:minutes:seconds,milliseconds
      timecode

      Then press “enter.”

    5. In the next line, begin your captions. Try to keep a 32-character limit, with 2 lines per caption so that the viewer doesn’t have to read too much and the caption doesn’t take up too much space on the screen. Also make sure your captions are compliant with captioning guidelines.*
    6. After the last text line in the sequence, press “enter” twice. Make sure to leave a blank line to indicate a new caption sequence.
    7. caption and blank line

    8. Below the blank line, type “2” and begin your second caption sequence following the SRT captioning format.
    9. Repeat the steps until you have a completed transcript.
    10. Completed transcript

    11. To save, go to File → Save.
    12. Under “File Name,” type the name of your transcript using “.srt” at the end.
    13. Under “Save as type:” select “All Files.”
    14. Save As SRT

    15. Then hit save.
    16. Congratulations! Now you are ready to upload your captions.

    *For more information on captioning guidelines refer to the following white papers:

    How to upload your SRT file

    Depending on the media player, lecture capture software, and video recording software you choose to upload your video, the process to upload your SRT file will be different. Use the following 3Play Media guides to learn how to upload your caption file.

    DIY SRT Creation vs YouTube set timings

    So, if you want to caption your own videos, creating a SRT file is an easy and free way to do it. The only downfall is that you have to create your own timecodes, which makes DIY captioning more time consuming.

    One way to avoid setting your own timecodes is to use YouTube. YouTube’s captioning tool allows you to choose a video from your YouTube account and manually add the captions to the file. The benefit of this tool is that it sets the timing for you, so unlike in a SRT file, you do not need to add the timecodes. The tool automatically syncs what’s spoken in the video, allowing you to save some time in captioning.

    How long it will take to caption a video depends on the length of your video, your experience captioning videos, and the quality of the video. Typically, if you are an experienced transcriptionist, a five-minute video can take 5 to 10 times the length of the video, or 25-50 minutes total. If you create your own timecodes through a SRT file, this may take longer.

    But don’t let the time it takes to create captions keep you from adding captions to your videos. There are numerous benefits to captioning your videos, such as improving your SEO and opening up your content to new audiences, from viewers who are deaf/hard of hearing, to viewers who know English as a second language, to viewers who simply enjoy using captions.

    Though many people choose to create their own captions to save on costs, if you are captioning many videos or your videos are long, consider hiring a captioning service. With a captioning service, you do not need to worry about timecodes or making sure your captions are compliant with the laws. A good captioning service will take care of all the logistics within a reasonable amount of time, as well as offer a 99% accuracy rate or higher. Before choosing a vendor though, make sure you research who will be captioning your videos, as well as their captioning and transcription process to understand their rates.

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    If you’re looking for top quality and reasonably priced captions or transcripts, check out our pricing and get started with 3Play today!

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