Burned-in subtitles and timecodes

Receive open captions on your video with the burn-in option

Jan 23, 2022

* Simon Says allows you to “burn-in,” or overlay, your subtitles (or timecode) and export the video right from Simon Says.

The difference between “burn-in” and just exporting a subtitle file is that burn-in writes the subtitles to the video frames itself. There is then no option to turn subtitles off or on.

This is really important as many social media platforms (such as Instagram) don’t support subtitle files. Social media platforms also auto-play video on mute and with burn-in subtitles, you can be unequivocally sure that the video can be understood, even with the volume off.

Watching social media videos on mute is skyrocketing: you need to adapt your content just as content is now created with the vertical screen in mind.

When to use burn-in subtitles or timecode on your video:

  • your video is for social media and many platforms don’t support subtitle files
  • your video is for social media and video auto-plays by default on mute
  • your subtitles are critical and you need to ensure your video is accessible
  • the video is in a foreign language and you need to ensure the translation is tied to the dialogue
  • you are editing a video and it is easier to cut it when the picture and what is being said is inextricably linked
  • you are editing a foreign-language interview into your video and it is easier to rough cut it when the picture and the translation of what is being said is inextricably linked
  • burn-in timecode is useful for those editing a rough cut as in certain uses it makes re-linking much easier for when you go to color grading and exporting

Here’s how to burn-in subtitles or timecode:

  1. Once you transcribed a video (and translated it if necessary) in Simon Says, we suggest exporting to the Visual Subtitle Editor so you can preview how subtitles will be formatted on-screen. Then click Export in the upper right.

2. Click Burn-In and select Subtitles or Timecode.


  • font size/type/color is fixed and cannot be edited
Select Burn-in and then subtitles or timecodes

3. The pay modal will pop up — the cost is the same per minute rate of your plan. You can use your free intro or invite credit or input your credit card info.


The burn-in process has started which means the system is automatically writing the words to the picture.

Download your burned-in video:

  • You will receive an email shortly with a download link to the new video once the process is complete.
  • Alternatively you can download the burned-in file from your profile page under transaction history.
  • NOTE: The burned-in video will be available for download for 7 days. After this time, the video will be unavailable and you will need to burn-in & pay for the video again if you would like it a second time.

How long does it take?

The longer and larger the file, the longer it takes to burn-in captions/subtitles onto a video. It also varies based on site traffic. A good rule of thumb is burn-in video takes 50-100% of the duration of your recording. So an hour-long video can take 30-60 mins to create the burn-in video.


To sign up to Simon Says for free and 15 minutes credit to try, go to: https://www.simonsaysai.com/

Related Help Articles:

How to use the transcript editor

Visual Subtitle Editor

Which formats can I export my transcript to?

Which formats/codecs do you support?

How to caption Facebook videos

How to caption Vimeo videos

How to caption YouTube videos

How to generate subtitles for your Amazon Prime Video