If you prefer full control over your subtitles, or if the audio on your clip isn't good enough, you can also manually create subtitles from scratch. 

Choose the option 'Start writing subtitles from scratch' and click 'start writing'.

If there are subtitle presets defined for your production, select the correct one at this stage. This will define the styling and the timing rules for your subtitles. 

The right side of the screen will show a list of existing subtitles (this will be an empty list at first), and some extra buttons appear at the bottom of the screen.

1. Manually creating subtitles

To write the subtitles, we will “record” time ranges and provide text for them.

Let’s explain that a bit more. Play your video with the basic player controls. When you hear something you want to create a subtitle for, press the SET IN button. The player keeps on playing, and the control buttons change a bit to indicate we are “recording” a time range:

The bottom right of the screen shows the subtitle we are creating:

The appearance time has been set to the playhead position where you pressed the SET IN button. The disappearance time will increase as the player keeps on playing, until you click SET OUT. So go ahead and click SET OUT, which will fix the disappearance time and pause the player. The “recording” stops and you can now move the playhead around freely without changing IN or OUT. If you want to change IN or OUT to the current playhead position, click SET IN or SET OUT.

Tip: You don’t have to wait for the player to reach the desired OUT point to start typing your subtitle.

Now we only have to enter some subtitle text. The application will show a live preview of the subtitle over the player:

When you are happy with the results, save the subtitle by clicking the button with the floppy disk:

You have now created your first subtitle! The subtitle will appear in the subtitle list on the right of the screen:

2. Using shortcuts for faster subtitling

The fastest way to create subtitles for a clip is to use the keyboard shortcuts.

Press F9 (SET IN), which starts “recording”. You can press F9 again a couple of times if you want, to move your IN point with the playhead. Type the subtitle text you hear and press F10 when you reach the desired OUT point. Continue typing the subtitle text and press Shift+Enter to save the subtitle.

If you are using a mac (and on some other devices), the shortcut is fn+F1, fn+F2, … So you have to press and hold the fn key while pressing the F1 key (and similar for F2, F3, …). As this is a bit clunky, you might consider configuring your Mac to use F1, F2 etc. as standard function keys as explained here.

Another shortcut you can use is with the letters J, K and L on your keyboard:

  • J: 'playerSlower'
  • K: 'togglePlay'
  • L: 'playerFaster'

3. Changing the subtitle position (top / bottom region)

By default, the subtitle is rendered in the bottom region. As an alternative, the subtitle can be rendered in the ‘top region’ by clicking the region button. The icon of the button will change, and the subtitle shown over the video will change its position to something like the example shown below:

4. Changing the text colour

Select some text in the edit box, and press the button with the brush icon. A menu with text colours will appear. In the example below, we changed the text colour to green. If no text is selected and you change the colour, the entire subtitle will change colour.

5. Delete a subtitle

Press the button with the trash can to delete a subtitle.

6. Subtitle warnings

While editing a subtitle, you might see an exclamation triangle appear on the subtitle. This means you are violating one of the subtitle specifications set in the production configuration. 

6.1 Too many characters

The example below has too many characters on a single line and too many words for the subtitle duration.

The subtitle will be verified while editing

6.2 Subtitle overlap

The icon might even turn red, which means you are in trouble. A red icon means the subtitle overlaps other subtitles, which will prevent the subtitle from saving. For example, this subtitle overlaps the next subtitle:

If you try to save this subtitle, the subtitle will turn orange and inform you of the overlap:

You can either press ‘back’ to manually solve the issue, or press ‘fix’ to shorten the subtitle automatically.

7. Subtitling Status

7.1 Mark subtitles completed

Once you are happy with your subtitles, click the button ‘Mark Completed’ at the top of the Subtitle Editor. This will change the subtitling status on this clip to completed. Why would you bother doing this? Because in the Flow Library, it is possible to filter on the subtitling status of a clip. This makes it easy to find all clips which have no subtitles yet, or for which subtitles are completed:

Note: you can always revert the status to ‘editing’ if you marked a clip ‘completed’ by accident.

7.2 Reset subtitles

If for any reason you want to restart your subtitling work, click the small arrow button next to ‘mark complete’ and you’ll be presented with a menu like below. Click ‘Delete Subtitles’. Note that this will remove all your work and reset the subtitling status to ‘not yet started’.

8. Change your work area 

At the top right corner of the application, you’ll find the help buttons and some toggles to show or hide panes in the application.

Go ahead and try clicking some of the buttons. Click the button again to revert the action. For example, you can show the transcript alongside the subtitles.

The help button on the far right will show a menu with a ‘talk to us’ option. Click it to get in touch! We will help you out if you get stuck for some reason, and we would like to hear your experiences with the application!

9. Download Subtitle Editor Cheat Sheet

Download the cheat sheet, print it, and hang it on your wall! Download Subtitle Editor Cheat Sheet