How to Add Captions to Your Video...[Brisbane Video Education]

“Things are not always what they seem; the first appearance deceives many; the intelligence of a few perceives what has been carefully hidden.”

― Phaedrus

This month we've been talking about Video Strategy, and if you've missed my post on this you can find it here.

So this week I'm going to talk about a topic that is becoming more and more popular...CAPTIONS.  Should you include them in your videos?  Read on to find out.

Also, thanks to Nathan from Your Local Termite and Pest Control for his email asking a question about an easier way to create captions in Kinemaster (phone editing app), that doesn't require manually having to enter it in.

The long and short of the answer is...No there isn't. And I have a sneaky suspicion that Nikki's video from last week's post, created questions around captions, as she used them in her video.

We're seeing the use of captions in video more and more now. In an article dated May 2017, it states that 85% of video is watched without sound. A whole year on, that statistic may have increased significantly.  Like any statistics though, you still need to weigh this up and look at your particular video strategy to determine whether using captions in your videos is critical or just a nice-to-have.

But I must admit, I now watch videos (mainly in FB) without sound first. Then if I think it's something I'd really like, I'll replay it with sound.  What are your thoughts on captions in video?

Screen shot from video I added captions to, using Kapwing.

Screen shot from video I added captions to, using Kapwing.

So, how do you add captions to your videos?

Well, it depends. 

But before we get to that. If you go to my previous post 'Shooting, Editing & Uploading Your Videos', I've listed the best and most cost-effective editing apps, both for your smartphone or PC.

Understand that if you use phone apps, they are going to be clunky and they require a lot more work and fiddling around. It's cheaper, but it's also time consuming.  There is always a trade-off.

If you're wanting to up the quality and complexity of your videos, and you intend to create regular, consistent videos, then to save you time, for a small investment, you're better off investing in a PC editing software like Camtasia or Cyberlink PowerDirector. 

So even if you create videos on your phone, you can upload those into your PC software and edit and upload from your PC.


So just say you've created your video on your phone (or DSLR/video camera) and you want to add captions.  Here are some options for the most commonly used platforms:

Kinemaster|Phone App

(Phone only) When editing in Kinemaster You have to manually add text as you listen to the video. You also have the ability to add a background to the text (See this video for instructions on how to add text/captions. Warning: it's in a foreign language, so just mute it). Keep in mind that's it a pain, takes longer and it's clunky.

(Phone or PC) If you're using phone, there is another app that you can download that has the option to add captions. It's called Kapwing. You can also download this app to your PC, and I recommend that it's better to do it via your PC as it's too hard in the phone app. Also, there is a cost to remove their watermark at the bottom (like all free apps). You can pay a one-off fee of $6 USD or a monthly fee.

Camtasia & Cyberlink Power Director   

When editing your video in either Camstasia or Cyberlink Power Director you can:

  • Manually add text (easier than phone apps)
  • Upload an SRT file (Subtitle file), which is the most common type of 'Transcript File'. 


If you're uploading your video Youtube, you can do one of three things:

  •  Upload a transcript file, i.e. SRT file.
  •  Create a transcript file manually (too hard!)
  •  Use YouTube's automatic captioning service (not recommended due to less-than-optimal translation).

See this link to a very easy to understand video on how to do add captions in YouTube.

Facebook Live Video  

You can switch on the option to add captions automatically. Understand that the translation won't be perfect.

Facebook Video

  • a)  SRT File.  You need to upload your video first. When facebook tells you it's been uplaoded, then go back to the video and click OPTIONS in the bottom right hand corner then choose 'edit this video' where you will see where to upload your SRT file. 
  • b)  Upload a video you've already added captions too.


Upload your video file to your Linkedin post. Once the file is uploaded, click on the pencil icon (edit) in the top right of the video and select your SRT file and save.


Upload a video you've already added captions too.

So  how  do  you  create  an  SRT  file?

Okay, there are a number of ways. The first way is to manually transcribe your video as a *.txt file. This is way too hard and time consuming. But if you'd like to know then you'll have to google it.

My Recommendation: I like the fastest and easiest option.  Choosing the difficult path results in you stalling and never getting to the next step. 

The easiest way that saves time is to have the captions converted from your video into an SRT file. So the best online service that can do this automatically for you is REV.COM captions editor. It costs $1 (USD) per minute (super cheap). 

Step 1: So you  place an order and select 'captions'. You upload your video file, and choose to convert to SRT file. What it will do is then read the video and create an SRT file format (.srt). 

So if you use Camtasia or Cyberlink Power Director, you can import the SRT file directly into the software and it will automatically create the captions for you. The beauty about this is that the file has all the timestamps included in it. If you had to do it manually, it would take forever because you have to write in the timestamps. 

As a test, I uploaded a 1 min video file (extract of a testimonial video) that I used for instagram to REV.COM.

It took 6 mins for them to create an SRT file and cost $1.15 AUD or thereabouts for the file. Also, you can edit the text in the file before downloading the completed SRT file. Because sometimes they don't always pick up the correct spelling of things like names.  So you can correct it, then download the file with the corrections. But it's very accurate. 

As an experiment, I then uploaded the original video file to a free program called HD Video Converter, and uploaded the SRT file to add captions to the video.

This is the result...

The point is, once you have an SRT file, you can upload that to multiple platforms to create captions on your videos.

Let me know if this helps, and if you have any questions.

Thanks again to Nathan for this great question!

Kerry :) x