If you just jumped in, we’ve been covering a workflow for captioning digital video.
We’ve talked about the formatting and stylistic concerns for caption files, as well as transcribing and assigning time codes for each line of captioning in a caption file.
Today I will tell you about a solution for viewing the captions and the video together in a single file.
The technology behind our solution is called Softsubbing. Like Closed Captions, Softsubs provide a way to turn the subtitles (captions) on or off.
The only problem is that there are many different video players out there, and they don’t all support softsubs.
Fortunately, this isn’t much of a problem, because we can refer students to a free video player that supports softsubs on Windows and Android operating systems. Any students using Mac or iOs devices can use the Quicktime player to watch the softsubs.
A Simple Solution for Students
With the following workflow, you will be able to add your caption file to your video file.
This means that instead of having your student sort and match the appropriate two files into their video player, you can just send them the video file and the captions are automatically packed inside.
Handbrake is a free program (with a tasty looking logo) for converting video from a wide range of formats to modern widely supported formats. It also happens to be an excellent and easy to use tool for adding captions and subtitles to videos as softsubs. You can learn more at the Handbrake website (https://handbrake.fr/).
Handbrake is available for Windows, Mac, and Linux operating systems.
Handbrake is very easy to use, with just a few steps you will have a self-contained captioned video file.
Load the Video
To begin, select the video you want to add captions to.
You can either browse to a file on your local machine (option 1), or you can drag and drop a video file into the designated area (option 2).
Select a Preset
With the video selected, choose a Preset from the Preset Panel.
You will see there are many presets available. Fast 1080 p30 is the recommended Preset setting for most videos.
Saving the Finished Video
Now that the video is loaded and the preset is selected, specify a destination on your hard drive for the finished video.
Add the Captions/Subtitles
Click on the Subtitles tab to reveal the subtitle settings to configure the settings for your captions.
Handbrake is often used to process multiple subtitle tracks per video, and as part of an automated workflow. Because of this, it starts with a default subtitle track. We don’t need the default subtitle track, so you can go ahead and delete it.
Click the “Import Subtitle” to select your caption file.
Verify your language and character coding are correct.
If you need to make hardsubs (or Open Captions), click the BURN IN option for Open Captions that are always on.
For Softsubs (or Closed Captions) leave the BURN IN option UNCHECKED. Your video will have Softsubs (Closed Captions) that the student can turn on or off.
Encode the Video
With the subtitle settings configured, you are ready to finish the video.
Click “Start Encode” and Handbrake begins processing your video.
Processing speed will vary based on the strength of your computer and the length of your video.
Watching the Softsubs
The VLC player is a free video player your students can use to watch your finished captions when the video is finished.
The VLC Player is cross-platform, free, and open source. You can learn more and download a copy of the VLC Player at: https://www.videolan.org/vlc/index.html.
Now you have a complete solution for creating and distributing your own captioned video, using free and open source solutions, including a free and open source video player for students that supports a wide range of formats and media, such as DVD’s, audio CD’s, VCD’s, and various streaming protocols.
That completes our workflow, thanks for reading!