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How to Make Subtitles for Your VLC Media Player Videos

VLC Media Player on a laptop

VLC Media Player is one of the most popular free media player programs, and perhaps the media player of your choice for watching videos and movies. One of its key features is letting you add closed captions to your videos to enhance your watching experience. However, your videos may lack the right subtitles, or any subtitles at all, so you’ll need to make the closed captions yourself.

Here’s how you can make VLC closed captions for your videos.

1. Transcribe your video

Transcribing your video makes putting together the subtitles significantly easier, as it removes the worry of correcting grammar, spelling, and timing of the subtitles.

Here’s how you transcribe your video:

  1. Open your video in VLC media player.
  2. Open the word processor of your choice.
  3. Place VLC media player and your word processor beside each other.
  4. Play your video and transcribe it in the word processor. Indicate the timestamps for each line.
  5. Polish your transcript when necessary.

Making a transcript can be long and tedious, so you may have to spend a lot of time and energy. Alternatively, you can use an automated transcription service like FreeTranscriptions! to make your transcript for you. Simply upload the audio of your video file, and you’ll receive your machine transcript shortly.

2. Create the subtitle file

VLC Media Player supports multiple subtitle text formats. If you want to create basic VLC close captions for your videos, SubRip Text (.srt) is highly recommended. You only need a basic word processor like Notepad to create an .srt file.

The general format of a subtitle sequence in an .srt file contains the following:

  • Sequence number. This tells VLC Media Player about the ordering by which the sequences should be shown.
    • Timecode. This includes both the start time and end time (hour:minute:second,milliseconds), separated by a “–>”
  • Subtitle text. This is what VLC Media Player shows when the video is playing. You can show a maximum of two lines per sequence.
  • Space. There must be a blank space between each sequence. Leaving this out will cause an error when you try to load the .srt file to VLC Media player.

This is what a subtitle sequence looks like:


00:00:00,000 –> 00:00:05,000

FreeTranscriptions! is an 

automated transcription service.



00:00:05,001 –> 00:00:10,000

All you have to do is

sent your audio file,



00:00:10,001 –> 00:00:15,000

and you will receive a machine

transcript—quick and easy!


To create the subtitle file for your video in VLC Media Player:

  1. Create a copy of your transcript. Open the copy.
  2. Play your video in VLC Media Player.
  3. Reformat your transcript based on the .srt format requirements.
  4. Save it as an .srt file.

3. Test the subtitles in VLC Media Player

Testing your subtitles is important to make sure that:

  • The lines are in sync with the audio.
  • The text has the right amount of length for readability.
  • All the subtitle text appears.

To test your subtitles:

  1. Click “Add Subtitle file…” under “Subtitle” on the top menu.
  2. Select your .srt file.
  3. Watch the video and take note of the timestamps where there are subtitle errors.

4. Polish the subtitle file

After taking note of all the subtitle errors, open your .srt file in your word processor and correct them. The most efficient way to do this is:

  1. Create a copy of your .srt file.
  2. Open your new .srt file in your word processor
  3. Play your video in VLC Media Player with the old .srt file added.
  4. Edit your new .srt based on your notes and the video being played.
  5. Save your new .srt file.

You can name your .srt file with the same filename as your video so that when you open the video with VLC Media Player, your subtitles will automatically appear without you having to add them manually.

Creating subtitles for your videos on VLC Media Player is rewarding but also tiresome, especially when you do it repeatedly. The challenge is in transcribing the video—it may take up a lot of time and energy that you can use in other activities. Instead of doing it yourself, use an automated transcription service like FreeTranscriptions! to get the transcript almost immediately and make subtitling your videos a lot easier.