Writing subtitles with Limecraft Flow Subtitle Editor


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Use Limecraft Subtitle Editor to create subtitles for your video in minutes. We focus on the basics to keep the complexity of subtitle editing low.

How to enter the Subtitle Editor

Find the Edit Subtitles action on a clip thumbnail and click it.

Note: Can’t find the Edit Subtitles action? It is not part of our standard offering yet. Contact support@limecraft.com if you are interested in using the Subtitle Editor.

When you open the Subtitle Editor for a clip which has no subtitles yet, you’ll see a window similar to the one below:

In cases where the audio and the quality of the speaker are good enough, you can take a shortcut using automated subtitling. For now we’ll focus on manually creating the subtitles from scratch, so click ‘SKIP‘. Automatic subtitling is explained at the end of this article.

The right side of the screen will show a list of existing subtitles (this will be an empty list at first), and the controls at the bottom of the screen change to the subtitle editor controls:

subtitler-controls

Controlling the player

So why do we have two play buttons?

transcript-f1 This is the plain old play button. Press it to start playing the media. Press it again to pause play-out.
player-f2 This will play the active range. While editing a subtitle, the active range starts at the subtitle appearance time and ends at the subtitle disappearance time.

The current playhead position is shown in the bottom left corner of the screen:
player-timecode

Besides the F1 and F2 controls explained before, these player controls are available:

player-frame-back-forward Use the buttons on the left and right of the timecode to move a single frame back or forward.
player-tc-button Enable timecode overlay. This renders the current playhead position on top of the video.
F7 moves the playhead one second back, while F8 moves the playhead one second forward. Hold shift to move a single frame back or forward.

Shortcuts, shortcuts, shortcuts!

Have you noticed the small labels below the button icons (F1, F2, …)? They correspond to the F1, F2, … keys on your keyboard. So pressing the F1 key on your keyboard will have the same effect as clicking the button on the screen. Using these shortcuts will maximize your transcription speed.

faq-shortcuts

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.

mac-keyboard

Where to find the fn and the function keys on your keyboard.

Create your first subtitle

The key to efficiently turn audio into subtitles is the “F3” button. So what does the third button do?

Press and hold to record a time range for a new subtitle.

Let’s explain that a bit more.

faq-f3

Play your video with the F1 control. When the playhead reaches the start of the subtitle you want to create, pause the video. Now press and hold down F3. The player will start playing again, and the bottom right corner of the screen should change to:

marking-time-range

The timecode on the left corresponds to the playhead position the moment you pressed the F3 key. The timecode on the right will be increasing as long as you hold down the F3 key. Hold down the F3 key for a few seconds and try to remember what is spoken out loud. Then, release the F3 key. An input box for a new subtitle will be shown, and the in and out timecodes will correspond to the range you just recorded:

new-subtitle-empty

Now type the subtitle text. A preview will be shown over the video too while your are typing:

creating-first-subtitle

Now click outside the subtitle edit box. The subtitle will save and appear in the list of subtitles on the right.

first-subtitle-created

Edit existing subtitles

To edit an existing subtitle, simply click it in the list on the right and it will go into edit mode. Clicking outside the subtitle will save your changes. Pushing the Esc key on your keyboard will abort your changes.

faq-editable

Change appearance and disappearance time

While editing a subtitle, the appearance and disappearance time of the subtitle are shown at the top of the subtitle. You can type in a new timecode, or use the arrow keys to change the timecode one frame at a time.

timecode-edit

But the best way to change the timing is to move the playhead to the desired location in the video and press the little green circle dotnext to the timecode. This will copy the current playhead position into the timing field. Note that you can use the F2 tool to preview the time range!

Change 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 region. 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:

top-region-example

A subtitle shown in the top region instead of the default bottom region.

Change the text colour

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

styles-example

Delete a subtitle

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

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

warnings

The subtitle will be verified while editing

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:

errors

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

overlap-info

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

Automatic Subtitling

Limecraft Flow’s Subtitle Editor is also integrated with our powerful automatic transcription engine. To bootstrap your subtitles automatically, open the Subtitle Editor for a clip which has no subtitles yet. You’ll see a window similar to the one below:

Press ‘START AUTOMATIC SUBTITLING’.

The subtitling workflow will start, and the screen changes to

status-automatic-transcription

Automatic subtitling might take a while depending on the length of your material. You don’t have to keep the page open for the automatic subtitling to continue. When the automatic subtitling has finished, the right side of the screen will be populated with subtitles, like shown below.

autogen-completed2

The controls at the bottom of the screen change to the subtitle editor controls. Editing these subtitles is done in the same way as explained above.

Subtitling Status

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:

faq-status

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

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’.

mark completed

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.

navbar-buttons-subtitler-too-explained

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 like to help you out if you get stuck for some reason, and we like to hear your experiences with the application!

talk-to-us

Download Subtitle Editor Cheat Sheet

Download the cheat sheet, print it, and hang it on your wall!

Download Subtitle Editor Cheat Sheet