Today, closed captions are becoming increasingly common, especially as companies expand their marketing efforts and aim to reach a broader global market. Additionally, subtitles are often necessary to ensure that your video and audio files are as inclusive as possible. Fortunately, there is an easy solution for adding subtitles to a video: an SRT file. To ensure that your videos are inclusive and easily digestible for any audience, it is critical that you include an option to view them with captions. Here, we will explain what an SRT file is and how to create and edit one for your marketing videos in the future.
What is an SRT file?
An SRT file (also known as a SubRip subtitle file) is a plain text file that contains critical information regarding subtitles, including the start and end time codes of your text to ensure your subtitles match your audio. and the sequential number of subtitles. It is important to note that an SRT file is just a text file that you would use in conjunction with the video or audio; it does not also include the video or audio you are subtitling.
How to create an SRT file
You can create an SRT file in any text editor, including Notepad, TextEdit, and Notepad ++. Open a text editor of your choice and order each line of your subtitles, starting with 1. Next, put in the time the subtitle starts, then “->” and the time it ends. Format your timestamp this way: “hours: minutes: seconds, milliseconds”. Below the start and end timestamp, place the first line of text. SRT files can be created from scratch or downloaded and edited. Before we get into the basics of SRT file editing, let’s take a look at what an SRT file looks like and how it is formatted.
SRT file example
Generally, Wordpad or Notepad are the easiest programs to open SRT files because you can view them in plain text. However, you can also use SRT-specific software such as Subtitles workshop (More on this later). In order for an SRT file to work alongside the video or audio file it is paired with, it must follow a specific format consisting of: The line number The time range where the line should appear in the video The text that should appear on the line The timestamp is formatted like this with milliseconds rounded to three decimal points: Hours: Minutes: Seconds, Milliseconds The time frame is formatted like this with an arrow indicating the range:
[First Timestamp] -> [Second Timestamp]
The arrow should consist of two dashes and a right-pointing angle bracket (also known as a greater than or carrot sign). If you are creating one from scratch, feel free to copy and paste this sample SRT format: SRT format example 100: 00: 00,000 -> 00: 00: 00,000[Insert your first line of text here, and don’t forget to change the timestamps.]200: 00: 00,000 -> 00: 00: 00,000[Insert your second line of text here, and don’t forget to change the timestamps.]
If you notice that your subtitles don’t line up with your audio, or you need to change the wording, it’s pretty easy to edit your SRT file. Consider using Subtitles workshop or another subtitle editor of your choice. Alternatively, if you don’t want to download an editor, you can open your SRT file in Notepad. You can change the time and phrases within the file, but don’t change the punctuation. Then click “File” → “Save As” and choose the SRT file extension.
How to edit an SRT file
Download Subtitles Workshop. Find “File” and then select “Upload Subtitle” to insert your SRT file. Click “Movie” and then “Open”, and select the corresponding video file. Then select “Edit”. You can choose between Tenses, Texts, Subtitles or Translations. Adjust the time or text on each line. Captions are one element that you can include in your video marketing strategy that makes your content more inclusive and valuable to your audience. Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in December 2018 and has been updated for completeness.