February 21, 2023

How to Easily Add Subtitles in iMovie

Desk with computer
minute read

It's no secret that subtitles have become an essential part of the video and movie creation process.

For marketers, influencers, and video creators, adding subtitles in iMovie ensures that your video content is easy to understand for your potential audience.

Fortunately, iMovie's user-friendly interface has made the process of adding subtitles easy and straightforward. We'll take you step-by-step through the process on your Mac.

Why put subtitles in iMovie?

Screenshot of iMovie interface

iMovie is the platform designed by Apple to produce, edit and modify your video content. With its many specialized features, Mac owners have a tool where they can express all their creativity.

While the platform does not directly generate subtitles, it does have the "Titles" feature that you can use to add captions, quite pleasing to the eye. Also, you can adjust the font color, size, positioning of subtitles, transitions, and duration of the video. Pretty good, right?

Here are the reasons why you should put subtitles on this platform :

  • To make your content accessible to many languages and nationalities. For example, you may have to translate a YouTube video whose original language is German.
  • To increase the engagement of your advertising videos on your website or on social media. Adding subtitles is indeed essential for sound-off videos and to improve the impact of your message.
  • To make your video accessible to deaf and hard of hearing people. People often neglect this, but this audience can represent almost 20% of users on the web.
  • To easily add indications or credits at the end of your short film or movie.

Whatever the reason, there's no doubt that iMovie is a fantastic video editing program that will help you stand out from the crowd. Here's how to use it step by step.

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How do I import a SRT file into iMovie?

First, a note of clarification: if you have already a subtitle file in SRT or VTT format, you cannot import an SRT or VTT file directly into iMovie. Too bad!

Yet, there are still other ways to get around that:

  • Share your video on social networks, by simply importing your SRT file on the platform. Youtube, Facebook, Wistia or Linkedin will display your subtitles on the video. But you won't have subtitles of very good quality.
  • Do subtitles by yourself on iMovie
  • Encode subtitles into your video with an automatic solution

Here is a description of the last two alternatives.

How to add captions in iMovie

To add subtitles in iMovie, the only way is to enter them manually in your project interface. You have to insert the different text blocks using the "Titles" function in iMovie :

  • Open the iMovie project and import your iMovie video
  • Drag the video into the iMovie filmstrip and begin editing
  • Click on the "Titles" option at the top of the page.
  • Select and add the title that suits you to the timeline of your iMovie
  • Select the text tile option
  • Drag and drop the subtitle and synchronize it with the audio
  • Switch to the default setting to adjust your title style; here you can also change the text, font size, boldness, outline of the title

Professional advice:

  • Take the time to adjust the titles of your video as it is quite tedious to go back and change them later.
  • You can either type your subtitles by hand or copy/paste the subtitles and align them to the duration. Just copy a line and paste it into the title frame.
  • Adjust text duration precisely to ensure sound alignment in your video
  • Once the subtitles have been added, now export the iMovie project with the subtitles to ensure alignment, accuracy and synchronization.
  • No special settings are needed in iMovie to export the video. Just click on the "Share" button in the top right corner of the application. Choose your video file and from iMovie, Facebook, iTunes, YouTube, etc., you can share it with others.

How to add subtitles in iMovie 11

The process of adding subtitles to iMovie may depend on the version of iMovie you are using. As for iMovie 11, here's the process :

  • Go to "File" and select "New Project".
  • Drag your video from the Event Browser to the project window.
  • Choose the style of the title
  • Click the "T" (Text button) on the editing toolbar (menu bar)
  • Select the title of your choice and apply it by dragging it over the project to place it where you want it
  • Customize subtitles such as font size, color, subtitle placement, lines, etc.
  • Customize the text of your subtitles
  • Drag your subtitles to project them where you want to add titles
  • Now the text will be highlighted in the viewer, allowing you to select the background, change the duration of the subtitles to increase the duration of the movie.
  • Double-click on the title to change the duration or ;
  • Drag the clip's cursor in the iMovie project to adjust its duration and position.
  • Edit subtitles in the preview window

After editing, click "Play" to preview the subtitles of the video clips. Then you can save and share!

iMovie captions: how to encode them into your video

As you can see, the manual method is quite complex. Fortunately, on the internet, there are many solutions that will save you more time. Automatic subtitle generators are especially very handy for getting the job done while giving you the ability to edit and adapt your subtitles.

We will talk here about our solution, Checksub.com. Here's how it works:

1# Upload your video to the platform

To start, log in on the Checksub platform. By registering, you will have direct access to the interface to upload your video.

Add a video

Select your content and indicate its original language. You can also choose between several languages to make the translation if necessary.

Select your content and indicate its original language for iMovie

To try the platform, you have 1 hour of video for free. If this is not enough time for your video, you can buy credits at a low price.

The API will then perform the speech recognition and provide you with the result in a few minutes.

2# Check and adapt the result

When the result is ready, click on the language of your video and access the subtitle editor. You then have a dedicated interface to check the transcription, the translation and also to optimize the synchronization of your subtitles with the audio.

Subtitles to iMovie : check and adapt the result

3# Export the subtitled video

Once you have obtained a result that suits you, you can then insert your subtitles in your video. To do so, press the "Export" button, then press "Export Video".

Subtitles to iMovie : export subtitled video

You can then customize the appearance of your subtitles (size, color, font, positioning…) and upload your video in the format you need.

Subtitles to iMovie : customizing of your iMovie subtitle

Bottom line :

Now you know how to easily add subtitles to your iMovie videos. Hopefully, Apple will soon create a feature to add subtitles to videos and movies. In the meantime, you can add subtitles to your video by simply following the steps mentioned above.

We hope this guide will help you make awesome videos for your audience!

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