Adding Subtitles in Avid Media Composer

Adding subtitles, or otherwise known as captioning, is another one of Avid Media Composer's excellent features. It allows you to encode or import text which is then composited into the video material, along with any effects such as the drop shadow fonts. Adding subtitles with Avid Media Composer is easy enough, as you can use it to create text which becomes part of the complete show master (or open captions), or you can create files used for down streaming to encode closed captions into the delivered master. If you want to put in your own subtitles for your project, then the steps below are relatively easy to do.

Step 1: Know Where to Find the Different Tools and Options

As with other Avid Media Composer effects, the "Subcap Plug-in," which is the primary icon used for adding subtitles, can be found in the "Effects Palette" under "Generator". In the timeline, add a new video and let the subcaps affect the new track. For more complex delivery requirements, you can apply different instances of the effect to different video tracks, and then simply toggle between them to create various outputs.

Step 2: Preparing Your "Stylesheet"

Before adding subtitles, design a default "Stylesheet" and add your text specifications such as the type of font, size, opacity, shadow, colors and the background position. After you have created the style you like, you can go to the "Edit Global Properties" found under the "SubCap Palette." Click it and choose the "Synchronize" tab, which will specify how the caption property should be synchronized or none at all. By clicking every button on the "Track" option, the "Stylesheet" will apply to all titles on the same track. By selecting "Program", they will apply to all tracks on the program. You can save your settings on the "Stylesheets" as a new style.

Step 3: Choose and Place the Subtitles on Your File

The next thing you should do is choose either from the "Import" or "Export" selection. You can select the file here and once selected, you can see how many captions are in the file, the time-code range of the sequence, as well as the file's time-code range. Since the captions are based on time-code replacement, the import dialogue will warn you if any caption will fall out of range. Once the file is imported, you can see the captions are placed as individual titles on the timeline. These are created by the start and end time codes in the file for each caption. Go to the first title, open the "Stylesheets" section, open your chosen style and apply. All the captions have the same look and feel in real-time.

You can also add some open captions manually in the timeline of each track. Enter the text in the first dialogue, and apply the default style. The other tracks will inherit the same caption properties of the first one, which is a great time-saver.

Step 4: Troubleshooting and Editing

If changes are needed, you can always go to the "Edit Master Caption List," where you see the captions on the current track are located and do the editing. After you're finished, you can view your successful project.