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Soft subtitles are text files that live outside of the video file, but can be toggled on or off in the video player. They are created by subtitling software and exported in different text formats - .srt, .sub, .ssa, or .vtt. Currently, Vimeo OTT only accepts .srt and .vtt files to be played in the streaming player with your movie. This .srt or .vtt file will also be available for download by the customer on the watch page.
What is the difference between subtitles and captions?
Subtitles provide viewers with a video’s dialogue in written form, such as using a different language. Captions include subtitles plus a written description of what is occurring in their videos for viewers who might not be able to hear or understand the sound.
Uploading subtitles and captions
- Format: SRT or VTT
- Timecode: Must be in SRT format, like this: 00:00:07,751. (hh:mm:ss,ms). Notice that it starts with "00". Other formats sometimes start with "01". This "01" will offset your timecode for SRT by 1 hour in our video player. You can use Jubler to fix this 01 issue by shifting the time. The subtitles need to reference the Media timecode and NOT the SMPTE timecode.
- Encoding: Make sure the SRT is in UTF-8 format. That works best when displaying foreign characters.
⚠️Note: Subtitles will always appear as white, the SRT/VTT files do not contain color data.
How to upload subtitles or captions:
To add your text track files to your video:
- Navigate to Content > Videos.
- Select your video.
- On the left side, select Distribution > Subtitles. This will bring you to the Subtitles and captions setting.
Click the corresponding + icon on the right side.
- In the modal window, use the drop-downs to select the language and type (Subtitle or Captions), then click Choose file to upload your text track file.
You can repeat the above steps as many times as needed to add subtitles in different languages.
⚠️Note: If you ever replace your video, you will also need to re-upload the subtitle or caption file associated with it.
Customize caption appearance
If your viewers have captions or subtitles enabled, they can access the Customize menu within CC settings to edit font size, font color, font edge styling, background color, and background opacity. You can also access this functionality by leveraging WebVTT standards in caption or subtitle files during upload.
Your viewers can customize the caption and subtitle appearance on the player by doing the following:
- Click the [CC] button below the player and then select Customize.
The Font, Background, and Window menus each contain customizable settings. Make sure you have captions/subtitles turned on to see the changes as you make them.
- You may also choose to Reset customizations to revert the subtitles or captions to the classic presentation.
There are several ways and lots of software to create subtitles and captions for your movie, hard or soft. Check out our list of recommended programs:
- Final Cut Pro - Edit your subtitles right onto your film and export for hard subtitles.
- Adobe Premiere - Same idea as in Final Cut Pro. Edit right onto your video for hard subtitles.
- Jubler - A wonderfully free and easy tool to create and edit subtitle text files of all types.
- FinalSub - Works hand in hand with Final Cut Pro to create subtitles.
- Inqscribe - A nice little Mac & Windows app that helps you transcribe when creating subtitles.
- Kolibri - Does both hard and soft subtitle management with an easy-to-use interface.
- Aegisub - Aegisub makes it quick and easy to time subtitles to audio, and features many powerful tools for styling them, including a built-in real-time video preview.
Vimeo has a tool for automatic subtitle creation as well. If you would like to take advantage of this, you will first need to link your Vimeo account to your Vimeo OTT account as outlined here:
Any files uploaded directly to Vimeo will have automatic subtitles generated. You can then import those videos to your OTT account following these directions:
The videos, after being imported will come through with the automatically generated subtitles.
Do you have more recommendations or other tips? Let us know.