Page Content

MovieCaptioner is a captioning program for Mac OS X and Windows that streamlines the task of captioning video content by looping one short section of a video at a time.

In addition to simplifying the captioning process, MovieCaptioner also has the ability to export captioned videos as QuickTime movies, as well as standalone caption files in a variety of formats.

Getting MovieCaptioner

MovieCaptioner is available for free to all Penn State faculty and staff. Contact synchrimedia@gmail.com to inquire about obtaining a copy. Please use your PSU ID email and state whether you need the Mac or Windows version. Other users can purchase a license for MovieCaptioner – see Synchrimedia.com’s "Buy MovieCaptioner" page.

MovieCaptioner is also available on all Macs in Penn State CLC Student Computing labs. It will be coming to Windows labs in the near future. If you’re unsure whether a given lab has this software, consult the Lab Locations page on the CLC Web site.

Required Software and Additional Plugins

MovieCaptioner is a QuickTime-based program, and requires the use of Quicktime 7 Pro or later. Like MovieCaptioner, QuickTime 7 Pro is installed on all Macs in Penn State CLC Student Computing labs. The Windows version will not require QuickTime Pro, but it is still recommended. You may need other software to convert your Windows movies to QuickTime or MPEG-4 movies to use with MovieCaptioner.

Also, depending on the type of video file you’re trying to caption, you may need to install some additional QuickTime plugins to ensure compatibility. Possible required plugins, all of which are available for free download for Mac OS X, include:

These plugins are not available for Windows at this time.

Creating a Caption File

If you are creating the captions for your video, you’ll need to type them out in the MovieCaptioner interface. To create new captions for a video:

  1. Open MovieCaptioner from your computer’s Applications folder.
  2. Click Load Movie in the top left corner of the screen.
    The Load Movie button in MovieCaptioner
  3. Find your video on your hard drive (for best results, do not use a mounted drive). Click Open.
  4. Enter a name for the MovieCaptioner project file and select a location in which to save it. Click Save.
  5. Click Start to begin adding captions. MovieCaptioner will begin looping a short segment of the video.
    The Start button in MovieCaptioner
  6. Type your first caption in the black box underneath the video player. When you’re finished, hit the Enter key on your keyboard to record the caption and its timecode. MovieCaptioner will then move on to the next segment of the video.
    The area in which new captions are entered in MovieCaptioner
    Note: To force a line break in your captions, type a pipe ("|") character. Note that this only inserts a line break, and does not signify the end of a caption.
    Note 2: To change the length of the segment that MovieCaptioner loops, change the number of seconds in the field labeled Repeat Interval. However, the default 4 second loop works well in most cases.
  7. Repeat Step #6 until the entire video has been captioned.
  8. If necessary, edit your captions in the caption list in the right-hand area of the MovieCaptioner interface.
    The Caption List area of the MovieCaptioner interface

Moving Caption Text

The Editing tools provide a number of useful features, such as the Insert Caption, Split Caption, Remove Caption, and Merge Captions options.

When these tools are to move text between lines, MovieCaptioer is able to readjust time codes.

The Editing tools in the MovieCaptioner interface

Formatting Caption Text

You can also change the appearance of your captions by using the Text Properties tools underneath the video player.
Note: This only affects
new captions . To change existing captions’ text properties, set the options you wish to change, then click either the Change Selected Caption(s) or the Change All Captions buttons.

Text Properties windows with options for font face, size, color, and background color

Importing a Caption File

If you already have a transcript or existing caption file for your video, you can import it into MovieCaptioner for editing, embedding and/or exporting. To import captions:

  1. Open MovieCaptioner from your computer’s Applications folder.
  2. Click Load Movie in the top left corner of the screen.
    The Load Movie button in MovieCaptioner
  3. Find your video on your hard drive (for best results, do not use a mounted drive). Click Open.
  4. Enter a name for the MovieCaptioner file and select a location in which to save it. Click Save.
  5. Click on the Import menu and select one of the file types.
    MovieCaptioner's Import menu. Includes text options, STL, Flash XML, SCC, SRT, Quicktime, YouTube Cart and others
  6. Make changes to your captions within MovieCaptioner as needed.

Adding Timecodes to a Transcript File

If you already have a transcript of your video but it has no time codes, you can import it to MovieCaptioner and assign each line a timecode to create captions.

Any imported text must be in a .txt file, as other types of text files (e.g. .doc, .rtf) may contain formatting information that will cause problems in MovieCaptioner. To import a transcript and assign timecodes:

  1. Click on Import and select Text in Paragraph Form or Text in Line Form.
    MovieCaptioner's Import menu
  2. Find the transcript file on your hard drive or server space and click Open.
  3. If you imported Text in Paragraph Form, MovieCaptioner will import the captions, separating them by sentence. However, if a sentence is over 90 characters, it will be broken into multiple captions. If you imported Text in Line Form, each line (again, up to 90 characters) will be a caption.
  4. After you import transcripts either in paragraph form or in line form, a Set Timecode button will appear at the top of the caption list. Click the Set Time Code button to play the movie.
    Set Time code button
  5. Click the Set Timecode button again at the end of each caption line to insert a time code.
  6. Repeat the previous step until the end of the movie is reached.

Exporting Caption Files

Once you’ve created or edited your video’s captions, you can export a caption file into a separate text file, which can then be paired with the video in a desktop or streaming video player.

This option allows you to correct the text of a caption file if necessary or, in the case of YouTube, provide multiple captioning options for one video.

To export a file.

  1. Refer to your particular video system’s documentation to determine which file format you need.
  2. After determining what type of caption file you need, choose the appropriate file format from MovieCaptioner’s Export menu.
    Note: Among MovieCaptioner’s export options are .srt files (for uploading to YouTube), SCC files for iTunes, Flash XML files, and many others. .
    MovieCaptioner's Export menu with options for QuickTime, SMIL, YouTube, SCC, SRT, SAMI, WMP, Flash XML plain text transcripts and many others.

Embedded or "Burned" Captions

Another method of exporting is to export a QuickTime movie with the captions embedded or "burned" in the video. This results in an "open caption" caption because captions are part of the image and cannot be hidden.

This method is less flexible than exporting a separate caption text file because errors cannot be easily fixed, but is required in some services.

  1. Click on the Export menu and select Embedded QuickTime.
    Selecting Embedded QuickTime from MovieCaptioner's Export menu
  2. MovieCaptioner will automatically launch QuickTime, which will open a .mov file of your captioned video.
  3. Save the .mov file on your hard drive or server space.

Adobe Connect Caption Template

MovieCaptioner offers a template to allow users to caption recorded Adobe Connect files. See the Adobe Connect page for more information.

More Information

For more information on using MovieCaptioner, and walkthroughs for utilizing some types of captions, go to Help, then How to Use MovieCaptioner.

Synchrimedia also has tutorial videos, as well as a MovieCaptioner FAQ, which is helpful for troubleshooting specific issues. These resources are also linked under the Help menu in MovieCaptioner.

Top of Page