How To Create Video Subtitles in .SRT Format

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

writer-1421099_1920

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 cross checks 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. Or if you want learn more about plagiarism click 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

184H-2

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].

boxy-but-good

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.

Why Fit In When You Can Stand Out

Why Fit In When You Can Stand Out

The 5 Truths About Commercial Copy Writing

keyboard-498396_1280

The path between a great idea and a great broadcast ready commercial is paved with excellent copy writing. Unfortunately, often times and at no fault of the copy writer, the message gets obscured because of the too-many-cooks principle.

If it was up to copy writers alone all commercials would be divine inspirations that communicate an idea clearly and effectively. However as you know there’s more to the process including well intentioned sales people, the clients themselves and don’t forget the client’s knowledgable hairdresser who believes the product name should be said at least 6 times in a :30 second commercial to be most effective!

If you’re a commercial copy writer and you’re looking for ammunition to pull out when all of the above “cooks” start trying to help make the commercial better, arm yourself with my 5 truths about commercial copy writing.

  1. Commercials are meant to sell, not entertain 

    A successful commercial is not one that wins awards for it’s creativity or that’s funny, it’s one that motivates the listener to act. To go out and buy the product, period.

    This should be your main goal as soon as you sit down to write and if it’s not you’re being unfaithful to the client’s needs.

  2. Less is more

    It’s not just a cliché. Retailers who buy commercial airtime sometimes think that they need to fill it with as much information about their product as they can possible squeeze in. You’ll need to explain to them that this approach works against the purpose of the commercial…stimulating an emotional response which then motivates the audience to act.

    My friend Nick Michaels takes it a step further when he says, “The more words you use the LESS the listener gets to actively participate. Does your message allow for the act of discovery or is the listener a VICTIM of the message?”

    The white space you leave between the words is where the audience gets to participate through introspection and inadvertently internalizes the message you’re trying to convey.

  3. Advertising solves problems

    Let’s be honest, people don’t care about the product, they care about what the product can do for them.

    When you’re tasked with writing a commercial the first question you need to ask yourself is “what problem does it solve?” and then build a message that conveys that information to the listener in a meaningful way.

    It’s a 3 step process:

    Step 1 – Identify the need that will be filled or problem that will be solved

    Step 2 – Make the listener aware of that need or problem

    Step 3 – Show them how the product will solve that need or problem

  4. One core message is all you need

    More today than at any other time, your audience is busy living their lives and will only respond to a simple, crystal clear message that they can relate to.

    If in your creative meeting you conclude that XYZ Money Lenders ‘will solve your money problems’ make that your core message and build the commercial backwards from there. Your core message is the bullseye of the entire commercial and the fact that their lineups are short, their staff is friendly or that they have 18 convenient locations, is not. Anything that is outside of your target will only confuse the message.

    If the client insists on mentioning more than one core message suggest a separate commercial for each of them.

  5. Radio is a visual medium

    I’ve spent more years working in radio than in television but the truth is that building a picture in the mind of the listener and igniting introspection, is at the core of radio’s success. This is thoroughly explained in an article titled Visual Imagery: Applications to Advertising on the Association for Consumer Research website (quoted below).

    [blockquote author=”John R. Rossiter, Columbia University”][Mental] imagery may prove to be the primary principle for the psychology of learning.[/blockquote]

    From a practical (ie. budgetary) standpoint when you’re writing a radio commercial vs. TV commercial you have much more freedom to create than in TV. When you’re writing for radio use the medium to it’s fullest potential.

Conclusion: Commercial copy writing isn’t a lost art but it does sometimes get overlooked in the fast paced, day-to-day operations of connecting clients to consumers. I hope this list helps you do that in a way that benefits both you and your clients.

What would you add to my list? Leave your thoughts or commercial copy writing truths in the comment field below.

YOU'RE ALMOST THERE!

Fill out this form to download your copy

Thanks! Please, check your email to confirm your request!