About MovieCaptioner

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 University of Melbourne staff (authentication required).

Plese contact Andrew Normand, Web Accessibility Program Leader, if you would like further information.

Creating a Caption File - Minimal Path

The fastest way to create captions is by creating a text transcript of the video and then use MovieCaptioner to set the timecodes for each line of text.

Create a Transcript

  1. Start by opening your video in a video player, such as VLC.
  2. Click 'Playback' and adjust the Playback Speed to suit your typing speed (0.35 is a good starting point).
  3. Open a text editor
  4. Adjust the size of the windows so that you can see both the video player and the text editor.
  5. In order to keep your captions to one line they should be no longer than 54 characters in length. Add some characters to the text editor as a guide:
  6. Play the video and type the transcript. Note: line breaks should reflect the natural flow of the sentence and its punctuation.
  7. Save the transcript as a TXT file

Create Captions

  1. Open MovieCaptioner.
  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 and click 'Open'.
  4. MovieCaptioner accepts MP4, MOV, M4V, and MP3 files natively. For FLV (Flash) movies you will need to download the free Perian plugin for QuickTime at htttp:// If you are trying to load a WMV (Windows Media) movie, you will need the Flip4Mac plugin. Also, if you are using OS X 10.5 or newer on Mac, make sure you have QuickTime 7 installed. QuickTime X (the default QT Player for Snow Leopard) will not give you all the functionality of QuickTime Pro. QuickTime 7 is also required for Windows.
  5. Enter a name for the MovieCaptioner project file and select a location in which to save it. Click 'Save'.
  6. Click on 'Import' and select 'Text in Paragraph Form' or 'Text in Line Form'.
    MovieCaptioner's Import menu. Includes text options, STL, Flash XML, SCC, SRT, Quicktime, YouTube Cart and others
  7. Find the transcript file on your hard drive or server space and click 'Open'.
  8. A 'Set Timecode' button will appear at the top of the caption list.
  9. Click the play arrow to start playing the movie.
  10. Click the 'Set Timecode' button at the end of each line to insert a time code.
  11. Repeat the previous step until you reach the end of the movie.
  12. Often there is a delay between you hearing the audio and clicking on the 'Set Timecode' button. Click on 'Edit' > 'Shift Start Times...' to make the start times sooner by 0.5 or 1 second.
  13. Tip: getting it right the first time is difficult. To start again, click 'Edit' > 'Delete All Captions in Caption List'. Then import the text file again.
  14. 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
  15. 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.
  16. Click on 'Export' and select the appropriate file format. SRT will work with most web players.
    MovieCaptioner's Export menu with options for QuickTime, SMIL, YouTube, SCC, SRT, SAMI, WMP, Flash XML plain text transcripts and many others.


  • Add a blank caption at the start ' ' for the intro.
  • Add additional blank space captions ' ' where there is no audio.

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.

  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.

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.


This document has been reproduced with the permission of Penn State University: