Captioning with Compressor

There’s a lot of misinformation on the net about how to do proper Quicktime captioning using Compressor. Here’s the deal.

To start with – Compressor 3.0.4 can caption MPEG-2 files, as well as MOV and M4V files. When it first shipped, it could only deal with MPEG-2, and some sources haven’t been updated to reflect the additional formats. That means, you can add a proper closed captioning track to a quicktime movie, and have it playable on an iPhone or Apple TV, etc.

Next, the captions must be in the Scenarist Closed Caption (SCC) format. This is a really funky format, as my recent rants have attested. The definitive site on the format is that of the SCC Tools project. There’s not a ton of other information out there, as much of the spec is locked up in a design document that’ll run you $170.

I believe the commercial MacCaption application will output SCC, as will a handful of other applications. Next week, I’ll post some sample code for converting DFXP (flash) captions into SCC.

So, to get started, open Compressor and add your video. Highlight the background space of your imported video and then click the “additional information” tab.


Now, select “choose” at the top and point to your SCC file. Click save at the bottom of the pane.

Now you just need to pick your preset (again, any mpeg-2, mov or m4v preset) and submit the job as per usual.

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