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I'm creating a series of videos that have subtitles that appear one word at a time. My workflow gets me through about 1 minute of subtitles every 45 minutes, and I feel like there could be a faster way.

My general approach is to set the opacity of the last X words of the sentence to 0, and such that X equals N (the # of words in the sentence) when the sentence starts and then X equals 0 when the sentence hits the final word. Here's what I'm doing:

  1. Using the audio waveform and lots of "Ctrl-." (audio preview) I find the beginning of the sentence I'm creating subtitles for. I then move back six frames (to allow for an opening fade).
  2. I add a "Source text" keyframe and a keyframe to the "Offset" property with the value -1.
  3. Jumping forward six keyframes, I make another "Offset" keyframe with value 0 (this displays just the first word when the sentence begins)
  4. Finally, I search the waveform and audio for the beginning of the last word in the sentence. I put one more "Offset" keyframe there set to N–1, and then use the keyboard shortcut to make it "hold" its value until the next sentence starts.

This works just fine, it's just slow. All I've been able to do to speed things up is to copy and paste the set of 4 keyframes from one sentence to another, but that still involves finding the beginning and end of each sentence, changing the source text, and setting the final keyframe based on the number of words in that particular sentence. If this is the best approach, that's OK, but if there's a better way, I'd love to know. Thanks for reading!

One final thing: I'm using all the keyboard shortcuts I know, which has sped things up a fair bit. The only areas where additional shortcuts would be handy are a) entering editing mode for the text field (I use Command-Enter to exit editing mode), and b) selecting the keyframe at the current time (so I don't need to move to the trackpad and click it manually every time). But I haven't discovered shortcuts for these things yet.

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My suggestion is only going to be useful if you have several minutes of subtitling to do like this:

Build the subtitles first using something like Aegisub. Export them as .srt files. Import them into the pt_import_subtitles from aescripts.com

This will generate all your text files for you with the lines appearing at the correct time. Then use your workflow for going through to correct the times when you'd like each word to appear.

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