Adding Captions and Subtitles in iMovie Apple iMovie

Apple's iMovie didn't fall far from the tree, combining clean design and user-friendly capabilities in a video editing platform available for iOS and macOS customers. For companies and individual users of iMovie, the content creation comes first, followed by the question of how to make their video more accessible and ensure they are following Accessibility Laws. Whether intrinsically motivated to their core to follow best practices or trying to keep their company from getting a tart-tasting lawsuit, users have been paying close attention, adding captions and subtitles to videos prior to publishing. While iMovie doesn't provide users the ability to upload caption files, video editors hoping to make their work more accessible to viewers can choose to DIY -  manually entering captions into frames of their movie. Or, they can make this process as sweet as Apple pie; letting a company with captioning technology do the work for them while they sit back and enjoy their just desserts.

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Adding Captions in iMovie for the DIY-ers

For the occasional videographer with limited speech in their videos, the process we’ve outlined below will work for you, allowing you to manually enter captions to frames of your movie.

Gif of Adding Captions in iMovie


Import your video to iMovie by clicking File > Import Media and selecting the file from your computer.


Drag your file down to Timeline to begin editing.


Click on ‘Titles’ Menu option at the top of the page.


Select title which most closely matches where you would like the caption to live on the frame.


Drag the title down to the timeline, positioning the caption most closely aligned with the speaker.


Once the caption is placed in the Timeline, remove excess text boxes.


Edit the remaining text box which will be your videos caption to reflect what the speaker is saying.


Make sure you play this back to ensure the caption aligns with the speaker.


Edit as necessary, repeating this process for all moments in the video that require captions.


Export the finished video to Youtube, Facebook, Vimeo or utilize one of the other options iMovie offers in the upper right hand corner of the page.

Utilizing 3Play Media's Captioning Solution

We deliver competitively priced closed captions and transcripts that are word-to-word time-synchronized and more than 99% accurate, even in cases of poor audio quality, multiple speakers, difficult content, or accents. After your media files have been uploaded to our system they are processed by professional transcriptionists who leverage our advanced technology, process, and workflow. Below we’ve outlined what this process looks like.

Step 1 - Create or Upload a Video Transcript

Begin by logging into your 3Play Media account.

From the Upload tab at the top of the screen, select the method you are going to use to upload your video – From ComputerFrom LinksFrom Linked Account, or Cloud Storage. Next, upload the video you you exported from iMovie and follow the prompts.


Download Your Video PLayer Accessibility Checklist ➡️


Uploading a file to 3Play Media's Account System

If you already have a transcript…

If your video already has a transcript, you can simply align that transcript with the video to create captions.

After uploading your video, select Alignment in Options and follow the on-screen prompts.

Selecting Alignment in 3Play Media's Account System

If you do NOT have an existing transcript…

You’ll need to order transcription and captioning.

Upload your video, and select English Transcription and Captioning in Options and follow the on-screen prompts.


You’ll receive an email when transcription is complete.

Ordering Captions in 3Play Media's Account System

Step 2 – Order Caption Encoding

Once your video transcript is ready, click on the file, go to Order > Caption Encoding. Click Next and follow the on-screen prompts.


Similarly, if you want to create captions for an MP4 video you’ve already transcribed in your 3Play Media account, just click on the file, go to Order > Caption Encoding. Click Next and follow the on-screen prompts.

You’ll receive an email when the caption encoded video is ready to download.

caption encoding ordering in 3Play Media's Account System


3Play Media offers integrations with over 20 leading video platforms, players, and lecture capture systems. This simplifies the workflow and automates the captioning process. In many instances, the caption encoded video you just ordered would be dropped back into your video platform, player, or lecture capture system.