Subtitling isn't one of the most glamorous sides of post production, but is has to be done. These inexpensive tools should make the task easier and cheaper.
We don't do much subtitling, just the odd set of translations when a different language interview appears. You can of course use one of the built-in templates in FCPX or, as we do use the 14:6 and 16:9 subtitle tool in the XEffects Toolkit.
That might be fine for a few, but what about the task of subtitling a larger production or even a movie?
The key here is making and using a SubRip or .SRT file.
There are two applications from Somac that when used together will provide an inexpensive and quick way to get production subtitled.
Subtitle Edit Pro creates an SRT by the user selecting a range on an imported movie and either tapping in the text or correlating it to an imported text file. This $30 app from the Mac App Store looks incredibly easy and quick to use. The name and the logo attracted us to their product and although it doesn't directly work with FCPX, you will see the benefits later.
- Waveform Operations: Double click to play, one click to stop. Dragging to make timecode. Drag the edge to adjust timecode. Double click on subtitle to edit text. —Text View Operations: It’s a standard Plain Text Editor. Click timecode to jump. Use arrow key on keyboard to shift timecode forward or backward.
- Warning Triangle: Too many letters per line OR Too many letters per second.
- Delete timecode to merge subtitles and hit return key to split up a subtitle to two subtitles.
- Command+JKL to step forward/backward specific frames.
- Option+JKL to fast forward/backward.
- MP4, MOV, M4V without DRM, 3GP and most audio format supported.
- Subtitle overlay to the movie for reference.
- Support multiple line subtitles.
- Basic formatting supported: Italic, Bold, Underline and Font Colour.
- Set starting timecode.
- Adjust timecode to any HHMMSSFF.
- All drag and drop supported.
Having successfully built an SRT file, you have two options, soft or hard subtitles. Soft subtitles use the SRT file when a programme is transmitted or built into a DVD or Blu Ray with the viewer having the option to turn the titles on or off.
Hard subtitles burns in the text to the movie. This is where the second application from Somac helps. Final SRT is a $15 application that merges an SRT file with Final Cut Pro X or FCP7 XML.
So by using a combination of Subtitle Edit pro and FinalSRT, you can have an inexpensive and elegant way of getting subtitles onto a movie in FCPX. All for just $45. Got to love the FCPX ecosystem!
One caveat here, it all looks very cool, especially Subtitle Edit Pro, so before buying the apps we suggest you watch the videos and take a look the respective website pages. We have not tested the combination out.
If you do use these apps, we would love to hear from you in the comments.