Adding subtitles on a second track

Hello all!

I want to add short subtitles (3 – 5 s duration) at various time positions over the base clip(s), so they get baked in when rendered. Haven’t tried it yet, but I can probably manage that with a transparent PNG carrying a text filter on track 2, copying that to another position, changing the text, &c.

But I saw that Shotcut has a File > Open Other > Color option which would be more elegant. Yet when I do that nothing much happens, while I was expecting a (kinda virtual) uniform color clip to appear in the playlist or on the (selected) second track.

Am I doing something wrong, or does said option work differently than what I expected?

Thanks for your help,

[spelling corrected]

Depends what you expected. :slight_smile:

Create a new video track (Ctrl+U)
Then File>Open Other>Color
Choose color and press OK
Color will open in the preview window.
Using the mouse, ‘drag’ the color from the preview window to the new video track.
Trim as needed.

1 Like

Thanks Steve, you guys are really on the ball!

It works, hooray!

First time I tried your suggestion, nothing appeared in the preview; restarted Shotcut, and it worked. You must have some magic influence here, I think… :wink:

Verified that short clips can effectively be copied & pasted, swell.

Small problem: when the overlay clip is flush with the underlying one (same length, same position) it can’t be trimmed with the mouse (I and O keys work OK): the colored bars, red or green light up, the cursor changes to double arrow, but I can’t move the clip’s ends.
No big deal, I just moved the clip in its track, then I could use the mouse.

Thanks again!


Works fine here, sorry.

Well, my (bad) luck. Are you on Windows too?

Yep, W10 Pro 64bit.
Shotcut 18.03.06

One thing to note is the dragging using the mouse on the left of a clip (green indicator) is only possible when the clip is not butted up against the track head. Move it away from the track head first.
This might be a bug, Dan would know.

Also, you cannot resize the clips with the mouse when the play head is on the split.


Hi OldNick…
Just to add here that you can get quite creative with using subtitles on different tracks - especially now that you can set font size in the text filter (v. 18.01 onwards).
You may be interested in this screen capture I made showing how I created a short video using subtitles on different tracks. The video is a bit silly (!) - I was just experimenting - and there’s no commentary but it be helpful to someone if you can try to work out what’s happening.

Basically each block is created by open>other>color, with a text filter applied (I did the first one then just copied it a lot!!, changing the text and font size accordingly). Fade-ins and Fade-outs were applied by using the throbber.
Hope this helps… Jon

I obviousy did something wrong: I did this with V1 Track my video. V2 is my new color track. However, the color track takes priority. When I play the video all i get is a solid color with text on it. How do I hide the color so the video is visible with text?

Hi Dustin, yes, you need to apply an opacity filter to the color track first and reduce the level to zero to make it transparent.

With all due respect to jonray. You don’t need an opacity filter. Just set the Alpha channel to Zero.


Thanks to both of you. I didn’t understand that Alpha Channel was basical “color volume”.

More accurately it’s transparency amount.
“Alpha compositing is the process of combining an image with a background to create the appearance of partial or full transparency.”

Hi Sauron,

Ah, thanks sauron! I didn’t know that! … It will help me a lot as I experiment with animated HTML titles. Cheers!

Thanks all for your interesting comments! I’m a bit late having been busy trying to get up to speed again in video editing matters.

Days still only have 24 hours… :smirk: