New Storyline Feature: Closed Captions

Hey folks,

We just released a new feature for Storyline 360: Closed Captions! This is one of our most requested features, and allows you to add closed captions to both video and audio (narration).

Storyline supports the standard Closed Caption formats in use today: .srt, .vtt, .sbv and .sub. These are super easy to create with a range of third party tools such as YouTube (we’ll add a simple caption editor in a future update, coming soon).

You can specify a custom font in player properties, and choose whether to use a built in player control or roll your own button with the new Player.DisplayCaptions trigger. As you’d expect, everything works seamlessly across desktop, tablets and phones.

Check out Arlyn’s video for more info:

And here's the full Closed Captions Documentation.

To get started, just update your 360 Desktop App and then update Storyline 360.

For an overview of everything in the March ’17 update, see our What’s New Page

Thanks,

Simon

156 Replies
Will Findlay

If you want to use YouTube's captioning tools to create caption files for your audio, this page might also be helpful in converting your audio to a video format:

How to Upload audio or image files to Youtube.

Also... It's technical and involves knowledge of the command line, but this information is useful in batch converting audio files to video: http://superuser.com/a/700471 (which you could then upload to YouTube to caption).

So, for example, if you have a folder full of mp3 files, you could do this to convert them all to mp4 video files that will upload to YouTube:

  1. Download FFmpeg
  2. Copy the FFmpeg.exe file into your folder of mp3 files
  3. Copy an image (logo.jpg) into your folder of mp3 files
  4. Shift + Right-click on the folder and choose "Open command window here."
  5. Type or paste for %a in (*.mp3) do "ffmpeg" -loop 1 -r 1 -i "logo.jpg" -vcodec mpeg4 -i %a -acodec copy -shortest %a".mp4" into the Command line

    (This finds every mp3 file in the folder, and finds a logo.jpg image file in the folder and combines them into an individual mp4 video file)
  6. Your folder should now have a duplicate set of mp4 files for each mp3 in the folder which you can upload to youtube to caption.

 

Baptiste Recoules

Hello to  all,

I was very pleased to see the implementation of this function in storyline, but after a few hours testing, I have several questions :

- is there a way to change the font size and color, the background color and transparency, the alignment or the position in the screen of the subtitles ?

- which format is the better, or offers the more possibilities (I tested only with srt).

- the feature is unboubtably usefull for long texts and audio, but I see less interest in the most common use (from my side) of audio in storyline. Usually my audio files concern something like 1 or 2 sentences, that can be displayed in one time in a subtitle. I now use a text zone in masks displaying a text variable which is updated depending of cue points on the time line. 

From what I've seen using srt will be less flexible (no customization of aspect), and won't save time, as I will need to create a text file (.srt) for every audio file I use. I will maybe gain a little time for translation only.

a functionnality that could be very usefull and help me change my mind, would be the ability to type the text directly instead of uploading a file, with of course the ability to export it as srt... 

Simon Taghioff

Hi Baptiste,

We currently only allow you to change the font or specify basic formatting (b, i, u) via the caption file. This is on purpose – as captions are primarily about accessibility, we have formatted them to ensure they meet the standard legibility guidelines for contrast, size, line length etc. and are able to adapt to e.g. mobile devices appropriately. We aren't opposed to adding more flexibility in a future update, but generally the further you customize your captions, the less compliant they will be, and the harder it will become for us to adapt them dynamically to different playback environments while respecting the choices you make as an author.

With that in mind, it doesn't matter whether you use a basic captions format like .srt or a more advanced one like .vtt; most of the features we have chosen to support are common to all formats.

In terms of authoring, the current workflow is definitely more suited to authors who create their audio and video externally and work with longer sections of spoken word. We are currently building a caption editor for Storyline which would allow you to author captions directly within the tool which we intend to release in a forthcoming Articulate 360 update.

Crystal Horn

Hi there Jessie!  Thanks for asking your questions.  The closed captioning button may not always be visible throughout your course. It’s only visible when captions are available on the current slide or layer. It’ll disappear for slides and layers that don’t have captions.  You can read more about it here!  If you are seeing any other odd behavior, though, we'd love to help with that.

And you can increase or decrease your caption font size by going to your Player Properties and selecting caption font and Player font size as described here.  The text background and transparency will remain as defaulted.  I hope that helps you, too, Baptiste!  Thanks for sharing your thoughts, and I hope you get some good feedback about people's preference when it comes to the caption file format.

Baptiste Recoules

Hello,

after further testing, Voicebase seems to give good results in transcription of audio files to srt with timecode (tested on 10 files : great results in english, a little less good in french but acceptable with a proofreading).

It should be helpful in my case of a lot of short audio files (too bad that your need to download srt files one by one) and Importation of srt files simultaneously with the media files becomes really usefull.

Adding this to translation simplification, to your convincing explanations on accessibility and to the future ability to edit subtitles in storyline, it seems that this CC feature will be a great tool !

 

mat corrado

Thanks, Diona.  It turns out that the captions.sbv file was missing timestamps.  I took the liberty of editing the .sbv file for you.  Attached is your project with the working captions file.  You can export the captions file and open it in a text editor or source code editor to see the changes I made.  Always be sure to save a captions file encoded as UTF-8 in order for it to work properly.

You will find more helpful information in the Closed Captions Documentation.

Hope that helps!

Andrew Sellon

Hi!  This is great--I'm about to start exploring Storyline 360 in my Trial period.  However, I've just had a client ask me to create a player-less course template with a custom Transcript button that shows the contents of the Notes (transcript) button for each slide, rather than the content of any separate CC file.  Ideally, it would be a moveable box and offer an "x" for closing right on the transcript box itself, but even just being able to toggle it on and off might work.  Can I accomplish this easily in Storyline (either 2 or 360)?  It's less fancy than the timing of a true CC file, but it's all my client needs/wants.  Thanks for any pointers people can share!

Wendy Farmer

Hi Andrew

a lot of people use the notes tab at the bottom of each slide to create a Transcript and change the label 'notes' to 'transcript' in the player. The tab then becomes available in the sidebar or top bar (if located in the top bar, the click, shows the transcript and click again will hide it)...see quick video attached.

Andrew Sellon

Hi, Wendy--thanks for your note.  Yes, I always change the text on the Notes tab to "Transcript" on my courses when I use the Storyline player.  But that was not my question.  ;-). Per my first post, in this case, the client does not want to use the Storyline player at all.  They want a player-less, clean look.  So all navigation needs to be custom.  I've built modules with the player invisible before, but have not had to show the Notes/Transcript text content in such a project until now.

I'm asking if there's a way for a custom button to show/hide a text box/object with the content of the developer Notes (transcript) for each slide.  Ideally, the box would be moveable and closable with an "x"--but just toggling on and off would probably be acceptable.  I do not need the closely-timed text appearance of a true closed captioning video project.  Just the option to view the Notes/Transcript text as desired by clicking a custom menu button in a course with no Storyline player showing.  This may well be something very simple, but it's new to me, and I have not had luck finding information on this point in the forums.

If anyone can provide info/pointers for this particular need, I would greatly appreciate it.  I do not have Javascript coding experience yet, but am happy to learn some basics if that's the only way.  I'm just hoping there's a simpler way.

Thanks.