Closed Captioning for Videos on Facebook

Posted on Posted in Facebook, Tutorial, Video

We’ve all done it. We’ve all watched a video on Facebook by just reading the captions and never actually turning on the audio. In fact, Facebook even says that “Internal tests show that captioned video ads increase video view time by an average of 12%.” (sourceIt is imperative to be able to tell your story through video without requiring sound to be turned on.

This tutorial is going to show you how to create closed captioning in Adobe Premiere Pro CC. The reason I am choosing this program is because most people are already using Premiere to create, edit, and export these videos.


Tutorial

First know that there will be two files – the video file (.mov, .mp4, etc) and the closed-caption file (.srt is the file format that Facebook likes).

Step 1:

Open up Notepad and type out all of the words said. Break out each line to be each set of caption that will show up. I am currently looking into different possible ways to automate this as it might be the most time consuming part of the process. For now, here is an example of how I did it:

Step 2:

With your video already opened in Adobe Premiere Pro CC and complete, start playing the video in the timeline. Each time there is a new line of text said that you wrote out, press the letter ‘m’ on your keyboard to make a marker at that spot. It should look similar to this:

Step 3:

In the project container, press the ‘New Item’ button and then click on ‘Captions’. There will be two settings that will pop-up. Leave them alone on the first pop-up. On the second one, change ‘Standard’ to CEA-708 and have the stream be Service 1 and click okay.

Step 4:

Just like another video/photo file, drag the Captions to a video layer above your video. If you don’t have a panel for captions, go to Window > Captions to have it appear. I already had it set up in the previous images.

The ‘in’ for the first caption should be a 00:00 and the ‘out’ should be at 0:02.29. Adjust the out to match with same time of the end of your video.  This will allow you to drag the caption box to cover the entire video on your timeline.

Step 5:

Make the captions visible on the video preview. To do this, click on the wrench in the bottom right of the video preview. Then go to Captions Display. Make sure it is enabled and that in settings, you are on ‘CEA-708’ for the standard and ‘Service 1’ for the stream.

Step 6:

In the bottom right corner of the captions panel, there should be a + and – button. They add new captions. Add in the number of captions you need. Match up the start time with the beginning of each part and the end time with when you want that caption to disappear.

You can use the markers we created before to get the exact times. Use ‘Shift+M’ to jump to the next marker. Double click on the blue time on the preview image to copy the time at that marker and paste it for the ‘out’ of each caption.

Step 7:

Add in your text into each caption. Go back and review each caption individually as the text cuts off after 1 line automatically. To fix this, you simply need to hit enter (or return) where you want the new line to start. This is displayed in the two images below.

Step 8:

Export the file. To do this go to File -> Export -> Media (or keystroke CTRL+M). Decide on your desired format and output/name location. Then click on the ‘Captions’ tab.

  • For ‘Export Options’ select ‘Create Sidecar File’.
  • Set File Format to SubRip Subtitle Format (.srt)

Press ‘Export’ to, well, export the files.

Step 9:

Find your exported files in your file explorer. Change the filename of the .srt file to “FILENAME.en_US.srt”. This is the needed naming of the file for Facebook to accept it.


Uploading to Facebook

Go to publishing tools and upload a video as you normally would. While it is uploading, go to the Captions option. There upload the .srt file.

Make sure to change the default language to English, adjust any other settings that you wish. Either hit publish or schedule as you desire.

The captions should appear when viewing the video with the audio muted and when it automatically begins playing. The captions will disappear when the audio is turned on.


Final Product:

You can turn on and off the captions in the video above in the settings. To view it automatically appears, check it out on Facebook and wait for the video to autoplay.


Notes:

  • Currently and for unknown reason, the closed-captioning is not showing up when Facebook is viewed on Mobile. You can burn the captions permanently into the video to work around this. To do so, select ‘Burn Captions Into Video’ for the export options in Step 8. However, after you export it like that, the captions cannot be removed from that exported video. I’m working to figure out a better solution.
  • You can create and upload SRT files for Facebook Live after they’re posted. This is great for press conferences and interviews. To upload so:
    • Go to Publishing Tools
    • Click on Edit Post
    • Follow the uploading steps as previously stated – it should appear.
  • If you have any questions, please email me at Darnell@SpreadHDCreative.com

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