It’s simple to add closed-captions and subtitles in Adobe Premiere Pro with the right captions file formats. While you could type all your captions by hand, it’s easier to import captions files from Rev. This guide will help you learn how to import and export captions and subtitles in Adobe Premiere Pro.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to add captions and subtitles in Adobe Premiere Pro:

  1. Select a caption format for Premiere

  2. Import caption files into Premiere

  3. Edit captions in Premiere

  4. Add Foreign-Language Subtitles in Premiere

  5. Export captions with Premiere (sidecar files, encoded, burn-in)

Let’s get started with the captions workflow in Premiere!


What captions formats can I use in Adobe Premiere Pro?

Adobe Premiere Pro supports the following caption formats:

  • Scenarist Closed Caption File (.scc)
  • MacCaption VANC File (.mcc)
  • SMPTE Timed Text (.xml)
  • EBU N19 Subtitle (.stl)
  • SubRip Subtitle Format (.srt)

For this article, we will primarily be using SRT files.

Importing Closed Captions in Adobe Premiere Pro

Once you have a caption file, follow these steps to add captions in Premiere.

Prior to importing your captions or subtitles, you should adjust your import settings. You find this in the “Captions” window.

If you have your import settings switched to Open Captions — for example — it could affect your text appearance and playback. But, we discuss that more in the following section.

1. Import Captions File

Click File in Premiere Pro’s upper right corner. You’ll see the Import option within the lower list. Find your file and select it. Press Open.

2. Place Captions File in Project Timeline

You should see the captions file among your other project items. Grab and drag the unit into the Sequence window. The captions unit should go in the next available space above or below your video file.

3. Enable Close-Captions

You must enable the closed-captions feature within the Program window. Otherwise, your captions will not appear during video playback.

Activate the closed-captions feature by toggling the “wrench” button in the bottom-right corner of the Program window.

Scroll down to Closed Captions Display, then click Enable.

NOTE: It’s possible the captions or subtitles still won’t appear. This is because the settings are different than your captions file, as mentioned regarding the import settings. If your closed-captions file is CEA-608/CC1, that’s what you need to select in the settings display.

That’s basically it. You’ve previously edited the subtitle file to your desire so, this is just plug-and-play. Of course, you can adjust color schemes, fonts, and positions of the captions themselves.

Aside from visual aesthetics, there’s not much difference in Premiere when dealing with foreign subtitles.

Adding Foreign-Language Subtitles Using Adobe Premiere Pro

With a foreign-language caption file, follow these steps to add subtitles in Premiere.

1. Import Subtitles File

In Adobe Premiere Pro, you can add multiple subtitles files to the project. You add them the same exact way you import captions from the previous example.

It’s visually less confusing to place them close together. But, that’s personal preference.

Once your subtitles are in queue, click and drag them into the timeline as seen in the above screenshot.

2. Edit Subtitles in Premiere

Double-click desired text in the Sequence section, and the highlighted captions will appear in the editor.

You see from the imported example, German subtitles are available for edit on the screen’s left side. If you need to add text or adjust any fonts, colors, times, or positions, they’re all enabled.

Yet, ensure your captions are set to the appropriate channel or format. For instance, in Adobe Premiere Pro, there are four available channels within CEA-608:

  • CC1
  • CC2
  • CC3
  • CC4

If you have multiple subtitle groups, it’s not recommended to set all captions and subtitles to one particular stream.

Complications with Foreign Characters in Subtitles

For the most part, captions save as “text” files. However, unless your imported subtitles have specific encoding, it won’t show in Adobe Premiere Pro during playback. Instead, you’ll only get asterisks or “blocks” on your screen.

It’s probably best to import open captions or open subtitles as a Timed-Text Markup Language (.TTML) file. This is previously called a Distribution Format Exchange Profile (.DFXP) file.

At Rev, we’ve seen success using this method.

However…

According to the Adobe Support Community, several Premiere users have found a work-around.

It requires you to open the foreign subtitles file in a text editor that allows a BOM (byte order mark) feature.

You have to re-save your file using the UTF-8 encode with BOM enabled. After saving the file with this specific encoding, according to the Adobe community, your foreign subtitles should properly appear in the project.

Exporting Captions and Subtitles in Adobe Premiere Pro

After the video mixdown is ready to go, it’s time to export. With Premiere, you have a few export options for your subtitles and captions.

  • Export as Sidecar caption files
  • Encode into Output File
  • Burn Captions into Video

1. Sidecar Options

In Adobe Premiere Pro, click File at the top left of your computer screen. Highlight Export and choose Media.

You’ll arrive at Export Settings. From there, pick the video format. For example, one standard is H.264. This format allows you to select whether your video captions will render separately.

Under the Captions tab, select Create Sidecar File. Press Export.

NOTE: If you choose “Create Sidecar File,” you’ll see various format options. This includes .scc, .mcc, .xml, and .stl in Premiere Pro.

2. Encode into Media File

There’s another method that gives viewers the luxury of toggling on or off captions and subtitles when viewing in a media player like iTunes, Quicktime, or VLC Media Player.

This method allows you to embed the captions information into the video output file. For instance, one available format is QuickTime.

NOTE: Depending on the QuickTime preset, some “file format” options may be restricted.

But inside the viewer’s video program, s/he has the option to select whether s/he wants or doesn’t want to see captions.

If foreign subtitles are available, they also appear in the selection list.

But, this isn’t the same as burning captions and subtitles into the video file.

3. Burn Captions into Video

If you burn captions into the video file, everything will render as a complete mix — no sidecar file needed. This option is available in the same area where you choose the export format.

Using this method, all captions will appear on-screen at all times. There is no option to turn them off. This may be ideal for a video where subtitles are needed for the whole thing.

Your Captions Workflow in Adobe Premiere Pro

In a nutshell, this is a short — or not so short — guide to adding captions and subtitles to your videos using Adobe Premiere Pro. Regardless of sidecar files, encoding captions, or burning subtitles into the video, you can achieve it all with this program.

While Rev is definitely ready to take on your subtitle needs, it still pays to know how to work Premiere Pro for yourself.

Nevertheless remember, with Rev, you can easily cut out the manual work of typing and creating captions on your own. Use Rev to get your captions for only $1/minute and in every caption format available, at no additional charge.