How to add captions and subtitles in AVID Media Composer

A step-by-step guide for working with subtitles and AVID

Overview 🔈

Avid Media Composer is a powerful tool but the subtitle workflow is definitely lacking. The good news is that by using Sonix you can make the process much faster and easier.

There are three main steps:

  1. Create a caption file in Sonix
  2. Import a caption file into AVID Media Composer
  3. Polish captions in AVID Media Composer

Step 1: Create a caption file in Sonix 📋

The first is fast & easy. Creating a caption file in Sonix reduces a lot of the headaches around manual transcription and subtitle creation. Here's how to do it:

  1. Upload a file to Sonix: https://sonix.ai
    If you don’t have an account, you’ll need to create a free trial account first
  2. Sonix will automatically transcribe your file in a few minutes
  3. Edit the transcript within Sonix as needed
  4. Export the caption file using the Avid Media Composer export option

Step 2: Import a caption file into Avid Media Composer 📋

There are several things you’ll need to do before importing. We'll break them down into two sections:

Import media files

You think that this should be easy, but there are a few settings to change first.

  1. Step 2A

    Start a timeline by right-clicking inside the Bin area, and choosing “New Sequence.”

  2. Step 2B

    By default the Media Composer starts at one hour → 01:00:00:00.

    You can change this by right-clicking the Tracking Information Menu (Mas TC1) and selecting “Sequence Report.”

    Adjust the start time and “apply changes.” Then press “Cancel.”

  3. Step 2C

    Go to the Bin window and right-click inside the area and scroll to “Input”. Now select “Import Media.”

    From here you can select any audio, video, and media you’ll include in the Media Composer project. Press “Open.”

  4. Step 2D

    Your files will encode with Avid’s Media Creation center and then, they will appear inside the Bin.

  5. Step 2E

    Drag a video from the Bin into the Sequence window below. It will automatically populate video and corresponding audio channels.

Now you are ready to import your captions!

Import captions file

It’s unfortunately not as simple as pressing “Import” and selecting a file.

  1. Step 2F

    In the top menu of Avid Media Composer, click on “Timeline”. Now scroll to “New” and then select “Video Track.”

    This extra video track is where you’ll place your captions or subtitles file.

  2. Step 2G

    Toggle the new video track and then go to “Tools” in the top menu of Avid Media Composer.

    Choose “Effect Palette.” Once the Effect menu is open, locate “Generator” and click this.

    On the right, you will see “SubCap.” Grab and drag this item onto the blank video track in the Sequence window. The track should turn to “Filler.”

  3. Step 2H

    Toggle to the “Filler” track and then return to “Tools.” and select “Effects Editor”.

    This will bring up the SubCap options. Expand the “Caption Files” part, and choose “Import Caption Data.” and grab the file you exported from Sonix.

Important note:

Your subtitles must align exactly with the media you brought into Media composer or it won’t import. So please double check everything!

Step 3: Polish Captions in Avid Media Composer 📋

There are two ways to polish your captions once they are in AVID Media Composer:

Adjusting text appearance

Avid Media Composer subtitles’ are in an open-caption format so it allows users to adjust several text attributes.

  • To edit the font color or size just toggle to the captions track and then, click “Tools”, and “Effect Editor.” The SubCap menu should appear.

  • Expand the “Text Appearance” menu and adjust your fonts as needed.

  • You also have similar options for “Box Appearance” regarding your subtitles’ background.

Text caption and times

Avid Media Composer subtitles’ are in an open-caption format so it allows users to adjust several text attributes.

  • In Avid Media Composer, you edit your caption file inside the Effects Editor. You’ll find it in the “Edit Master Caption List.” This is where you’ll be able to modify the text.

  • If you need to adjust the start and end times you can do that in the Sequence window using the “Segment Mode” icon. It’s the red arrow along the toolbar. Just click and drag the subtitles item where you want it.

In conclusion... 🔦

There you have it. Adding captions and subtitles to your videos using Avid Media Composer is not super easy, but yes it is possible. The big time savings comes by using automated transcription services like Sonix so that you don’t have to do it manually or break the bank by paying someone else to do it.

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