Adding captions to a Facebook video
So many people watch video with their phones on mute. Which is why it’s important to add subtitles to your video when you upload them to facebook. Here we will go through how you can get subtitles (also know as captions) on your Facebook videos.
Firstly lets look at the key component to subtitles, the srt file.
The .srt file is a text document that contains key information the video players and websites can use to display the spoken word as text.
Along with the spoken text, the file contains time information so the system knows when to start displaying that line of text and when to remove it from view.
It’s this information that Facebook needs to know what spoken word is within the video. So before we do anything else, we need an srt file.
Paid srt file options
There are a few companies out there that you can pay and they will generate an srt file for you. They charge you on the length of the video and some charge a lot more than others. The cheapest is Rev.com which charge $1 per minute of video, which is ridiculous! I don’t know how they get it so cheap.
And don’t let the price fool you, they are top quality, very accurate and used by thousands of companies including me. You can upload videos directly to them or send them a link to a video already online.
But if you are on a budget, or have only a small amount of dialogue in a long film you can do it yourself for free
Free srt file options
There are apps out there that allow you to write an srt from scratch, but that seems like a lot of work when youtube will do a half-decent it for free.
Upload your video to YouTube and they will use AI to guess what the spoken word is. They do a pretty good job but you will need to edit the captions on YouTube for accuracy before downloading the srt file to your computer.
Oh, I should probably mention here that Facebook also has the AI technology to generate automatic captions. These can be edited within Facebook but only if the video is uploaded to a page. Crucially Facebook does NOT allow you to download srt files. So I don’t recommend using it when you can do the same work in Youtube and have greater flexibility with a downloadable srt file.
Open captions or closed captions
There are two main ways of adding captions to your videos and the result and platform you use will depend on which one to use.
Open captions are burned into the video file meaning the user cannot turn them on or off. The advantage to you is that you get more control on the font size and location and you guarantee that the viewer will be able to see them but they can be distracting.
Open captions can work well on Facebook and Instagram if you don’t want to mess around with uploading srt files. You will need the srt file and an application such as handbrake to burn in the captions.
By the way, Youtube is typically watched with the sound on so having burned in captions here can be particularly annoying so I wouldn’t recommend them here
Closed captions can be turned on or off just like turning on the subtitles on the TV. Facebook will read the srt file and display the captions for the user which they have more control over. They can turn it off and make it bigger if they find it easier to read that way.
Annoyingly Facebook have upload screens depending on if you are uploading to a business page, your profile or a group. I’ll try and cover them as best as I can.
If you are uploading to a Facebook page you can attach the srt file when you upload. For everything else you will need to upload the video, find it and then add the subtitles afterwards
Adding subtitles to a Facebook group, profile or existing page videos
If you have not already done so, upload the video to a group or your profile by creating a post and attaching a video.
Once the video has been uploaded and processed you will need to go to the video tab where you uploaded the video.
Now, this is where things get a bit different depending on where you are uploading to. If you have uploaded to a Facebook group you will find the ‘video’ tab on the left-hand side. If you are uploading to your profile the video tab will be under your header image in the more dropdown box
If you are unable to find the video page you can add “/video/” to the url of the page/group/profile you have used. For us “https://www.facebook.com/pg/RichWilkesFilms” would become “https://www.facebook.com/pg/RichWilkesFilms/videos/”
Find the video you are after and click on it, this will open up a full-screen player version of the video. Underneath the player there should be 3 horizontal dots (I’ve also seen this in the sidebar) which will bring up an option to edit the video.
From this ‘Edit video’ page you can upload the srt file, set the video thumbnail and change a few other options. Again, it will look different if you are uploading to a Facebook page.
Make sure the caption file is named correctly as we mention below. The srt filename MUST end ‘.en_GB.srt’ or ‘.en_US.srt’.
Uploading a video and srt file to a Facebook Page
This is probably the easiest way to attach a caption file to a video and the only way you can upload an srt and video at the same time.
. All you need to do is navigate to your page and find the ‘create a post’ box. Under where you type text you will see an option to upload a photo or a video.
Once you’ve selected the video to upload you will be presented with a full range of options. Work through these before you publish the video. There is a dedicated tab on the right-hand side for captions.
Select the language first before selecting the file to upload. If you have created the file yourself you may need to rename the file before it is accepted by Facebook.
If you don’t have the right file name format Facebook will show an error and not allow you to progress any further.
When we download caption files from YouTube they are called ‘captions.srt’ which does not meet Facebook’s requirements. You need to rename the file to include the language identifier. For example I would rename the file ‘caption.en_GB.srt‘ or ‘caption.en_US.srt‘ for Great Britain or US English.
You can then upload the file without any issues
Test it out
Save the changes and go and watch your masterpiece to check everything is as it should and let us know in the comments below how you got on!