Importing an SRT into Premiere Pro 2020 & 2021

(The above video covers all this as well, but for those who’d rather read, than watch a video… here ya go!)

Getting an SRT file into Premiere is easy!

But, then it gets not so easy getting it to display correctly.

This is mostly fixed in the new caption system that Premiere 2021 has. We’ll go over that in a minute, but first let’s talk about how it works in Premiere Pro 2020. (if you only care about 2021, then jump ahead)

Premiere Pro 2020 SRT Import

1: Like you would import any other file, go to File>Import or Command/Control+I.

2: Select the SRT file you want.

3: It’ll appear in your Project panel.

4: You can drag it onto your timeline as you would any other file.

Now the fun starts.

Enable Captions from the Tool menu
5: From the Tools menu in the Program panel (the wrench icon), make sure Closed Captions are enabled.

5b: Go into Settings and select Open Captions

6: The captions should now display in your Program panel.

7: In many cases, SRT files start off being displayed very small.

You're gonna need bigger captionsThose bigger captions sure look good!

8: USUALLY the easiest way to fix this is to go to the Caption panel and change the point size. You do this by Right+Clicking on any caption and ‘Select All’. (this is the only way you can select all the captions)

Select all the captions

8b: With all the captions selected, you can then change the Size for all of them. (or change any other attribute for that matter)

9: The other problem that occurs is that Premiere will bring in an SRT file with a 720×486 resoltion. Not helpful for a 1080p project. In the lower left corner of the Caption panel you’ll see Import Settings. Click that to make sure it matches your Project settings.

Import settings for captions

Other Fun Tricks: SRTs with Non-Zero Start Times

If your video has an opening without any dialog, your SRT file will usually start with a timecode other than Zero. However, Premiere doesn’t recognize SRTs with non-zero start times. It assumes ALL SRT files start at zero. If yours does not, as in the example below, you will have to move it to match the start of the dialog.

You don’t have to do this with SRTs from Transcriptive. Since we know you’re likely using it in Premiere, we add some padding to the beginning to import it correctly.

Premiere doesn't align the captions wtih the audioIf your captions start at 05:00, Premiere puts them at 00:00

Importing an SRT file in Premiere 2021: The New Caption System!

(as of this writing, I’m using the beta. You can download the beta by going to the Beta section of Creative Cloud.)

0: If you’re using the beta, you need to enable this feature from the Beta menu. Click it on it and ‘Enable New Captions’.

1: Like you would import any other file, go to File>Import or Command/Control+I.

2: Select the SRT file you want.

3: It’ll appear in your Project panel.

4: You can drag it onto your timeline as you would any other file… BUT

This is where things get different!

4b: Premiere 2021 adds it to a new caption track above the normal timeline. You do need to tell Premiere you want to treat them as Open Captions (or you can select a different option as well)

4c: And Lo! It comes in properly sized! Very exciting.

5: There is no longer a Caption panel. If you want to edit the text of the captions, you need to select the new Text panel (Windows>Text). There you can edit the text, add new captions, etc.

6: To change the look/style of the captions you now need to use the Essential Graphics panel. There you can change the font, size, and other attributes.

Overall it’s a much better captions workflow. So far, from what I’ve seen it works pretty well. But I haven’t used it much. As of this writing it’s still in beta and regardless there may be some quirks that show up with heavier use. But for now it looks quite good.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *