How to add text to your videos

Any creator knows that the quality of audio on a video is just as important as that of the on-screen visuals.

Putting text onto a video is a great alternative or addition to the soundtrack creators choose. Indeed, many audiences prefer it. Recent surveys have found that 80% of viewers aged 18 to 25 prefer content with subtitles.

Captions add creative emphasis to your film’s sound while subtitles make your movie more accessible. Whichever option you choose, this article will outline the benefits and best practices for adding text to your video.


Why add text to your video?

If you’ve just spent hours shooting and editing your video, you might avoid the extra step of adding text. However, there are several benefits to doing so.

  • Increased engagement

Anyone who’s recently scrolled through Instagram and TikTok will know that adding captions or subtitles to videos is a growing trend. With 90% of viewers now watching videos on their phones via a social media platform, viewing them without any sound isn’t uncommon.

By adding captions or subtitles, creators make the video consumable for viewers watching in silent mode. This text can also help to emphasize or communicate specific information, such as locations, objects, or names.

  • Better accessibility

Subtitles are essential for helping those who communicate in different languages from your own,  are deaf, hard of hearing, or find audio difficult to process. By adding text , creators will help more people to follow the narrative and dialogue of a video.

They’re also a relatively simple way of translating a video for multiple languages. So you can easily make one edit suitable for several different markets.

  • Driving conversion

Adding text to a video can motivate people to take further action. You can add clickable links to Instagram stories or TikTok videos to drive viewers directly to your site.

Any regular YouTube user will also know the ‘like, share, and subscribe’ line by heart. Yet it’s repeated by every influencer and creator for a reason. It drives further engagement and action.


Adding subtitles to videos manually

To add subtitles to your video content, you need to transcribe it first. Doing this manually can take more effort and time, but can help you avoid the errors that sometimes pop up in an automated version. It’s also the only option if you’re adding a translation to a video.

If you’re adding the subtitles yourself, you can do this by typing directly onto the video in your edit software. Though it will take some time to listen, pause and type out a whole transcript.

To save time or for a translation, you can hire a specialist agency. They will provide you with a text transcription that’s time-stamped to sync with the video. This is usually a SubRip Subtitle (SRT) which you can upload to your video file.

To add text to a YouTube video, you can use YouTube Studio. The “Pause while typing” feature makes it easy to add or edit captions as the video plays. This saves a lot of clicking and helps you to remember what you just heard.


Automatic subtitling

Instead of transcribing YouTube videos, YouTube Studio has its own speech recognition solution. When you’re uploading your video, make sure you input the language alongside all your other metadata. YouTube will automatically generate the text based on the words it detects.

This can take anything from a few hours to more than a day. Creators also need to review auto-generated for punctuation, spelling errors, and misinterpreted words.

TikTok, Instagram, Facebook, Vimeo, and Dailymotion also have auto-caption features. Though again, these may need editing for accuracy. Plus, if you’re going to convert YouTube videos to other platforms, you might have to save the SRT file and upload it separately.


Adding captions or text graphics

The easiest and most effective way of adding captions or graphics to your film is to do it directly in the video editing software. This gives creators full control over text presentation, so you’re only bound by your imagination.

Each video editing software will have an ‘add text’ tool, so make sure you check the user manual.

In Adobe Premiere Pro, you’ll find the basic text tools by clicking the “T” button in the toolbar.  Once you’ve typed out your text, you can layer, stretch and add effects to it. This includes “text animate” which makes words transition in and out, move around, change color, and so on.

If you want more advanced text effects, turn on Essential Graphics from the main menu.


How to add text to video on iPhone

To add text to an iPhone video you’ve made, select the video you want in the Photos app. Tap Edit, and select More Options. Then tap Launch iMovie and Title. Select the template you want and choose a position. Now it’s a simple case of typing what you want and clicking Done.

How to add text to video on Android

On an Android phone, open your gallery and select the video you want. Tap the pencil icon at the bottom, and find the “T” icon (slide the menu right if your phone’s vertical). A cursor will appear on your screen. Start typing and select the font, color, and background highlight you want.

Tap off the text and your text will turn into a box, with which you can move, stretch, shrink, or rotate the text. Click Save, and it’ll save a copy to your gallery. As with the iPhone, you can find more advanced text editors and video editors in Google Play.


Accessible, informative, and creative

Though adding text to a video may seem like an extra, non-essential step, it can seriously enhance your content’s effectiveness. Whether you want to add a touch of creativity or drive conversion. Including text alongside quality sound will be the perfect finishing touch to your film.

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