How To Extract Subtitles From A Video - Best 5 Ways

If you are wondering how to extract subtitles from a video, you probably have an online or offline video that you want to extract the caption from. Extracted subtitles can be used as notes or for content repurposing. They can also be saved for later use. The specific way in which you want to use the extracted captions determines the best method for it.

The best way to extract subtitles from a video is to use a caption extractor. For online videos, online subtitles downloaders can help, and for offline videos, caption extractor programs can be used. If the subtitles don't exist in a separate file, a caption generator can be used.

In this article, you will find the top five ways to extract subtitles from videos alongside their respective strong and weak points. You will also learn when you should use each of these methods and when you should not use them. By the end of this post, you will have a list of programs you can use to extract subtitles. But first, let's look at the top ways to extract subtitles from a video:

  1. Use ContentFries

  2. A Subtitle Downloader And A Public Streaming Service

  3. Hire A Virtual Assistant

  4. Use A Browser Extension

  5. Use A Subtitle Extractor Program

Method One: Use ContentFries

ContentFries is a video editor that not only extracts subtitles from videos but can also produce blog-format transcription from them. As a premier content-repurposing platform, it allows you to create subtitles for videos that haven't been captioned and can copy text captions from videos in general.

ContentFries Strongest Point

Generally, extracting subtitles from a video entails accessing the .srt file that a specific media player has. For example, DVDs come with srt files, as do streaming services. When you watch a movie on Blu-ray, you have the option to turn off the captions because there is a subtitles file (containing text and time stamps) that is being played along with the video. By turning off the captions, you simply stop playing the subtitles file.

The same method works when you can turn off captions on Netflix and Youtube. There are srt files stored in these services that you access whenever you turn on captions. Most subtitles extractors get access to the srt file and download it as it is.

ContentFries is great because it allows you to extract subtitles even when there is no srt file. When you watch a video where you cannot turn the captions off, that's because the captions have been permanently baked into the video. There is no longer a text file because the text is a part of the video.

No dedicated srt extractor can get you an srt from a video that has its subtitles baked in. ContentFries is great because it allows you to get a text file from such videos. How does it do that? It has a highly accurate auto-captioning engine that simply generates new captions in an exportable format. That means you can extract subtitles even from videos that do not have subtitles!

ContentFries Weakest Point

The point that makes ContentFries great in some contexts is also what makes it a bad fit in other contexts. Since the program generates new captions instead of ripping an existing subtitles file, it can be expensive. It is not a great choice for extracting subtitles of long movies. There is a limited quota of the minutes of transcription you can get per month. And to use it to get subtitles that are already generated isn't ideal.

With the strongest and the weakest point of ContentFries in mind, let's go over when you should use this program and when you should not.

When to use this method:

  • When the subtitles are baked in the video - If the subtitles are burned onto the video, the only way to extract subtitles is to generate them anew.

  • When the video is shorter than 10 minutes - You can get good value out of generating fresh subtitles for short videos.

  • When you want to repurpose a video - ContentFries can help you create podcast clips, blog posts, social media posts, and marketing copy out of a single video.

When not to use this method:

  • When you want subtitles for movies - Movies are long, and there are cheaper ways to get their subtitles.

  • When there is an existing srt file - Using a high-quality subtitle generator like ContentFries can be redundant when an srt file already exists.

Method Two: A Subtitle Downloader And A Public Streaming Service

The reason this method is not titled "upload the video to youtube and use a youtube caption downloader" is that platforms keep changing, and we want this resource to be universal. You can use any public platform that displays subtitles that can be turned off and a subtitles downloader to get a downloadable captions file.

Subtitle downloaders aren't as lucrative a service, so they keep going out of business. That's why it is better to search "youtube subtitles downloader" or "Facebook subtitles downloader" whenever you begin extracting subtitles.

Subtitle Downloader Strongest Point

The strongest point of using an online subtitles extractor is that these extractors are almost always free. They are built around an ad-delivery model. If a video is online and it has subtitles that aren't baked onto it, then you can get a copy of its existing srt file for free.

Subtitle Downloader Weakest Point

While subtitle downloaders going offline is the greatest inconvenience of this method, you can always find new ones. The greatest weakness of this method is its inability to get subtitles that are burned onto the video. As covered earlier, there are subtitles that are played from a subtitles track, and users can turn them off when playing a video.

There are also subtitles that are superimposed on the video and cannot be turned off because they are a part of the video. When subtitles are turned into a part of the video, then the subtitle downloader becomes useless.

When you should not use this method:

  • When the video is already on youtube or Facebook - If a video is already online, it is very convenient to get its subtitles file from a dedicated downloader.

  • When the video has a captions track - If the captions of a video can be turned on or off at will, then it has a captions track, which many subtitles downloaders can access.

When you should not use this method:

  • When the captions are burned onto the video - If captions cannot be turned off, they cannot be downloaded as an srt using this method.

  • When the srt file is inaccessible - When a platform is guarded by a subscription, like Netflix, then its captions file cannot be accessed by standard subtitle downloaders.

Method Three: Hire A Virtual Assistant

Virtual Assistants can be very helpful in executing tasks that one doesn't want to do or doesn't know how to do. Getting a captions file from a video is a task that most virtual assistants can execute. You can hire one from or, but you have to be careful to hire a competent freelancer.

The freelancer can either personally transcribe the subtitles or can use a program like ContentFries to generate a fresh subtitles file. Either way, there is no hard limit preventing human assistants from extracting subtitles from any video they can watch.

In fact, you can get Netflix, and Prime Video originals subtitled with the help of a human assistant. However, manual typing can be time-consuming. And because virtual assistants work at an hourly rate, the more extensive your subtitle extraction requirements are, the more expensive this method can get.

Virtual Assistants' Strongest Point

The best thing about using a human assistant for subtitle extraction is that you don't need to give detailed instructions. As long as you can establish the deliverable you want, the virtual assistant will find the best way to get it for you. This method can be used to get subtitles from any video regardless of its format.

Virtual Assistants' Weakest Point

The problem with using virtual assistants for any task that can be automated is that you spend more money. Virtual assistants charge by the hour for their services and can be incentivized to drag out the process. Instead of finding the most efficient way to get the subtitles for you, they might find the one that takes more time so that they can get paid more.

When to use this method:

  • When no software solution is working - If you cannot find any program to strip existing subtitles from a video, you have no choice but to transcribe it yourself or to use a virtual assistant who can do the same.

  • When the video is protected by a paywall - Videos protected by paywalls cannot be accessed by a free subtitle extraction service. In such instances, the human assistant can help copy the subtitles manually.

When not to use this method:

  • When you can use a subtitles downloader - If you can insert a video link into a subtitle extractor and get the captions file, hiring a virtual assistant can be redundant and unnecessarily expensive.

  • When you can use a caption generator - If a captions downloader program doesn't work, you can use a caption generator, which is guaranteed to be cheaper than a virtual assistant. Only when you cannot get an offline copy of the video for captioning and are unable to get its existing srt should you get someone to manually transcribe it for you.

Method Four: Use A Browser Extension

Just like there are online subtitles downloaders, there are subtitle downloading extensions. Their modes of operation are similar. A caption downloader allows you to input the link of a video and uses the URL to find the subtitles file. A caption-extracting extension can access the websites you visit and can look for any available srts.

Browser extensions are easier to sort by quality. There are hundreds of reviews for each popular extension on the Google Chrome extension store. No such reviews are available for direct caption downloading websites.

Captions also have a higher degree of access compared to copy-and-paste downloaders. Downloader sites can visit the video link once it is input in their URL bar. But a downloader extension can read the website source code and data just like your own web browser.

Subtitles Extensions Strongest Point

The best feature of a subtitles helper extension is that it has a better ability to venture behind paywalls. A regular subtitle download cannot go to pages that need registration or payment. An extension, however, can access any page you can visit while it is enabled. Theoretically, these extension downloaders can even extract srt files from Netflix. However, most extension providers try to stay clear of Netflix.

Subtitles Extension Weakest Point

While subtitles extensions can change fonts, translate captions in real-time, and download srt files, they can also breach your privacy. An extension that accesses subtitles of the videos on websites you visit can access your browser activity. They can also access any data that you are authorized to access. Because of this, your privacy is not safe with subtitle downloading extensions.

When you should use this method:

  • When using a secondary browser - You should use a secondary browser with such extensions so that your primary browsing data is not at risk. If you use Chrome, get an extension for Microsoft Edge. If you use Edge, then get an extension for Chrome or Firefox.

  • When regular subtitle downloader doesn't work - Since subtitle downloader websites can help you download subtitles without compromising your privacy, you should not use an extension unless the first option doesn't work.

When you should not use this method:

  • When you can use a subtitles downloader or generator - It makes sense to use a captions downloader extension when downloader websites don't work. So, try using a subtitles downloader website before you install a dedicated extension.

  • When your primary browser's activity is sensitive - If you don't mind an extension knowing the websites you have been visiting, then it should be okay to use them for subtitle extraction.

Method 5: Use A Subtitle Extractor Program

The final method for subtitle extraction requires using an srt extracting program. Unlike online subtitle extractors, this method requires installing a subtitle-ripping program that seeks out the caption file hidden in a DVD or a digital download. It can be used to rip subtitles from movies, TV shows, and even downloaded videos.

There are a few dozen subtitle-ripping programs that are used for extracting pre-existing subtitles. These programs are also limited in the same ways as standard srt finding programs. They are, however, better at extracting offline subtitles than these online solutions.

Subtitle Extractors' Strongest Point

Offline subtitle-extracting programs excel in extracting srt files from downloaded and offline content. Videos saved in USB flash drives or burned on DVDs are inaccessible to online subtitle rippers. But a program installed on your computer can easily access them. These programs are used to rip subtitles files from blu-ray and DVDs.

Subtitle Extractors' Weakest Point

Offline extractors can find it challenging to access srt files hosted on the cloud. As streaming becomes more popular and offline content storage methods like DVDs are becoming less common, these programs' utility is starting to diminish. You cannot use a DVD subtitle ripper to get subtitles from Facebook and Youtube videos.

When to use this method:

  • When a video is offline - As mentioned above, offline extractors can only search for subtitles files on your drive/hardware. If the video is on the cloud, these programs are not very useful.

  • When an offline video has a subtitles file - Not only does the video need to be on a DVD or your hard disk, but it should also have a subtitles file. Subtitles burned onto the video cannot be extracted with these programs.

When not to use this method:

  • When the video in question is online - If a video is online, then you should use an online extractor and not an offline one.

  • When the video doesn't have a subtitles file - If the subtitles are burned onto a video, it doesn't matter whether it is online or offline because you need to use a new caption generator.

Updated Resource List

As covered earlier, the individual programs available for each method of subtitle extraction can change with time. That's why this resource list is separated from the rest of the post. It is updated with the latest available programs in each space. Refer to these when you want to extract subtitles.

MethodRelevant program(s)
Subtitle Downloader
Virtual Assistant
Browser Extension
Easy Subtitles (Chrome)
Youtube Subtitle Download Helper (Chrome)
Youtube Subtitle Downloader (Firefox)
CopyFish (Edge)
Subtitle Extractor Program
DVD Subtitles Extractor (Windows)
D-Subtitler (Mac)

Final Thoughts

There are many ways to access subtitles of a video. The easiest method to extract the subtitles requires the video to be public on a platform like Youtube and for the captions to be generated and saved. A Youtube caption helper extension or a caption-extracting website can be used to retrieve and download the captions file of a video. But if the captions are burned on the video, and there is no subtitles file, then a caption generator like ContentFries can be used.

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