Adding QuickTime captions

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Macworld forum visitor, Jay, in response to my recent entry on how to add titles to iDVD slideshows writes:

My problem is wanting to include caption info in a slideshow. I’d like people to be able to view the pictures with filenames and descriptions of what’s there. One can use any number of programs to generate HTML, but how about generating a Quicktime file I can burn off to DVD that includes more information from EXIF, IPTC or simple iPhoto information…

My guess is that Apple’s iLife designers would say that you’re asking a lot from a $79 multimedia suite. I think it would be a grand idea to have iPhoto and iDVD add a subtitle track to your slideshows that contains this kind of intimate data, but I doubt it’s high on Apple’s list of features to include in the next major revision of the suite.

But in the hope that my answer will convey a message more helpful than “tough luck, buddy” I can offer a solution that those who are really, really inclined to add this track can take advantage of. That is to create a QuickTime movie of the slideshow as outlined in the earlier tip and then add a text track to it.

Take a gander at Apple’s Help in regard to adding QuickTime text tracks and you’ll find the process is anything but intuitive. It can be done, but it’s done ugly. To make the job a bit easier I suggest that you grab a copy of Feelorium’s $23 Textation. This is a utility that lets you more easily add text to a QuickTime movie and, more importantly, time exactly when that text will appear.

Before you get your hopes up, let me say that even with Textation this is a tedious process. You must enter the text you want for each caption—the program isn’t capable of parsing a text file so that each entry in the text file appears as a separate caption.

If this is the kind of thing you intend to do routinely, it might be worth your while to invest in Apple’s DVD Studio Pro, a professional application that handles subtitles much more elegantly.

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