DISCLOSURE: This is a sponsored content brought to by Rev. 

In this third part of the Rev series, we will be diving into working with caption and subtitle files in non-linear video editing software, with a focus on Adobe Premiere Pro for this article. You’ll learn how to import, style, and export captions as burn-in open captions (or as sidecar files formatted for various distribution channels). Be sure to check out parts one, and two in the series as well. 

Closed captions are a huge part of the distribution process to make your content accessible—whether you’re making a feature-length film or YouTube videos at home. With a Rev captions file, your captions come in a standard CC format ready for distribution.

But, what if you want to customize the look of the subtitles? Here’s a quick primer on the three main caption types and how they can be styled.

  • Closed Captions can be enabled by the viewer. Some customization is possible but is limited to the video playback platform. You can adjust the placement, position, or text of your closed captions.

  • Open Captions are burned-in and always visible to the viewer. They can be fully stylized since they are rendered directly onto the video itself. You can create (burn-in) open captions for your videos on social media platforms that don’t support closed captions (like TikTok and Instagram).

  • Foreign Subtitles can come in the form of closed captions or (burn-in) open captions and the same rules apply depending on how you use them.

In the following sections, we are going to walk you through, step-by-step, how to prepare (burn-in) open captions for your video content in Adobe Premiere Pro and other NLEs.

If you’re looking to quickly create burn-in captions for your videos, this tutorial might seem a little daunting. Fear not! Rev now offers an open captions feature that is currently in Beta. If you’re interested in trying out this feature, then join our Burned-In Captions beta program today!

Try Open Captions for Free

To style or burn-in captions, you’ll need to hop back into your video editing software with your captions file. But first, let’s discuss how to get the right captions file format from the Rev Caption Editor.

Step 1. Get Captions File(s) from Rev

If you haven’t already ordered captions from Rev, simply export a low to medium bitrate export of your project and upload it to Rev to be captioned. Using a smaller file size for this step will help speed things up and reduce the upload time.

When you order captions from Rev, you can open them in the Rev Caption Editor to edit, position (up or down), and download them in whatever file format you need.

And to be clear, caption files from Rev are ready to use on platforms like YouTube or Facebook. This tutorial is only intended to teach you how to further customize the look of your captions or burn them into your video using Premiere.

Consider downloading a file format that is accepted by your video editing software of choice:

Caption File Formats Accepted by NLE Video Editors

For the purpose of this tutorial, we are going to work with a .SRT file in Adobe Premiere Pro.

Step 2. Import Captions into Premiere

The next step is to take your Rev caption file and import it into your editor. Before you do this in Premiere Pro, you’ll want to adjust the Caption Import Settings.

  • Go to Windows > Captions

  • Set Import file type as SubRip Subtitle File (.SRT)

  • Select Open Captions For Video Settings

You’ll need to enable captions in the Preview panel in order to see them.

  • Go to the settings icon at the bottom right of the preview panel

  • Go to Closed Captions Display and select Enable

Now it’s time to import your captions into Premiere Pro.

  • Drag and drop the caption file into Project panel, or

  • Go to File > Import and select the captions file

Add your video and captions to a sequence in your timeline. If your video and captions don’t line up, you’ll need to sync them.

  • Select the video and caption clips

  • Right-click and select Synchronize

  • Select the timecode option in the Synchronize Clips menu and press OK

Now your clips are synced and ready to customize.

Step 3. Style Your Captions in Premiere

With your captions or subtitles in your Adobe Premiere Pro project, you can now style them from the Caption panel.

If you want to customize the look of closed captions, you can make adjustments to the following caption attributes:

  • In/out time

  • Caption text

  • Add/remove captions

  • Type: Pop-On, Roll-Up, Paint-On

  • Text alignment

  • Italicize, underline

  • Add musical notes

  • Background color

  • Text color

  • Placement (position)

If you’re not planning on burning your captions into your video, you might consider customizing some of the attributes above for your closed captions. Many of these customization options will appear on major video platforms and streaming sites when exported as a separate .SCC sidecar file.

With (burn-in) open captions, you have these additional customization options:

  • Font

  • Font Size

  • Edge

  • Line Spacing

  • Opacity

In this tutorial, we’re focused on (burn-in) open captions, which means you can adjust any attribute listed above and the captions will always appear how you style them since they’re rendered onto the video itself.

If you want to burn-in foreign language subtitles onto your project, take advantage of these customization options to make your subtitles unique and easy to read for the viewer.

Step 4. Export Your Captions in Premiere

Now that you’ve got your subtitles looking just how you want them, it’s time to export your project. Let’s review a quick primer on the different export options available in Premiere:

  • Export closed captions as a separate sidecar file

  • Embed closed captions into the output file

  • Burn-in open captions into the rendered video

If you adjusted the style and position of your closed captions for platforms like streaming, broadcast, or online video, then simply export closed captions as a separate sidecar file. You can upload this new caption file to the video platform. Keep in mind that the amount of stylization that will actually appear depends on the video platform’s capabilities.

If you want to render the open captions or foreign subtitles onto the video permanently, then choose Burn Captions Into Video. This will completely re-render your project with the captions layered on top of the video, so be sure to set your highest quality export settings.

Step 5. Upload Your Captioned Media

Now that you have your captioned media, it’s time to upload it to your video platforms of choice.

Closed captions files are accepted on most major streaming platforms (Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video). Consider uploading your sidecar captions file to these platforms rather than uploading a video with burn-in captions.

Captions for Social Media

You can upload closed captions to YouTube, Vimeo, Wistia, Facebook, Twitter, and even Twitch.

Social media platforms like Instagram, TikTok, and Snapchat currently do not accept closed captions, so burn-in open captions is the way to go.

Burn-in captions can help make your video stand out on sites like Facebook and YouTube as well. You’ve probably seen viral videos and even some movie trailers that utilize open captions to make the dialogue “pop.” This is especially important for the platforms that don’t accept closed captions yet, so open captions help make those videos more easily accessible for everyone.

Caption Workflows in Other NLEs

While this tutorial focused on working with caption files in Adobe Premiere Pro, there are several more non-linear editing software that you can use to style your subtitles. You can work with captions in Adobe Premiere Pro, Final Cut Pro, Avid Media Composer, Davinci Resolve Studio, and Sony Vegas Pro to name a few.

Create Open Captions With Rev

If you’re looking to quickly create burn-in captions for your videos, this tutorial might seem a little daunting. Fear not! Rev now offers an open captions feature that is currently in Beta.

With Rev Open Captions, you can:

  • Have your captions and subtitles automatically “burned-in” to your videos

  • Save time editing caption and subtitle files in editing software

If you’re interested in trying out this feature, then join our Burned-In Captions beta program today!

Try Open Captions for Free

This sponsored post was authored by Austin Canary, Video & Content Marketing Manager at Rev.