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:
- 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||
|YouTube||WebVTT||All your formatting will show on YT|
|Vimeo||WebVTT||All your formatting will show on Vimeo|
|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:
|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:
|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.
→ 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).
- Opening a subtitle file with a standard text editor like Windows Notepad or a word processor with autocorrections like Office Word can alter formatting and render the file unusable.
- When downloading subtitles, make sure to save them directly to disk rather than let the browser open them with the default application.
- Set up automatic subtitle export from Amara: