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Subtitle Process for Doc

I mentioned something on Twitter earlier this week (although i forget exactly what now) about some of the subtitle workflow for HDHC. I figured it’d be easier to share what I’m doing in a blog rather than over Twitter in 57 tweets.

The challenge was to create my subtitles so I didn’t have to manually insert every layer and text in to After Effects. They’re not straight subtitles though as you can see here in the teasers. They’re a permanent part of the finished film and I’m also keeping them off the bottom of the screen in the event we want go to a foreign market with it. I also wanted to do something sexier than straight titles in the same vein of Unheralded.

Most of the credit for this goes to Tobias Roediger at Rave VFX. He’s the one that developed most of the work flow based on my needed criteria and dug up all the scripts to make it work. Here’s a breakdown of what I’m doing in my 12-step program:

  1. Mark Premiere Sequence (markers obviously) where each new line of text i your .TXT file is supposed to begin.

  2. Adobe Dynamic Link the Pr sequence in After Effects (if you just import, your sequence markers become comp markers and DL makes them layer markers which is what you need for the first script to work).

  3. Create empty text layer in your new composition.

  4. Select Pr sequence first, select empty text layer second.

  5. Run rd_CopyMakers script – layer markers on the imported sequence layer will not be copied to the new text layer.

  6. Select text layer.

  7. Run rd_MapTextFileToMarkers script – obviously you’ll be selecting your .TXT file here. All your titles should now be in the appropriate place.

  8. S

  9. elect text layer again.


  1. Run pt_LayerMarkers script: I select “split layers at cut” this places each line of text into separate layers.


  1. Double-tab UU (to show all your text marker animation points).


  1. Delete all markers preceding and following current marker on each text of the new text layers. This allows to adjust the lengths of the lines of subtitle independently of all the markers.


  1. Now adjust your style as desired moving things around, adding effects etc.


Yes, this does require some setup but it’s way faster than doing everything by hand. The After Effects scripts do the bulk of the heavy lifting and you can focus on the art part of the titles. It still takes time, but saves a lot more time than it takes.

#aftereffects #avid #postproduction #subtitles

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©2019 by Jay Friesen.

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