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I am working with creating children's "video" books which:

  1. Display a static image from a page spread in a book
  2. Play an audio file of the text on that spread
  3. Displays the text of that page across the bottom of that page, similar to subtitles

This is presently being done in a very manual way with video editing software that allows creating text boxes overlaid on a video, but it is not quite what I'm looking for.

Ideally, what I'm looking for is something that will let me convert a time-indexed text file to a text overlay on a video. This would be quite similar to subtitles for a DVD, but I am looking for the following features:

  1. The text needs to be sufficiently large to be easily readable by a child.
  2. The text area should be presented as a rectangular almost-opaque mask to improve contrast between the text and the background.
  3. The software should allow me to specify which words should be displayed on a screen at any given time, and which of those words or phrases should be highlighted (similar to karaoke) in sync with the accompanying audio.
  4. Basic text formatting (bold, italics, at least) should be supported.

Preference is for a free Windows-based program, but paid and Linux-based software is also a strong possibility. One requirement is that it must be usable in a commercial product. My team is fairly comfortable with basic programming, but generally prefers GUI approaches--I'm the exact opposite.

I absolutely am not looking for text-to-speech solutions, but will be working with prerecorded audio files.

Additional note: I had put "video" in quotes at the start of this question because we are presently delivering the product as DVDs. There is no actual moving video, so it is possible that if there is some presentation software that offers a good timeline view where audio and text can be synced at the word level, that is also a strong possibility.

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Subtitle Creator

  • The text needs to be sufficiently large to be easily readable by a child: Yes: Any font size/colour/style can be selected so sure.
  • The text area should be presented as a rectangular almost-opaque mask to improve contrast between the text and the background: Sure background can be set to tons of different colours/transparency. Dimensions and position also settable.
  • The software should allow me to specify which words should be displayed on a screen at any given time, and which of those words or phrases should be highlighted (similar to karaoke) in sync with the accompanying audio: Not by default - If I'm remembering correctly - never tried to do that and didn't accidentally find that but it has been a while since I used it. However I think you should be able to do that in a bit of an ugly fashion at any rate - by making one subtitle of the sentence or whatever you want to display than a subtitle of each one word with a red background (f.e.) that has a much shorter time and is in the time range of the full subtitle. I don't know for certain that it will let you do that but I think so.
  • Basic text formatting (bold, italics, at least) should be supported: Yep Even has profiles :D

Windows and free (beggarware) and open Source.

  • This looks promising (+1) and I'll definitely look into it more closely. I didn't know that subtitles could support that much formatting (shaded boxes and so on) so I wasn't even looking in that direction at the moment. – Ananda Mahto Mar 9 '14 at 17:11
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    This worked for my immediate needs, and I feel that I can probably tweak the karaoke mode to get it to do exactly what I want (haven't had the time to fiddle much with that yet though). Thanks for the suggestion, and have a check mark :-) – Ananda Mahto Mar 18 '14 at 6:44

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