Twitter Powered Subtitles for BBC iPlayer^SMIL 3.0 SmilText, .srt and timed text (used with BBC iPlayer and YouTube <NEW>and Vimeo HTML5 Video </NEW> )

Generate subtitles from tweets

If creating Twitter subtitled YouTube or Vimeo clips it is recommended that you log in using Twitter so that your files aren't overwritten by other users

1. Where do you want to search?


CSV Data Source
[Optional: Google Spreadsheet template for .csv input (open, make a copy, input data, download as .csv)}

[Optional: Use the Google Spreadsheet mentioned in this blog post to automatically collect tweets to a Google Spreadsheet]

For .csv files modifying the export from Twapper Keeper works best. As a minimum your .csv should have the following column headers 'text', 'time' and 'from_user'. Time is in unix time and maximum filesize 1Mb

2. When did it happen?


Times are based on GMT. The time frame is currently limited to 3 hour window.

3. What happened?

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4. How do you want it?


Translated - Normalise tweets to: powered by Leave blank to keep tweets in original format

Subtitles generated by this tool are provided by twitter


This work began with twitter powered subtitles for BBC iPlayer, which build on Tony Hirst's Easier Twitter Powered Subtitles for Youtube Movies concept. Since then Tony has developed some of the ideas further with Twitter Powered Subtitles for BBC iPlayer Content c/o the MASHe Blog and Scheduling Content Round the Edges - Supporting OU/BBC Co-Productions). This tool has now been extended to create twitter subtile files in multiple formats SMIL, .srt and Timed Text used for iPlayer. I've also incorporated the smilText JavaScript engine, which allows tweets to be replayed in browser. This tool is designed to be a working prototype the code for which is freely availble here for further development. Findings for the latest iteration of this tool can be found in the twitter powered subtitle posts.

iPlayer Instructions

The basic concept is to enter the date of the live transmission and any search terms to narrow down related tweets. Do some tinkering to find the twitter search pages that cove the broadcast, then generate a new subtitle file '_prepared.xml'.

The broadcast you download from iPlayer will be stored in a folder (something like My Documents] > [My Videos] > [BBC iPlayer] > [repository] > [obscure-broadcast-folder-name- like-b00qx4t0]), locate this folder and replace the file which ends '_prepared.xml' with the one created by this tool keeping the obscure file name ie b00qx4t0_prepared.xml. When you replay the broadcast turn subtitles on to see the tweets. (Not all iPlayer programmes have a subtitle files. In this case in the obscure-broadcast-folder you will need to edit the file with the same name as the folder to include something like:

<media kind="captions"
  type="application/ttaf+xml" >


All tweets used in this tool are attributed to the original author. Source data used to generate twitter subtitles conforms to twitter's auto delete policy. If you are unhappy about your tweets being used as part of this tool please contact me and your tweets will not be used.

API Access

This tool can also be accessed via an API using POST or GET method.



If you haven't already guessed: This site is a third party application for Twitter | Created by m.hawksey