Whether you’re creating video for business, legal, academic, personal or other reasons, offering closed captions and subtitles can be beneficial for both your audience and your business.

Adding captions to your videos means that your audience can watch and enjoy your video no matter what environment they’re in — whether they’re at home, in a noisy cafe, or watching a monitor at a busy event.

Important note: You may know that captions and subtitles are similar, but they aren’t the same. Captions are a transcription of dialogue, while subtitles are a translation. They both appear as text on the bottom of your screen, and typically represent the speech between characters on your television or computer.

Throughout this article, though, we will use both captions and subtitles interchangeably as examples. That’s because the process of uploading them in Adobe Premiere Pro and Amazon Direct is the same, regardless of which you are using.

Further, it makes your video accessible to a much larger audience. By offering captions, you address the needs of the deaf or hard of hearing, and make it possible for them to enjoy your content. You can even take it one step further and make it enjoyable for those who speak other languages by offering subtitles on your videos.

As an added benefit for you or your business, captions make it possible for search engines and other platforms to search the content of your videos, making it easier for people to find your content and boosting overall SEO (search engine optimization).

The first step is to have your video captioned or subtitled. But after you’ve downloaded your caption or subtitle files, the next step is to add the captions or subtitles to your video content.

Whether you’re looking to add subtitles in Adobe Premiere Pro or closed captions in Amazon Direct, keep reading for a simple walk through on how to add captions and subtitles to your videos on these platforms.

How to Add Captions and Subtitles to Video in Adobe Premiere Pro

import files adobe premiere pro

To get started, import your files, including the video file plus the captions file (.SRT, .SCC, etc.) Ideally, the video file you use should be the same one that was used to transcribe and create the caption file. That way, the words and timing of the text will be lined up with the captions. You can adjust the alignment of the caption with the audio or edit the text of the caption directly in Adobe Premiere if needed. More on that later.

Drag files into your timeline

Drag the files into your timeline. You’ll notice that the audio and video are separated into different tracks (if you don’t have them separated already), which can come in handy later if you only want to overlay different visuals over the corresponding audio.

Drag your caption file into your timeline (.SRT in this example), and make sure to add it as its own track, instead of adding it before or after the other files in the same track.

drag caption file

closed captions display setting

Before you do anything else, make sure that the “Closed Captions Display” setting is enabled. To do this, find and click the tool icon in the Program area and find the “Closed Captions Display” menu option.

Now that you have your video, audio, and caption files in your timeline with captions enabled, you’ll notice two things.

First, in the program view (preview of what the video currently looks like) the caption placement and size may default to options that you’d like to change. You can easily relocate the placement of the captions and make them bigger or smaller as needed.

Second, if you’re working with multiple files, or have used the razor tool to cut your clip into smaller editable pieces, consider using the shift button to select all of the caption files or clips before moving or resizing the caption.

premiere pro cc resizing

resize captions adobe premiere pro

With the captions now sized and located exactly where you want them visually, it’s time to test that the captions are timed correctly with the audio and video.

 zoom into a smaller portion of your sequence

Use the slider at the bottom of your timeline to zoom into a smaller portion of your sequence, which will allow you to clearly see the written captions in each section and make it easier to move or edit them.

test the alignment of the captions with the video

Press the play button or the spacebar to play your video with captions to test the alignment of the captions with the video, and take note of any areas where you might like to make adjustments.

Adjusting the alignment or length of captions in Adobe Premiere

You may find that one of your captions ends too quickly or stays for too long relative to the audio or video.

Adjusting the alignment or length of captions in Adobe Premiere

At this exact point in the example above, the audio is still saying the word “transcription” while my caption has moved onto the line “for just $1 per minute”, which means it needs to be adjusted just slightly.

To adjust the caption length, move the playhead (blue vertical bar) in your timeline to pinpoint the exact place where you’d like the next caption to start.

adjust the caption length

Now, hover over the beginning or end of the caption clip in your timeline, click, then drag and drop your cursor to the desired location.

gap between the previous caption and the next caption

Now that there’s a gap between the previous caption and the next caption, go back to the previous caption, drag and drop the end of the caption clip to exactly where you’d like it to stop.

Adjusting the Alignment or Length of Captions in Adobe Premiere

If the video you uploaded doesn’t perfectly match up with your transcript because it was a different version, it was previously edited or some other reason, you can easily edit the text of your captions even though your caption file is already uploaded. To edit the text of your captions, select the “Audio” or “Graphics” panel options at the top of the page.

edit the text of your captions

In your timeline, click on the caption sequence. On the left side of your screen you will notice the “Caption” panel options appear, where you can edit the text of your captions line by line.

edit the text of your captions line by line

From this menu, you also have the ability to edit the text font, color, add musical notes, adjust the size, and other options.

Export Burnt in Subtitles

“Burnt in” subtitles mean that when someone views your video, the subtitles or captions are always in view; there is no option to enable or disable them.

After you’ve added and edited subtitles to your video in Adobe Premiere Pro, you can also export the subtitles as a separate file.

When you export your media, choose your desired format e.g. H.264, and under the captions tab on the export window, you’ll have the option to create a Sidecar File. This will export and download two separate files: one file with the complete video with burnt in subtitles, and another .SRT file with just the captions.

How to Add Subtitles to Video in Amazon Direct

The first step to add subtitles to your video in Amazon Direct is to add your media. Start by adding your video file to the “Mezzanine” file section, then add your transcript or caption file to the “Captions” section. Captions are required to upload video to Amazon Direct.

Add Subtitles to Video in Amazon Direct

Select the frame rate and language for your captions. The standard frame rate for videos is 30 fps.

Select the frame rate and language for your captions

In Amazon Direct you’re not able to preview your video and subtitles, so it’s critical that your subtitles be perfectly lined up with the audio and video at this point. See above for instructions on how to export a captions file from Adobe Premiere Pro.

Upload subtitles Amazon Direct

Wait for your subtitles to upload to Amazon Direct, select “Save”, and there you have it! You’ve successfully added your subtitle or caption file to your Amazon Direct video.

The Ultimate Guide to Closed Captions

Download our comprehensive guide to captions on Facebook, YouTube, Vimeo, Netflix, Amazon Video Direct, and iTunes.