Start by creating or importing a .srt file, then adjust and arrange the captions on your timeline. Customize your text formatting to suit your needs, and if necessary, adjust for multiple languages. With practice, these steps will become second nature, allowing you to make your videos more engaging for a wider audience.
Subtitles and captions are becoming increasingly important, especially for digital content creators. They not only aid your hard-of-hearing audience members, but also cater to a large portion of viewers who prefer watching videos without sound. If you're new to using them in your projects, don't fret. In this article, I'll guide you on how to use Final Cut Pro X subtitles and captions, making your videos accessible to the broadest possible audience.
At first glance, subtitles and captions might seem like the same thing: text appearing at the bottom of the screen. However, they serve different purposes. Subtitles are used to translate spoken dialogue into on-screen text, often seen in foreign movies and TV shows. They assume that the viewer can understand other audio cues but needs the dialogue in a different language to the speaker.
On the other hand, captions display both the translated dialogue and reference other audio cues in the video, such as music, sound effects, and background noises. Captions assume that the viewer has no audio cues from the video, and instead, display all-important sound information in text form.
The process for adding subtitles and captions in Final Cut Pro is quite straightforward. It offers a simple way to edit and format them. Here's how you can do it:
Final Cut Pro offers two ways of creating subtitles and captions for your video. You can create them from scratch, or you can import a .srt file. A .srt is a time-coded transcription of the video, which will import all of the captions into the project, and lay them out in the right order. There are loads of apps and websites that offer transcription services, which can save you huge amounts of time typing out long scenes.
To import captions, with your project open, go to File > Import > Caption. Choose your .srt file, and select import. Final Cut will lay out all the captions according to the time-code in the .srt.
To create captions from scratch, with your timeline open, go to Edit > Captions > Add Caption. You can also use the shortcut Alt + C. A small purple box will be added to the timeline. If you double-click the box, a window will appear for you to type the text. You can also add text into the Inspector Window when the caption is selected. Repeat for all of your titles.
Once all of your titles are in the project, you will likely need to adjust the timings and possibly rearrange titles. When creating subtitles from scratch, you can adjust the timings as you go. Unlike video editing in Final Cut Pro, the captions are not magnetic, meaning you can move them freely around the timeline.
To trim your captions, simply grab the end of the caption block and drag it to increase or decrease its length. You can move the titles around by selecting and dragging them. Be careful, however, as they will overwrite other titles when placed on top of them! If you want to duplicate a caption, you can do so by holding Alt or Option as you select and drag the title. To delete a caption, select it and hit backspace.
Once all your captions are typed, and in the right place, you can do some basic formatting to stylize them a little more. Remember, captions are intended to be a simple solution for on-screen text. Other subtitling apps or editing software may offer far more formatting options.
You can make changes to individual captions or multiple captions depending on your needs. Select the captions you want to format. In the Inspector, you can change the placement of the subtitles from the bottom to the top and back again. This can be helpful if your subtitles risk obscuring important information on-screen like lower thirds.
You can also change the color of the text in your captions. Most subtitles will be white, but the color formatting can be helpful when creating captions, offering different colors for dialogue, sound effects, and music audio cues. Color can also be used to indicate multiple speakers in a scene. Finally, you have three basic text options: Bold, Italic, and Underline, which can help to emphasize specific parts of your text.
If you want to produce subtitles and captions in a variety of languages, you can do so using the Adjust Language options. Final Cut Pro will add additional captions for each language you choose, maintaining all of the time-codes. However, Final Cut Pro won’t do the translation for you, and you will still need to edit the text.
Select all of the Captions in the project. Right-click and go to Duplicate Captions to New Language.
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