How to Create an SRT File for Video Subtitles?


Aasif
By Aasif | August 7, 2019 6:38 pm  | 5-min read
How to Create an SRT File for Video Subtitles

In this blog I am going to talk about SRT files and how to make subtitles for a video. Anybody who has ever had to create subtitles for video knows the challenges. Here’s what I am going to talk about, in the blog below:

  • What is an SRT file?
  • Why use SRT files?
  • Parts of an SRT file
  • How to create an SRT file?

How to Create an SRT File for Video Subtitles - Infographics

Before we start with the topic of how to make subtitles, let’s get deeper and understand what they are.

What are SRT files?

SRT files or SubRip Subtitle files are essentially plain-text files that have subtitle information. These files also include the start and stop times next to the subtitle text. This way the subtitles are displayed at the appropriate times in the video so that they match the audio and are in the correct sequence.

The SRT file is only a text file that you would be using along with your video or audio file, it does not contain the video or audio that you are creating subtitles for.

The SRT files are compatible with most of the social media platforms that let you upload captions. After you create subtitle file once, it can be used across all platforms. This means you would not have to enter the subtitles manually every single time you upload it on a platform. Also, these systems are notorious for being clunky, inaccurate, and for being quite cumbersome when it comes to editing.

The social media platforms these days let the videos be on auto-play, which is why many people are probably going to watch your video without the audio. Hence, if you create subtitle files for your video you will get a higher engagement and higher viewer retention rates.

Apart from this, you would also get some amazing SEO advantages. This is because SRT files which are uploaded to native video platforms are indexed by Google and become crawlable. Hence, all the keywords and phrases that you are using in the video become instantly searchable.

Once you create a subtitle file or SRT, you can add it to your video on all channels without having rewrite it every time. Let’s talk about it in detail now.

Why use SRT files?

Now that you know how to create subtitle files it is time to understand the advantages or the reasons for using SRT files.

  1. Easy to use

    SRT files are quite easy to create and update, which is why they are a hassle-free way to add captions to a video. The best part is that the file is in simple text format, which means you do not need any specialized software.

    The SRT files can be edited in any basic text editor that may already be installed on your computer like Notepad. So, whenever you want to edit, you can just open the file make the changes and re-upload.

    Also, since the format is wildly popular, SRTs can be integrated with every platform including Facebook, YouTube, Windows Media Player among others. Even better, the same SRT file can be used across multiple platforms.

  2. Increases audience engagement

    Adding captions to a video increases viewer engagement by a massive margin. When you caption your videos you definitely reach your viewers a lot faster, engaging them for longer while making your videos accessible to the hearing-impaired people or those who are hard of hearing.

  3. Big help with SEO

    SEO or search engine optimization is the process of increasing the visibility of the website and helping it rank better in the virtual world. This is especially important today. Captions come in really handy for reaping SEO benefits for videos. The automated bots responsible for scanning and indexing the web pages do not easily process video data.

    By adding the SRT file you are essentially adding a written version of your video which lets the search engines crawl through it. This means you are adding context and the right keywords which eventually helps the viewers find your video easily.

    Keyword stuffing doesn’t really work so well anymore, and user experience is now emerging as an important ranking factor. Google and YouTube rank watch time as a stronger factor than just the total view count. This clearly indicates that the focus is greater on audience engagement and accessibility which are both offered by closed captioning or adding SRT files to the video you are uploading.

    Even though YouTube does offer auto-captions, but they tend to be loaded with errors and aren’t of any use for the SEO intent. Additionally, open captions are embedded in the video which means they can’t be accessed by the bots. Your SRT also works as the transcript for your video which can be repurposed as the need may be.

Parts of an SRT file

An SRT file consists of four parts.

  • Sequence number of the caption frame
  • Beginning and end timecodes for the appearance of the caption frame
  • The caption
  • A blank line to indicate the start of a new caption sequence

To create an SRT file, first write the entire transcript for your video. Here are step by step instructions to create your own SRT file from the scratch.

How to create an SRT file on Mac?

  1. Open a new file in TextEdit

  2. Start by typing “1” as this is your first caption sequence and then move to the next line by pressing “Enter”

  3. Type in the beginning and end timecode in the format –
    hours:minutes:seconds,milliseconds–> hours:minutes:seconds,milliseconds and then move to the next line by pressing “Enter”

  4. Now start typing in your captions. Take care that:
    1. Stay in the 32-character limit
    2. Write only 2 lines per caption
    3. Write captions that are compliant with captioning guidelines
  5. After completing the last line in the sequence leave out an extra blank line to indicate the beginning of a new sequence
  6. Type in “2” and repeat the same process till you have the entire transcript ready

  7. Save your file as .srt in the following manner:
    1. Go to Format then click on Make Plain Text (or use keyboard shortcut Shift + Command + T)
      How to Create an SRT File for Video Subtitles mac
    2. Go to File, then Save
    3. In the Save As text field, enter the name of your file but change the extension of the file from .txt to .srt
      How to Create an SRT File for Video Subtitle
    4. Uncheck “Hide Extension” and “If no extension is provided, use .txt” and hit Save
    5. You’re all done and ready to upload your captions

 How to create an SRT file on Windows?

  1. Open a new file in Notepad

  2. Start by typing “1” as this is your first caption sequence and then move to the next line by pressing “Enter”

  3. Type in the beginning and end timecode in the format –
    hours:minutes:seconds,milliseconds–> hours:minutes:seconds,milliseconds and then move to the next line by pressing “Enter”

  4. Now start typing in your captions. Take care that:
    1. Stay in the 32-character limit
    2. Write only 2 lines per caption
    3. Write captions that are compliant with captioning guidelines
  5. After completing the last line in the sequence leave out an extra blank line to indicate the beginning of a new sequence
  6. Type in “2” and repeat the same process till you have the entire transcript ready

  7. Save your file as .srt in the following manner:
    1. Go to File, then Save
    2. In the File name field, enter the name of your file with extension .srt at the end
    3. In the Save as type field select “All Files” and hit Save
    4. You’re all done and ready to upload your captions

 

Aasif
About The Author
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Aasif Khan is an SEO specialist with an experience of 10+ years in the digital marketing industry. Today, he is an expert in SEO, SMO, SEM, and is also one of the top contributors to Appy Pie Blog. He writes about the ongoing trends in the digital marketing industry. He loves working out in the gym and also spares some time for hobbies like playing cricket and reading books among other things.

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