With the new March 2021 update that brings Premiere Pro to version 15, there are a few small updates that change certain workflows. One of those is captions! The captions workflow has been updated, and, frankly, modernized. The old system felt clunky and outdated, while the new system is much easier and more intuitive to use. Captions are great, because they not only allow those with hearing impairments to enjoy your videos, but they also allow for anyone scrolling through their feed with their volume off to understand what’s happening in your video.
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To get to the new captions workflow, the best way is to use the Captions workspace tab at the top of Premiere Pro.
This will show the main timeline and program monitor as well as the Text section for captions, and the essential graphics panel so that you can edit the captions. Editing captions is much easier now, and the workflow has easy access to the essential graphics panel. It combines the best of the old captions system with the good parts of editing text with the essential graphics panel.
The new caption system treats captions the same as any other clip on your timeline, but it gets its own special subtitle track on your timeline. Otherwise, you can drag captions around on the timeline like any other clip. The Text panel lets you write a new caption and adjust the start time and the end time. But you can also adjust the time by dragging it around the timeline or by manually typing in a time.
To create a new caption, the playhead needs to be on a section of the timeline that does not currently have any captions.
So, setting up captions is pretty easy. Now let’s take a look at how to edit the captions. Select the caption that you want to edit, then move over to the essential graphics panel. This should be familiar if you’ve used the panel to edit titles. It’s the same interface, and lets you change every aspect of the text including font size, type, color, and effects. When it comes down to it, the new captions workflow works mostly the same as current titles and text graphics system, which is a fantastic improvement that makes Premiere Pro feel more internally consistent.
Since this is the essential graphics panel and the caption is just a text layer, you can edit the text content either in the captions text panel or in the program monitor itself.
A few new features show up in the essential graphics panel for captions. First is the ability to create a style or pick from a list of saved styles. This uses pre-built formats that have all of the properties including color and font type. This makes it incredibly easy to create videos with consistent captions.
You can also choose which area on the grid you want your captions to be placed on, although bottom middle will be the most common.
If you’ve already written and timed your captions with an SRT file, you can easily import your file into Premiere Pro and the timings will already be set. So no matter how you do your captions, this new workflow makes it super easy.
When you go to export, you can either create a sidecar file for uploading a text version of the caption, or burn captions into the video, which is what you’ll want if you spent time stylizing them. If you want to export a version without captions, just keep None selected.