Tip #1446: Match Captions to Sequence Timecode

… for Adobe Premiere Pro CC

Tip #1446: Match Captions to Sequence Timecode

Larry Jordan – LarryJordan.com

Caption timecode only matters when exporting a finished sequence.

The Captions options panel, in File > Export > Media.

Topic $TipTopic

JZ recently sent me an email worried that his caption timecode didn’t match the timecode of where the captions were to appear in his Premiere sequence.

Worse, there was no way he could find to change the caption timing.

The answer, as Gandalf once said, is easy once you know it. An SRT caption file is a file like any other video file – except it contains captions. Timecode doesn’t matter when you import, only when you export.

In other words, after you import a caption file:

  • Put the playhead where you want the captions to start in the timeline.
  • Select the caption file in the Project panel.
  • Edit the caption file to the position of the playhead in the timeline.

NOTE: Remember, captions always need to be the top track in your sequence.

Just as you can put a video clip anywhere – regardless of the timecode of that video clip, you can do the same with a caption file. The key is to place the start of the captions in the right spot.


When it comes time to export the captions, once they are placed in a sequence, choose File > Export > Media.

  • In the Export Settings dialog, click the Captions tab.
  • Set Export Options to Create Sidecar File
  • Set File Format to SubRip Subtitle Format (SRT)

This creates a separate SRT caption file whose timecode matches the sequence.

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2 replies
  1. Loren
    Loren says:

    I was tasked with aligning caption tracks with the show sequence track. The distributor instructed me to create a sidecar file that would export at sequence start- 00:00:00:00– even if the first caption started later in the show.

    My question is: does your procedure address this? When the distributor’s clients open the sidecar file (.srt, .scc, or .mcc) can they simply line it up at the head of the sequence and see the first caption occur where it should, even if it’s, say, at 00:02:03:04?

    Best, as always,

    • Larry Jordan
      Larry Jordan says:


      Um, maybe.

      If you export the caption file using File > Export > Media, the caption timecode will align with the sequence timecode. However, the first caption will show when that caption appears, not the start of the project.

      How these get imported depends upon software. Final Cut will import from the start of the project and properly align the subtitles. Premiere requires you to start the caption clip at the first appearance of the caption. Other player software will integrate the captions on the fly.

      So, it depends upon your player software.



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