When you want to create subtitles in Video Studio, there is a specific slide type for that, the Subtitle slide. This is a particular kind of Player slide that also contains the subtitle fields and a name tag. You can fully substitute the original Player slide with the Subtitle slide (by not using any of the text fields) if you want to, but both are still available.
The Subtitle and Player slides are the only slides to this point that has an entirely custom duration – and this is why you can use them for "cutting" in video and subtitling video, by using start offset values and custom duration values. In plain speak: You decide when to start and for how long the video will play, for each slide.
Working with subtitles in Video Studio is in many ways a stretch in this stage of the tool, but we felt that we wanted to make a solution available since this is a highly sought after functionality and something many users struggle to achieve. The subtitles in Video Studio are burnt-in and not in the form of .srt files, that deserves to mention.
The subtitle slide holds two lines of text, and you can choose if the subtitles should have a drop shadow or a back plate. You can also choose between white or yellow text for each line individually, useful if you want to separate between different people speaking. Each subtitle slide also has a nameplate that has two different text fields; this could also be used for attribution of the video clip if that needs to be more exposed than using the background credit field for the asset.
Clients on the platform have access to a sheet-based subtitling tool inside the offset value calculator, and we will reference that tool in the workflow portion of this chapter as well. Using this tool will drastically speed up your workflow when subtitling.
Let's be very frank; subtitling is tedious work. Using Video Studio won't change that. But at least you will get great looking subtitles for the parts of your project that need them without more trouble than necessary.
The concept behind subtitling is to segment the video into the exact pieces that hold the maximum amount of text that a Subtitle slide holds. Doing this comprises setting an "in-point" and a duration for each slide. The "in-point" is when the video should start playing – the "Background video start offset" as it is called in Video Studio. This means "how long from the start of the video file should this slide start playing the video." Duration then is "for how long should it keep going."
So when using multiple Subtitle slides after one and other you most often end up with the offset value of one slide being "the offset value of the previous slide plus the duration of the previous slide," right? This way the video plays seamlessly.
The subtitling workflow
We suggest that you establish the following workflow when creating subtitles in Video Studio.
- Open up your Subtitle Tool in the Video Studio Offset Calculator.
In the tool (above) you will find cells for inputting start time for each subtitle segment (equivalent to a Subtitle slide) and inputting the start of each will automatically create the Background Video Start Offset and the Custom Duration values you need to input in Video Studio.
- Open up the video file that you're going to use in Video Studio in your desktop video player. (Also, if the video file is big, upload it to the Asset Browser in Video Studio straight away to avoid waiting for it when you're ready for creating the Subtitle slides.)
- Arrange the windows side-by-side. (Yes, really, do that.)
- Start by finding the first part of the video that you want to subtitle. Write that first time value into the first "Input start time…" field. Write the time values like you read them in your video player: "m.ss" which means writing in values like "0.32" (32 seconds into the video) or "1.42" (1 minute, 42 seconds). The tool will convert these values into the correct millisecond values you need.
- Start transcribing what is said in the video into the two subtitle fields in the tool. They are optically aligned with a monospace font and show you exactly how much text fits onto each line. If you break the cell border on the right, you have too much text. Pressing Enter will take you straight to the next line, making for an efficient writing flow.
- Write without caring too much about the timing when doing so, especially when there is constant talking going on because the amount of text that fits on each slide will be more indicative of when you need to add another slide than the timing. So you can transcribe first and then go back and see where the breaks between the Subtitle slides should occur afterward.
- Find the time values where you want the break between each slide to occur, and fill that in as the "Input start time…" for the next slide.
- Give the blank slide after your last one a start time, which effectively means giving your last slide an end time. But this is needed to calculate your custom duration for the last slide.
Creating your subtitled video in Video Studio
- Create as many Subtitle slides in Video Studio as you now have numbered in the Subtitle Tool.
- Choose the same video (the one you have transcribed from) as background for each slide, this will, unfortunately, mean that they will all have the same thumbnail image. (We're working on a neat solution for this.)
- Start copying the values (Subtitle line 1, Subtitle line 2, Background Video Start Offset and Slide Duration: Custom) and inputting them on each slide in Video Studio. It's straightforward, be thorough and double-check yourself a bit.
- Input nameplates if and when you need it. Just make sure that the slide that they're on is 5 seconds or longer not to ´cut out unnaturally.
- Style your subtitles as you like. The best look will, of course, be to have the same styling on all slides. But also remember that you can give each line an accent color if you want to delineate who's talking.
- Remember to change the Audio Control for each slide (if you want the sound from the background video of course) to "Mute music". Audio Control resides under Slide Settings.