ListsTips & TricksA Quick Guide To Add Captions and Subtitles in Adobe Premiere Pro

Niharika Dutta2 weeks ago

Cisco has pointed out that video will account for 82% of the internet traffic. Not only that, 74% consumers are of the opinion that there’s a link between them watching a social video of a brand and making a purchase decision. That’s how important a video is for your brand.

But is it enough just publishing videos on your YouTube channel or social media platforms? Creating videos and creating good videos have a different impact on the people watching them. And one of the many elements that make up for a good video is the use of captions and subtitles.

But how do you integrate these captions and subtitles into your videos, whether you’re making them up for your YouTube channel or other social media platforms? You’ll definitely be using a video editing software for your videos and Adobe Premiere Pro is the most commonly used. Read on to find out how to add captions and subtitles in Adobe Premiere Pro.

What are captions and subtitles?

Captions and subtitles are text overlays on videos that usually represent translations from one language to another or simply the same language representation of dialogues within the video. Captions and subtitles are sometimes used interchangeably but there’s a difference.

The transcription of dialogues fall under the category of captions but when you translate the dialogues to another language, they are called subtitles. Captions can be understood simply by a narration of the script, including any sound effects or music playing within the video.

Captions are of two types – closed and open captions. Closed captioning gives you a choice whether you want to have captions in your viewing experience or not. You can opt out of it with the click of a button. Open captioning is embedded within the video and cannot be done away with.

Captions are useful for people who are hard of hearing but subtitles assume that the viewer is able to listen to the audio, but doesn’t know the language. Created before the release of a film or movie, subtitles are timed transcriptions and are synched with the audio and video.

You can add captions and subtitles in Adobe Premiere Pro or any other video editing software that use. We’ve chosen Adobe Premiere Pro as it’s the industry standard and a hit amongst video editors.

Why captions and subtitles?

Have you ever been annoyed by a Facebook video blaring through your phone unexpectedly when you’ve opened the app simply to check your feed? Can put you in a pretty embarrassing situation, isn’t it? People are not looking for something that is shoved in their face. Rather a consumer will sit up and take notice if some something piques their interest.

Wouldn’t it be better if you are shown a silent video with compelling content and captions to accompany it? Facebook’s research suggests that captioned video ads enhance video view time by 12%. It’s also important to note that 80% users react negatively towards social media feed videos playing loudly on their phones unexpectedly. In such a scenario, reaching these users with captions is an option you definitely should consider.

Here’s why you need to add captions to your videos –

To get more views
Captions increase the possibility of your videos being discovered by your audience as it gives an SEO boost to them. YouTube captions are indexed and read by YouTube and Google. Google gives higher preference to videos which are more informative and puts them on the top of the search results page. Optimized text integrated into your videos play an important role in helping search engines find your content. You can even make use of the script as a keyword strategy by plugging in keywords related to your content. If it’s a short video, try putting in the entire video transcript in the description box to gain brownie points in the search algorithm.

To have better accessibility
Videos with captions and subtitles can open up a whole new avenue for you. You’ll be able to reach millions of people who are either deaf, hard of hearing or non-English speaking. Not only that, even the usual hearing, English-speaking audience prefer captioned videos. People access video content through their smartphones while they are commuting or at work. They prefer watching them on silent mode with captions and subtitles on.

To get higher engagement and view time
In SEO, there is a lot of talk about bots: bots searching, bots crawling, and bots indexing. Search engine bots look for signals of relevancy left by humans. This is why engagement is important in video SEO. As we’ve mentioned earlier, captioned video ads enhance video view time by 12%. Another relevant fact is that 80% more people are likely to watch the whole video if it is armed with captions.

How to add captions in Adobe Premiere Pro?

Adobe Premiere Pro truly has earned its place as the industry standard video editing software. It’s USP lies in its nonlinear editing interface, a vast resource of tools, and a rich set of capabilities. Later support for 360 VR content, 4K, HDR video, and the Lumetri Color tool was also added.

Adobe PremierePremiere Pro provides a rich set of text options for titles and captions. It supports the import of XML or SRT files. For titles, you can choose from a vast selection of fonts too. Premiere Pro boasts of robust captioning features that let you edit, create, and export captions for display for all supported formats.

Let’s find out how you can add captions and subtitles in Adobe Premiere Pro.

Importing captions

Adobe Premiere Pro assists you to import and display closed captions along with editing the text, changing coloring, background, and managing the timing. For starters, you need to import video file along with the captions file (.SRT, .SCC, etc.). Here’s how:

  1. Click on File and from the drop-down menu, select Import. This will allow you to import embedded caption files or caption “sidecar” files.
  2. Using the file’s context menu, import through Media Browser

How to display in the Source Monitor and Program Monitor?

  1. Choose “+” located at the lower right of a monitor open button editor, click on Captions Display button, and then OK. Alternatively, you can add the Closed Caption button to the button bar by tugging it from the button editor.
  2. Select the spanner-like icon called Wrench icon from the Source Monitor’s pop-up menu. Click on Captions Display and then on Enable.

add captions and subtitles in adobe premiere pro

Source: Adobe

Creating captions and editing them

Premiere Pro gives you the luxury to create captions from scratch. It allows you to plug in text, implement formatting, and mention position and color. Here’s how –

  1. Select File menu followed by New Captions.
    The ‘New Captions’ dialog box shows you the video settings. Adobe Premiere Pro synchronizes the caption video settings with your project. Don’t alter the default video settings and choose OK. Just make sure that the frame rate of the caption file and that of your sequence are a perfect match.
    add captions and subtitles in adobe premiere pro
  2. In the New Captions dialog box, pick the caption standard and stream that you require and let Premiere Pro add the caption file in the Project panel.
  3. Double-click the caption file within the Project panel in order to add text to the caption file.
  4. Type in the caption text in the Captions panel. Use the formatting tools to adjust the position, alter text and background colour of the caption. Other formatting effects such as ‘underline’ and ‘italics’ are also available.
  5. Once you want to include more caption blocks, select the Add Caption (+) in the bottom right of the panel. Select the caption block and choose Delete Caption (-), if you want to delete a caption block.
  6. Within the sequence, drag in the caption file in the Timeline onto the source sequence over the required source clip.

In case you need to create a different version of the program that already has closed captions integrated within, Adobe Premiere Pro lets you edit your captions. Here’s how –

  1. In the Timeline panel, select the caption file which you want to edit.
  2. Open the Captions panel as described before to display the captions.
  3. Edits at the word level of current caption clips can be made in the Captions panel. Make your way through changing timing and formatting which includes text alignment or colour.
  4. The text clips can also be accessed within the Timeline. You’ll be able to adjust the captions to be in alignment with the media after any kind of segment trims, ripple deletes, and rearranging.

Exporting captions

After you’re done with the editing and creating, the sequence consisting of the captions can be exported through Premiere Pro or Adobe Media Encoder. For this, you need to use the Export Settings dialog box. Another option is to use a third-party hardware that allows closed caption encoding.

Following are the steps to export captions –

  1. Integrate a closed caption asset in the Source Monitor or pick it up in the Project panel.
  2. Click on the File menu and then select Export and then Media.
  3. Select one of the export options in the Export Settings dialog box.
  4. The available Export options are Create Sidecar File, Burn Captions Into Video and Embed in Output File.
  5. Next, choose one of the file formats for export. Scenarist Closed Caption File (.scc), MacCaption VANC File (.mcc), SMPTE Timed Text (.xml), SubRip Subtitle Format (.srt) and EBU N19 Subtitle (.stl).
  6. Lastly, choose the appropriate Frame Rate.
  7. Finally, select Export option to export the video along with the caption data.

How to add subtitles (open captions) in Adobe Premiere Pro?

Adobe Premiere Pro gives the option to add Open Captions which are called subtitles. Subtitles are burned into the video stream, which means you cannot opt out of them. As a video editor, you can formulate new Open Captions or import them through XML or SRT files. Caption blocks can be created, text can be added and formatting can be changed within the Captions panel.

In Adobe Premiere Pro, single stream sidecar and embedded single stream files can be converted into Open Caption. MOV and MXF caption files are also included. Next to Size, you’ll find the value area where you can make changes with the mouse or by inputting a numerical value.

  1. Select Captions and then Open Captions to start with.
  2. Click on Font Family, then on Font Weight to make changes in Font characteristics.
  3. Use a color picker eyedropper or by selecting the Color Picker, you can change text and background colour.
  4. When placed in the sequence and exported, opening Caption tex automatically burns into Video. One can also use track toggle output to take control of Burn In of Open Captions.
  5. Using the mode button, you can choose the edge color and adjust the opacity of stroke outline.

Now, that you know how to add captions and subtitles in Adobe Premiere Pro, you can start by creating a narration of videos you’ll be creating from now on. This will give you an edge over others and also enhance the visibility of your videos.


Thanks for reading the blog. If you are a creator and want more insights related to the performance of your videos. Reach us at 8527863094 or send in your queries at marketing@vidooly.com

Niharika Dutta

​Niharika Datta is a Content Writer at Vidooly. She started her career as a Human Resource professional but is now pursuing her love for writing. Though she writes about a myriad of ideas, her personal favourite is writing about the latest trends in the content and digital marketing world. An ambivert by nature, she likes to grab a snack with a warm cup of coffee in the company of a good book or a close friend.

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