How to caption your video in YouTube

As Scenesaver users know when we started Scenesaver one of the most important reasons for creating the site was that theatre should be available and accessible to all.

We do our utmost to make Scenesaver as user friendly as possible. For example you may have noticed that we have an accessibility button so the site can be altered to allow keyboard navigation, increase contrast of colour, highlight the links on the page, make the text larger and also read the selected text to you.

We have had loads of lovely emails from our users and creatives. We really do appreciate each and every one and hopefully we have replied to you individually to thank you for your kind words.

But one thing that did crop up was a request for subtitles. There is a large audience waiting to watch performance but in need of some help with hearing the speech.

So we’ve written a quick guide to adding subtitles to your work. We hope all our theatre companies will find the time to do this because it seems remarkable that people spend such attention to detail yet subtitles are very much an after thought rather than being regarded as an essential for any performance. And yes, we know, everyone, especially at the moment, is cash strapped, so the good thing about the method below is that it is absolutely free.

A quick guide to subtitling your video in YouTube, tips & resources

Subtitles are easy to add to your video. Here is a tutorial video telling you how to do it and step by step instructions on YouTube help page:

Go to YouTube Studio, edit the video and choose Subtitles:

  1. Choose the language for the subtitles or closed captions that you want to create. Use the search bar to find languages that don’t automatically show in the list. If you’ve already started working on a language, you can select it from My drafts.
  2. In the draft for the language you want to work on, play the video. If your fans have added updates since your last version, you’ll see a “Your fans submitted an update” notice at the top of that language draft’s screen.
  3. When you get to the part where you want to add something, type your content into the box. Don’t forget to add text describing other sounds happening in the video. For example, you can add sounds like applause or thunder as [applause]or [thunder] so viewers know what’s going on in the video.
  4. If you need to, adjust when the caption starts and ends by dragging the borders around the text under the video.
  5. Repeat this process for all the spoken words in the video. If you don’t have time to finish the whole video, your changes will be saved in your drafts and you can pick up again later.
  6. When you’ve finished, select Publish.

To speed up your work, you can also use these keyboard shortcuts:

Shift + left arrow: Seek back one second.

Shift + right arrow: Seek forward one second.

Shift + space: Pause or play the video.

Shift + enter: Add a new line.

Shift + down arrow: Edit next subtitle.

Shift + up arrow: Edit previous subtitle.

Enter: Add the subtitle.

Here’s an another tip, if you have a script it is worth having the file open so you can save time by copying and pasting the words straight into the subtitles.

So that’s all there is to it!

We are hoping as many creatives and theatre companies as possible will in future send us two versions of their work one with and one without subtitles.

Good luck! We look forward to seeing your subtitled submissions.

Please email us at if you have any subtitling tips or shortcuts and we will add these to this blog.


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