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Captioning Solutions for Handheld Media and Mobile Devices
M4V Captions

This page contains information about adding closed captions to M4V movies targeted for the Apple iPhone, iPod touch, iPod nano and iPod classic. (Captioned M4V movies can also be played using the QuickTime Player, iTunes and Apple TV.) Apple requires that closed captions-- those which can be turned on and off by switches included in the device's software-- be in the SCC (Scenarist Closed Caption) format before being added to the uncaptioned source file. Please note: SCC caption files have no styling support and closely resemble line-21 broadcast captions (white monospace font over a black background). If you want to add styled captions-- that is, those that use colors, different font sizes and faces, etc.-- to your QuickTime multimedia, read more about creating and using QTText files for captioning.

Adding SCC captions to M4V movies

You can create SCC captions directly by using the following applications:

You can also download SCC command-line tools to convert various caption or subtitle formats to SCC.

Finally, note that you will need QuickTime Pro to add SCC captions to uncaptioned movies.

Once you have SCC files in hand, use the following instructions to add them to videos.

  • Using the QuickTime Player, open the original, uncaptioned video. Open File/Export and choose Export to iPod.
  • Close the original movie and open the newly exported file. Set this window aside.
  • Open the SCC file in the QuickTime Player. You should see the captions displayed over a white video region, as shown in the picture below. If you don't see captions, make sure the captions are turned on by choosing View/Show Closed Captioning or pressing Command+Option+T.

SCC caption track in the QuickTime Player

  • Select the entire track by choosing Edit/Select All or pressing Command+A
  • Copy the track by choosing Edit/Copy or pressing Command+C
  • Open the original (uncaptioned) movie in a new QuickTime Player window
  • Make sure the playhead is positioned at the beginning of the timeline, then add the SCC track to the movie by choosing Edit/Add to Movie or pressing Command+Option+V.
  • Play the movie. If you don't see captions, make sure the captions are turned on by choosing View/Show Closed Captioning or pressing Command+Option+T. SCC captions played in the QuickTime Player are shown in the image below.
SCC captions visible in a QuickTime movie

  • Save the captioned movie using a new filename by choosing File/Save As..., making sure to select the "Save as a self-contained movie" radio button in the dialog box.
Transfer the captioned movie to the iPhone, iPod Touch or iPod Nano using iTunes. The procedure for toggling the captions on and off varies by device:

  • iPhone and iPod touch: Go to Settings/iPod and move the Closed Captioning slider to "on"
  • iPod nano and classic: Go to Videos/Settings and select "Captions"
Other Apple devices and software will also play closed-captioned M4V movies:

  • QuickTime Player: Open View/Show Closed Captioning or press Command+Option+T
  • iTunes: Open Controls/Audio & Subtitles/Show Closed Captioning, or hover the pointer over the video window to reveal the on-screen controller, click on the bubble icon and choose Show Closed Captioning
  • Apple TV: Open Settings/Audio & Video/Closed Captioning/(Standard or Enhanced)