How to change the positioning of captions in YouTube

It’s very easy for content creators to change the positioning of captioning in YouTube. This is a short demo on how I do it using the webVTT caption file format.

The first step is to go to your video in YouTube’s captioning and subtitling menu and download your captions in .vtt format (aka webVTT).

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Downloading the webVTT caption file for your YouTube video

For a short video like my test video you will get the following file (which can be opened up in a text editor, such as Sublime Text).

WEBVTT
Kind: captions
Language: en
00:00:01.920 → 00:00:03.040
Good morning.
00:00:03.040 → 00:00:05.069
My name is Michael Lockrey,
00:00:05.069 → 00:00:06.120
and today I want to show you
00:00:06.120 → 00:00:11.120
how to change the text colour
and positioning of captions.

To change the positioning of each individual captioning “block” all we need to do is add some additional code to the webVTT file.

WEBVTT
Kind: captions
Language: en
00:00:01.920 --> 00:00:03.040 align:right size:35% position:100%
Good morning.
00:00:03.040 --> 00:00:05.069 align:left size:35% position:0%
My name is Michael Lockrey,
00:00:05.069 --> 00:00:06.120 align:left size:35% position:0%
and today I want to show you
00:00:06.120 --> 00:00:11.120 line:10%
how to change the text colour
and positioning of captions.

To view these positioning changes in action, check out the 10 second test video on YouTube and if you want to learn more about the webVTT caption file format make sure you have a look at the draft webVTT standard.

Now the next challenge is to see whether it’s possible to specify alternative caption colour styling for different caption “blocks”, which is often used in traditional broadcast media (ie TV) to differentiate between different speakers, sound effects etc.

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