How to Create Open or Closed Captions in Premiere Pro CC

In this Premiere Pro CC tutorial, we’ll take a look at adding closed captioning to a video project I shot. We will cover how I like to work with the raw text, the different types of captions in Premiere Pro, how I work to quickly add and style the captions, and how you can export a video with captions for delivery online, on Facebook, or to a television network.

Using the Script and Placing Markers


In the video project to which I am adding these captions, we had a voice over track so we were working from a script. I was able to take the script and break out each line of text very easily for our purposes. Whether I have the script or I have to type all the words out for a project, I like to take the finished text document and play the video in the Premiere timeline and hit the letter “M” to drop a marker where I think a new caption should begin. TIP: You want captions to be short, easily readable, and not covering lots of the screen.

Creating a New Captions Item & Previewing on Timeline


Hit the new item icon in the Project Panel and choose “Captions” and choose “CEA-708” from the Standard drop-down menu and leave the Stream as the default. Click the wrench icon under the source monitor and choose Closed Captions Display>Enabled and then choose the Settings option below that and make sure the Standard and Stream match your Captions item. Open the Captions panel by going Window>Captions. Drag that Captions item from the Project bin and onto the timeline above your video. Now as we add captions, we’ll see them appear on top of our video in the monitor.

Adding New Captions and the Captions Panel


You’ll begin with one caption in place already. Let’s add the first line of text we want to be displayed and then drag the edges of the caption that is in the timeline to match the area of the video where this is being said. You can also change the style of the captions or where they are positioned in the video. NOTE: If you use Open Captions (can’t turn them on or off) you will have many more options

Moving the Captions


As you continue adding captions, you’ll need to adjust and tweak the position and length of the captions. You can do this by simply grabbing the edge of the caption marker in the timeline and extending or trimming the caption, or you can drag the entire caption to move it around. You can also use the In/Out inputs in the Captions panel to adjust where your captions begin or end if you need the caption to be precisely at a certain point.

Exporting the Video with the Captions


When you have finished placing your captions, it’s time to export the video. Go File>Export>Media and click on the “Captions” tab to choose whether you;d like to export a sidecar file to hold the captions (typically how you’ll export your captions), whether you’d like to burn the captions in (you won’t be able to shut them off), or if you’d like to embed them which will allow you to turn them on or off, but you will be limited to either the Quicktime or MXF codec. Check out the video at the top for all the details!

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