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Caption (timed text) requirements

Amazon is a customer-obsessed company and captions help ensure a consistent viewing experience for all customers, including those who might be hearing-impaired, are non-native English speakers, or prefer to view videos without sound. Caption files are an investment in the quality of your content and once created are yours to keep and use on any video platform.

Prime Video accepts a variety of caption formats. Please review this information to help you create acceptable captions files.

Sample caption files

To understand formatting requirements of caption files, download this collection of sample files.

We recommend that you submit pop-on captions (captions that appear one to three lines at a time). If you provide roll-up captions, we must convert them to pop-on, which adds opportunity for error.

Requirements

The following table lists closed caption requirements by location:

 

Separate Captions File in Localized Language

Audio or Captions in Localized Language

Burned-in Subtitles in Localized Language

United States

United Kingdom

Germany

Japan

For example, if you’ve created a movie in English and you want to have German closed captions, here’s how your movie will be impacted in each location:

  • U.S. You will not be able to publish your movie with German captions. You are required to have a separate English CC file.
  • UK: You can publish your movie with German CC because the film already has an English audio track.
  • Germany: You can publish in Germany because you’ve added a localized German closed captions file.
  • Japan: You will need to burn-in Japanese subtitles into the movie. Closed captions aren't toggle-able for customers in Japan, so even if you upload German CC for the movie, it will not be visible to customers.

The following additional requirements apply:

  • All captions files must conform to match the video source.
  • All dialog in video files requires captions in the native language of the content. English captions are required for all titles published in the United States. For example, in a movie listed as available in the United States, all dialog in English or in any other languages spoken in the movie must have corresponding English language captions.
  • If the video source being delivered doesn’t contain localized audio, then text for both forced narrative and dialogue events must be burned-in to the video. For example, a Japanese feature film delivered for distribution in the UK.
    What are forced narratives?
  • All timed text assets must start with zero-hour time code (i.e. 00:00:00). Assets that don’t adhere to this won’t display at the correct time. For example, files that have a one-hour offset will not display text until one hour into the video’s run time.
  • Prime Video only accepts captions files that are UTF-8 character encoded. When working with a 3rd party captions provider, please ensure that captions output file is UTF-8 encoded. We provide a collection of sample files for various caption file formats.
  • If you have both captions and subtitles available for a title, we prefer to receive Closed Captions/SDH to improve the viewing experience for customers who are deaf or hard of hearing.
  • The language of a title's metadata determines the locations to which it can be published. A mezzanine or caption file matching the metadata language is required to publish to that location. For supported languages by location, see Location Requirements.

If you're manually creating caption files without captions software, we highly recommend downloading our sample files. Your captions file must be edited with a text editor that can create plain text files in a UTF-8 encoding. UTF-8 ensures that customer devices will not display unrecognized text characters as random, unreadable symbols.

Configuring Windows or Mac editors for compliant UTF-8 plain text files

Closed Captions

Closed captions are timed text assets that can be turned on or off and include both spoken dialogue as well as atmospherics for the deaf and hard of hearing. There are many different types of closed caption file formats that you can choose from when creating your captions files. The following closed captions formats are accepted by Prime Video:

  • SMPTE-TT (RP-2052) with an .xml file extension
  • STL (EBU standard) with a .stl file extension (Spruce Subtitle file format which also has an .stl file extension not supported)
  • DFXP Full/TTML (Timed Text Markup Language) with a .dfxp file extension
  • iTT (iTunes Timed Text) files with a .iTT file extension
  • SCC (Scenarist Closed Caption) with a .scc file extension
  • SRT (SubRip text file format) with a .srt file extension
    SRT file content information and troubleshooting

English captions are required for all titles published in the United States.

All timecodes contained in a closed captions file must appear in linear (sequential) order.

Subtitles

Subtitles are timed text assets that include on-screen text of the program dialogue (without atmospherics). Subtitles are typically burnt in to the mezzanine, but they can be added as a separate file as well. Like closed caption formats, there are several types of subtitle file formats that you can choose from when creating the files. The following subtitle formats are accepted by Prime Video:

  • DFXP Full / TTML (Timed Text Markup Language) with a .dfxp file extension
  • iTT (iTunes Timed Text) files with a .iTT file extension. iTT is a subset of TTML, version 1.0.
  • SubRip  with a .srt file extension
    SRT file content information and troubleshooting

Content without dialogue

We don't accept silent or ambient titles, however, if your title title has extended scenes with no spoken content, captions should include a description of the foreground or background audio elements. Extended silent scenes should be captioned with [no audio]. For background music, if the music is instrumental (no lyrics), use descriptive words [in brackets] to accurately convey the mood and tempo of music. If music contains lyrics, caption the lyrics verbatim. The lyrics should be introduced with the name of the artist and the title in brackets. In the event that lyrics are unclear or in another language, use a descriptive caption to indicate that to the viewer.

Caption providers

Creating closed captions files is a technical process that might be challenging for some content providers. We recommend engaging a 3rd party service to assist in the creation of high-quality captions files. The following is a sampling of providers that can assist you with video captions. Amazon isn’t affiliated with, nor endorses any specific provider.


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