Starting a captioning project

Special note for Windows users only: On all Windows installations, when in the Open or Save dialog boxes (e.g., functions such as CADET's Open Project, Open Media, Save Project, Import or Export) you will not be able to navigate into the “My Documents” folder on your computer. Instead, navigate into the “Documents” folder which is also displayed in the dialog boxes ("Documents" goes to the same place). Similarly, don't try to navigate into the "My Movies" folder. Instead, navigate into the "Movies" folder.

  1. File menuStart CADET, open the File menu, and select open Media...
  2. In the Open Media File dialog, navigate to and select the media clip that you want to caption. This step is required in order to actually see captions in the player. Selecting the media clip will close the Open Media File dialog.
  3. Save the project by opening the File menu and choosingSave project. You can save the project to any location and with whatever name you like. It's common to name the caption project after the media clip. For example, if you're creating captions for a video called "arthur.mp4," you might name the CADET project "arthur." CADET will automatically append the ".cadet" extension, resulting in a file named "arthur.cadet".

Creating captions

The process of captioning involves transcribing the audio track into text snippets (captions) and timing those captions to match the audio in the media clip. Some people like to transcribe large chunks of the audio and then go back later and time the captions. Others prefer to transcribe and time as they go.

Begin by transcribing caption text directly into CADET, or import an existing caption transcript into the editor.

Transcribe text into CADET

To transcribe captions directly into CADET, follow these steps.

  1. Press CTRL-spacebar to start playing the media clip and listen to a bit of the audio.
  2. Pause the media player (CTRL-spacebar). Make sure the cursor is in the first cell of the "Caption" column and then type the caption that corresponds to the audio you just heard.
  3. Press the Enter key twice to insert a new caption row in the editor. The cursor will automatically be positioned in this new row.
  4. Press CTRL-spacebar to play the media clip again.
  5. Pause the player (CTRL-spacebar), transcribe and press the Enter key twice to create a new caption row.
  6. Repeat these steps until you are done transcribing either the entire clip or a section of the clip. When you reach the last caption, press the Enter key twice to insert a blank row at the bottom of the caption editor.
  7. Move on to the next section to learn how to assign timecodes to each caption.

Import a plain-text caption transcript into CADET

If you already have a plain-text transcription of the audio track, you can import this directly into CADET instead of transcribing. Be sure that the plain-text file has an extra carriage return or blank line between each new caption. Doing so will ensure that CADET imports each caption into a discrete cell in the editor. The following example shows how to format a plain-text file properly.

	I have great news!

	(Everyone) What is it Arthur?

	Mr. Rogers is coming
	to our school tomorrow!

Note that the third caption is actually a two-line caption which will appear in a single cell of CADET's editing table.

You cannot import Word files into CADET. If your transcript is saved in a Word document, save it as a plain-text file and then import that file into CADET.

To import the transcript into CADET, open the File menu, select Import and then Plain Text. Navigate to the text file that you want to import, then select it. CADET will insert the text above the current row, pushing the current row and everything below it down further in the table (just like when you paste text into document.)

If the plain-text file that you want to import is formatted as a single paragraph of text, CADET will import the whole paragraph into a single row of the editing table. You can then break this block of text into discrete captions by using the double-Enter feature of the editor: just position the cursor at the point in the text where you want to end one caption and begin another, then press the Enter key twice. This will insert a new caption row into the editor, and will also move the remaining text into this new row.

After you import the plain-text file (and format the text into captions, if necessary), assign timecodes to each caption.

Import an existing caption file into CADET

You can also import an existing caption file into CADET. CADET currently can import WebVTT, TTML, SRT and QTtext files. Simply open the File menu, select Import and choose the appropriate file format. Note: CADET will only import text and timecodes from pre-existing caption files. It does not currently import any styling information or other markup.

After you import an existing caption file, you can re-edit or re-time the captions as necessary.

Timing captions in CADET

Follow these steps to assign timecodes to each caption.

  1. Rewind the media clip to the beginning.
  2. Put the cursor anywhere in the first caption cell.
  3. Play the clip by pressing CTRL-spacebar. When you hear the audio for the first caption, immediately press CTRL-comma. This will grab the timecode from the player at that instant and insert it into the "Start" cell for that caption, indicating the time at which that caption will appear on the screen. Note that CADET will automatically move its green focus box into the next caption cell, arming it for the next start time.
  4. With the video still playing, press CTRL-comma when you hear the audio for the next caption.
  5. Continue to press CTRL-comma for each successive caption.
  6. If there is a pause in the audio where no captions are necessary, press CTRL-period to insert an end time into the editor at the previous caption (because CADET already moved the cursor to the next row.) When the audio for the next caption is spoken, press CTRL-comma to insert a start time into the current caption.
  7. When you reach the last caption in the editor, be sure to assign a final stop time to that caption by pressing CTRL-period.

You can review your captions by pressing the "Review" button at the top of the editor. Rewind and play the video. If you see errors in the text, simply stop the video, make a correction, rewind a bit and play the video to see the corrected text in the player window. If you need to correct a timing error, simply position the video at the new spot in the timeline where you want the caption to appear, place the cursor in the appropriate cell in the caption editor and press CTRL-comma to insert the new timecode. (See the list of keyboard shortcuts for commands that will move the video playhead in small increments, giving you frame-accurate timing.)

Now you're ready to export a timed-text caption file for use with your target media player.

Exporting captions

You've created captions or you've imported an existing timed-text file, and you've edited, timed and reviewed the captions using CADET's built-in media player. But CADET's player is not your ultimate target player. You're likely creating captions to be displayed on YouTube, Facebook or Vimeo; in an embedded browser player using HTML5's media elements (such as video and track); or in a custom Web-based player that you built yourself. In any case, you'll need to export the captions from CADET into a timed-text format that's suitable for your target browser or target media player.

export dropdown menu

File menu, select Export.... CADET will display a file-save dialog for navigating to a directory, naming the file, and selecting the type of timed-text file to export. Select the Export Type that corresponds to your desired timed-text format. (See the caption-format table below for typical timed-text formats associated with browsers, video-hosting Web sites, and stand-alone applications.) By default, the name of the file is the same as the base name of the media clip, if one is selected.

When you click the Save button, CADET will do some error checking (e.g., verifying timecode continuity, etc.) and if it passes the checks, CADET will export a file of the type requested, displaying an alert indicating the file location. (If CADET finds problems, the errors are listed in the Status box as clickable links which will take you directly to the caption with the problem.) The name of the exported file will be the same as the media clip you're using in your project, with an extension that corresponds to the type of export format that you selected. For example, if the media clip in the project is named "arthur.mp4", and if you want to export a WebVTT caption file, the name of the exported caption file would be "arthur.vtt", and it will be saved in the same location as the video clip.

export file browse dialog

Timed-text formats and platforms

The following table shows typical timed-text formats that are compatible with various browsers and media-hosting Web sites.

Timed-text formats and target players
Browser platform,
Web site or application
timed-text formats
Internet Explorer (using HTML5 <video> element)
  • WebVTT
  • TTML
Firefox, Chrome or Safari (using HTML5 <video> element)
  • WebVTT
  • WebVTT
  • TTML
  • SRT
  • SRT
  • WebVTT
  • TTML
  • SRT
Quicktime Player
  • QTtext