A .SRT file (or a subrip file) is a special file type for storing captions and timings. It’s essentially a text file that contains a numbered list of captions. Each section of the .SRT file contains a number, start time, end time, the caption text, and a new line to signify when the text should appear as an overlay on the video. Time stamps are represented as Hours:Minutes:Seconds, Milliseconds. There’s a specific formatting: the times must appear as HH:MM:SS,MS with an arrow ” –> ” exactly between the start and end time.
If you don’t want to deal with this finicky formatting or pay to order an SRT file, I recommend an SRT Maker called Kapwing. Kapwing has a tool for typing and timing out your subtitles with a specialized editor. This editor makes it much easier to listen to the video and create an SRT file to match the audio track. In this article, I’ll explain how to make an .SRT file using Kapwing’s Subtitle Maker.
If you have a Kapwing Pro Workspace, you can now download your subtitles as an SRT file. Just open the Subtitle Maker, generate or type out the text, adjust the timings, and click the “Download SRT” button in the left column.
Note that this feature is only available to Kapwing Pro customers. People using Kapwing for free will need to upgrade their account before they’ll see the “Download SRT” button in the Subtitle Maker.
Why Make an SRT File?
SRT files are useful when uploading Closed Captions to social media platforms. Video sites like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, and YouTube and hosting platforms like Wistia and Vimeo rely on SRT files to show dynamic subtitles to the viewer. These captions will only appear when the user clicks the “CC” button in the viewer — if you want the text to appear for every viewer, you have to add Open Captions instead. Most hosting platforms have a space to upload an SRT file before you publish.
Subtitles make videos on social media more engaging for people with the sound off and more accessible to people with hearing disabilities. If you have multiple audiences who speak different languages, you might want to upload an SRT to the platform instead of burning the text directly into the video so that different languages appear for different viewers.
There are four steps to making an SRT file:
- Open Subtitle Maker
- Add Caption Text
- Adjust Timings
- Download SRT
Step 1: Open Subtitle Maker
Go to Kapwing’s Subtitle Maker and upload the video you want to add captions to. Once your video uploads, watch your video in the left-hand preview. Click the "Subtitles" button at the top of the screen to enter the captioning view.
You can upload one from your computer or phone or import a video from YouTube. Kapwing support all types of file formats, including MP4, MOV, AVI, FLV, MP3, and other common video types. If you’re a Kapwing Pro subscriber, you will see a “Download SRT” button in the left panel.
When you're signed in, Kapwing will save your video in your digital workspace. If you close your draft, you'll be able to return to work later.
Step 2: Input Caption Text
Once your video loads in the subtitle editor, the next step is to type out the captions that you want to appear in your SRT file. Manually input the subtitles or use Kapwing’s AI to automatically generate the text with a machine transcription. You can edit the subtitles and tweak the timings until the video preview looks right.
If you already have an existing SRT file, you can upload it to add the SRT and edit the text and timings. Use the video preview to fix the alignment of the text and the soundtrack of the video. Kapwing works for any language, including Hebrew, Arabic, Georgian, Bengal, CJK, and the latin alphabet.
Creators can also generate a closed caption file in a different language using the "Translate" button near the bottom of the left action bar.
Step 3: Adjust Timings
In the video preview on the left, you can see what the captions will look like when overlaid on the video. To adjust when each subtitle begins and ends, use the start and end sliders below each subtitle or click the "Set to current time" button whenever the cursor moves over the correct timestamp. You can also input timestamps from your keyboard.
Step 4: Download SRT
Once you have the subtitles and the timings you want to create, click the “Download SRT” button on the left panel under “Video Options.” Kapwing will gather your subtitles into a .SRT file and download it to your computer with the file name “Subtitles.srt.” Then, you can upload this file with the video to social media platforms to make sure that captions show up.
Now that you've finished captioning your video, click "Done" to return to the main Studio view. You will see the captions that you just created in the first track of the timeline. Feel free to adjust the timing of subtitle layers as you make your final post-production edits.
If you use the "Export Video" button, the subtitle text will be burned directly into the video file. The captioned MP4 will look the same no matter what platform a person sees it on (know as Open Captions). Now, your SRT file will be saved in the form of the video it's related to. This is particularly useful for editing the caption file of a YouTube video.
Once you have your SRT file, find the place on the social media platform you're using to upload an SRT. As long as the SRT file is longer than your video, you should be good to go.
Thanks for reading! If you want to get the SRT file for videos that you’ve already created, just click “Edit” to go back to the subtitle editor and download the SRT file retroactively. We hope that this new functionality makes it easier for Kapwing Pro customers to produce captioned social media videos at scale. As always, please let us know if you have feedback or ideas for improvement as we expand this feature to more creators.