Assemble Captions—A unique feature of MacCaption

See our captioning comparison chart to find the configuration that’s right for you.

When editing video that contains closed caption data, any cuts or inserts will cause the original caption track to no longer match the edited sequence. Also, any rendering such as transitions, color correction, or compositing of graphics can cause deletion of closed caption data. In the past, this would require the project to be re-captioned from scratch. MacCaption’s Assemble Captions feature can find the original captioning data, conform it to match the edited sequence, and re-insert it into the final video (including other video formats) after all the editing is completed.

Assemble Captions is a feature that is very similar to an assemble edit feature in a non-linear editing system. It is designed to import an edit decision list from Final Cut Pro via an Apple Interchange Formatted XML file. MacCaption can conform the closed captions to the video edits in the Final Cut Pro timeline, provided that the original video clip had closed caption data.

Below is a list of practical applications for this feature:

  • Editing previously captioned SD and HD video clips
  • Combining two or more previously captioned clips on one timeline
  • Adding graphics or overlays to a captioned video clip
  • Editing a vendor master for web or disc delivery without losing caption data
  • Color enhancing or correcting a video master after it has been closed captioned
  • Fixing flash frames in the final video master without losing caption data
  • Cutting foul language or adult content in a video master without losing caption data
  • Cutting video master to clock making space for more commercial time without losing caption data

Assemble Captions will try to decode the captions from the QuickTime files in the Final Cut Pro timeline. If SCC caption files are available with the same file name(s) as the source clips, they can be placed either in the same folder the QuickTime files are located, or they can be placed in a user selectable folder either on the network, or on the desktop of the MacCaption user.

Below are the steps which should be followed when doing Assemble Captions:

  • After editing the captioned clips, Export an XML (Apple Interchange Format Version 4) from Final Cut Pro.
  • In MacCaption, set your Caption > Decode Channel for the correct kind of captions you want to decode:
    • CC1 for Line 21 or DV captions
    • CC1 in DTV for AJA KONA or BlackMagic captured files
  • In MacCaption go to File > Import > Assemble Captions.
  • Browse for and Open the Apple Interchange Format XML Version 4 that was exported from Final Cut Pro.
  • The Assemble Captions window will pop up and you will have the following options. The recommended options for most users are in bold:
    • Conform .scc time codes to current time code mode
    • Conform final result to sequence starting time
    • Offset final result by 00:00:00:00
    • Erase current program data before adding new captions
    • Force caption erase at clip boundary
    • Preserve MacCaption decoded caption data as .scc files
    • Remove clip boundary captions that display less than 1 second
    • Use alternate data file location and the "Set Location" button
  • Once you have set your desired Assemble Caption Setting press OK, and the captions for the edited clip will now sync up to the final edited video.

There are several options that should be set according to different needs. This manual will cover all the options associated with the Assemble Captions menu below.

Decoding Final Cut Pro QuickTime video assets for Assemble Captions option

Go to Caption > Decode Preferences… and you will find 3 options for decoding closed caption information from a QuickTime File. Select "Remove erase if caption blanking is less than __ frames" if you would like MacCaption to keep all the captioning data that comes after an edited cut in the Final Cut Pro timeline. Otherwise, MacCaption will automatically delete captions that are less than the specified frame time.

The following options will appear in the Assemble Caption windows:

  • Conform .scc time codes to 00:00:00:00 – This option allows MacCaption to decode SCC files from captioned QuickTime video files and offset them to a starting time 00:00:00:00. The resulting SCC file can appear in either the same folder as the QuickTime video by default, or in a user selected folder location.
  • Conform final result to sequence starting time – Selecting this option will conform the starting timecode of the captions to the starting timecode of the Final Cut Pro sequence. If the FCP sequence starts at 01:00:00:00 then the decoded captions will also start at this time. When deselected, the starting timecode of the captions is set to 00:00:00:00 by default.
  • Erase current program data before adding new captions - This option erases any captions currently opened in your MacCaption application prior to importing the new assemble caption from Final Cut Pro. This feature saves the extra step of starting a new project in order to clear the caption project of caption data before doing the Assemble Caption function.
  • Force caption erase at clip boundary – Depending on the caption data, there may be times when a cut in the video may break the caption timecode that extends beyond the length of the cut. In addition, there may be captions that come in before the dialogue starts and the Final Cut Timeline may have edited out the rest of the dialogue. This option automatically deletes these captions in order to accurately represent the edited timeline.
  • Preserve MacCaption decoded caption data as .scc files – MacCaption decodes captions from QuickTime videos into .SCC files in order to accomplish the Assemble Caption operation. This option permanently saves these .SCC files alongside the QuickTime videos in their corresponding folder or in a user specified location.
  • Remove clip boundary captions that display less than 1 second – This function is similar to the "Force caption erase at clip boundary" except that it only affects captions that display less than 1 second.
  • Use specific decoded data file location and the "Set Location" button – This option enables 2 functionalities. First, it lets MacCaption users select a specific location where existing SCC files can be read and edited based on the XML exported from Final Cut Pro. Second, it enables MacCaption to save decoded SCC files to a specific folder as it decodes the caption data from QuickTime files. If this is not selected by default, MacCaption will save and/or look for SCC files in the same folder that the QuickTime video files reside.