What subtitle file format should I use?

Subtitle formats can seem pretty complicated. It may seem easiest to just choose whatever format is most popular or widely supported, instead of the one that’s just right for what you plan to do with the subtitles.

To help you make the best decision, we’ve compiled our recommendations for the best subtitle file formats to use based on your needs below, along with some Quick Tips.

Supported Subtitle Formats for Import/Export with Amara:

  • SRT
  • SSA (SubStation Alpha)
  • TTML (Timed Text Markup Language)
  • SBV (YouTube format)
  • DFXP (Distribution Format Exchange Profile)
  • VTT (Web Video Text Track)
  • TXT (untimed text transcript)

What are you planning to do with this video after subtitles are added?

Display subtitles with the video online:
Hosting Platform Best Format

Tips

YouTube WebVTT All your formatting will show on YT
Vimeo WebVTT All your formatting will show on Vimeo
Facebook Unformatted SRT Does not allow:
Positioning, special characters, or text formatting
Make sure you don’t use any of those when making subtitles on Amara 
Kaltura DFXP If you use a custom video player, make sure captions are enabled
Brightcove WebVTT All your formatting will show on Brightcove

If you’re using a different hosting site, check the support documentation for that site to see which subtitling formats they support.

Display video and subtitles with a media player:

Media Player

Best Format

Tips

VLC Sub Station Alpha or WebVTT Share if you have any
Windows Media Player SRT Usually the only format supported on basic media players
Other common media players SRT Usually the only format supported on basic media players

Use subtitles in a video editing tool:

Editing Tool

Best Format

Final Cut Pro ITT
Premiere Pro CC SCC or a Final Cut Pro XML export
ffmpeg Sub Station Alpha
MacCaption WebVTT or ITT
Sony Vegas, Lightworks check software support documentation

Note – For Sony Vegas and Lightworks:

  • Many video editors only support manually creating title cards.
  • We recommend adding the subtitles with a different video editor on a separate step, or checking with the software’s support and community for recent features or unofficial add-ons.

Tips:

Using other subtitling editing tools might erase some of the work you did on Amara. For example, editing subtitles in the YouTube editor gets rid of any top-positioning you might have done to subtitles made on Amara.

Always use a programming text editor like Notepad++, TextEdit (MacOS) or gedit (Linux).

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s