How To Create Video Subtitles in .SRT Format

Early in my career, long before I was working on-air or doing voice overs I had a client that wanted French subtitles placed on an English video I had shot and edited. This was long before the internet and personal computers and honestly, I was lost.

I contacted a local post production studio and hired them to work with me on the project.

It was a long and tedious process and cost my client a lot of money to get done between translator, studio time and my fee.

The good news is that these days, in the digital domain it’s much simpler and cheaper.

What You’ll Need
You’ll need 3 things:

1) a basic text editor,

2) the transcript and

3) the time code of the video you’re creating .SRT subtitles for.

Get a Free App
I use TextWrangler to create my subtitles, it’s free Mac software. If you’re on PC I hear a good alternative is Notepad++ though I’ve never tested it.

The Steps
1. Create a blank document in your text editor, copy and paste your transcript into it.

2. Break up your transcript into short phrases, I don’t recommend going beyond 50 characters, that includes the spaces between words and punctuation (see an example). If you use too many words they will be pushed down onto a second line and could start obscuring your visuals.

 

3. Then number each line sequentially on the line above it as in this example:

 

4. Then finally you need to add the time code for each of the phrases, like this. The time code on the left is when the subtitle will appear onscreen and the time code on the right is when it will end.

 

5. Once you’ve finished preparing your document “save as…” and simply add .srt to the end of the file name…and you’re done!

Upload Your .SRT
When you upload your video to Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, etc., upload your newly created .srt file along with it!

I suggest that while you’re at it that you create French and Spanish translations to cover all of the bases. It is after all the World Wide web. Note: each language will need to be its own separate .srt file.

Click here to watch my final profile video. Be sure you have CC (closed captions) activated to see how it turned out. You can toggle between the English subtitles and French translation.

Free Bonus Swipe File
Click here to download a swipe file to get you started on creating subtitles for your video in the .SRT format! Open it in your basic text editor and modify it as you like.

I hope this was helpful. Leave your comments and a link to your finished video with subtitles below.

Writing Tools To Help You Communicate Better

Writing Tools To Help You Communicate Better

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When it comes to writing style I don’t consider myself a “traditionalist”. Two things that I insist on when writing is spelling and punctuation. Both of these things have improved by using two apps on a regular basis: Hemingway and Grammarly.

If you’re writing a script for a commercial, a TV promo, an ebook, blog post or any form of online social media, these two tools will make sure you stay on track.

Grammarly – is more than a spell checker. It checks your grammar, spelling and plagiarism (premium version only)! You read that right. According to their website, “Grammarly’s plagiarism checker crosschecks your text against over 8 billion web pages, detecting plagiarized passages and highlighting sections that have been previously published elsewhere”. Another plagiarism checker is Unplag. Learn about their free plagiarism checker here.

The web browser plugin checks that comments or posts are grammatically correct.

Grammarly is available for free as a plugin on Chrome, Safari and Firefox.

Hemingway – is a web tool where you simply cut and paste your document and get instant feedback. Sentence structure and phrasing, even passive voice alerts are included.

My personal preference is running my text through Grammarly and then taking it to Hemingway for final touches.

Try them and let me know what you think!

BONUS: If you’re writing a timed text for a commercial or explainer video try the David Tyler Script Timer by clicking here.

It’s Not About the Medium Anymore…

It’s Not About the Medium Anymore…

How to Choose An Advertising Agency

How to Choose An Advertising Agency

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It doesn’t matter what business you’re in as you grow, eventually you will face the challenge of hiring an advertising agency.

Now, for clarity when I say “advertising agency” I’m also talking about any kind of creative agencies that offer creative marketing services like PR firms or even commercial or video production houses.

Creative People Are Strange People

In the 25+ years I’ve worked as a voice over artist I’ve had the privilege of working with some seriously innovative, imaginative and sometimes strange creative people who were a real inspiration to me. I understand how sometimes these “creative types” can inspire apprehension more often than confidence. But trust me when I say they’re harmless and when you decide on the team to help you get your brand message out there, they will amaze you!

How ‘Spec’ Work Can Help

Spec (speculative) work has become the default decision aide in the quest for an advertising agency to help create and spread your message…while the ethics of doing work for free amongst creative companies has come under question…it will help you see what a prospective advertising agency can do for you and more importantly HOW they do it…how they work together as a team.

Choosing Is About Feeling

Unlike in episodes of Mad Men, or Robin Williams short lived TV series “The Crazy Ones” it’s not always the most creative idea that will win your contract, it’s more about the feeling you get from the team chemistry and how they work together to come up with ideas.

Choose the advertising agency who you see has the ability to produce amazing ideas as a team.

It’s All About (Losing) Control

The Dudley Moore film Crazy People (1990) showed that best…the crazier they were the better they were at generating ideas like “boxy but they’re good” for Volvo [video].

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So don’t be afraid at what may look like an uncontrollable bunch. Truthfully, if you can control them, telling them what to do, they probably aren’t very good…or that creative.

How To Know For Sure

If they can understand your brand message and communicate it to your audience in a way that generates sales, you’ve found your advertising agency!

Conclusion

Meet with a shortlist of agencies, see what they can do for you and then pick the one who can do what they do, best!

Let me know how your search goes, I’d love to hear back from you and who you chose.

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