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Captions (.srt) will not import - the importer reported a generic error

New Here ,
Jun 07, 2022 Jun 07, 2022

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I'm suddenly unable to import .srt files into Premiere Pro; I get "the importer reported a generic error." I've tried these things:

  • Moving the file to a different location
  • Renaming the file (although that seems to be for when you get that error on video files)
  • Restarted my computer
  • Downloaded a new caption file from YouTube and saved it with another name

I've had this error with more than one .srt file and in more than one project. I'm on a PC, Windows 10; Premiere is up to date.

 

I found an old thread where someone said that they solved the problem by deleting .xmp files but there was no explanation of how to do that and haven't been able to find an answer on Google.

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Error or problem , Import

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Community Expert ,
Jun 07, 2022 Jun 07, 2022

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All the threads I'm seeing with this error are prior to the PR 2021/22 caption workflow. What version of PR are you using?

Stan

 

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New Here ,
Jun 07, 2022 Jun 07, 2022

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Hi, I'm on Creative Cloud -- Premiere Pro is v22.4.

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Community Expert ,
Jun 07, 2022 Jun 07, 2022

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Are you able to import other types of files? .mp4 etc.

 

Create a test project. Create a sequence. Add a Subtitle caption track. Add 3 captions. Export srt.

 

Close that project. Open a new one. Can you import the srt you exported?

 

Stan

 

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New Here ,
Jun 07, 2022 Jun 07, 2022

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I haven't tried what you suggested yet because I had been continuing to try to figure this out and I did end up at a solution, but it's not great if someone has a long video...

 

I came across an .srt file that I was able to import successfully, so I compared it with the ones that wouldn't. One thing I noted was that it was saved with different encoding (the successful file was saved as "UTF8 with BOM" while the failed files were just "UTF8")--however, just saving the failed files with different encoding made no difference (and I tried all the encoding options).

 

Then when I looked at them side by side, it was immediately obvious that the timecodes were formatted differently. The successful caption file had been originally created in Premiere Pro, while the failed files had been originally created in YouTube. I manually changed the formatting of all of the time codes in one of the failed files to exactly match the successful file and I was able to import it into Premiere Pro.

 

So on the one hand...that was the problem and there's a solution. But wow, if someone has to go and manually change every item in a really long file...that's not a good solution. I honestly would have just re-transcribed the voiceover track in Premiere Pro except that I was uploading French captions to an English video so...not an option.

 

The attached photo shows the elements that differ between how PP formats the timecodes and how YouTube formats them. And as you can see, there's no simple way to even do "find and replace" because you'd end up replacing all sorts of things that you don't mean to.

 

srt timecodes.png

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Community Expert ,
Jun 07, 2022 Jun 07, 2022

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Thanks for reporting. So that particular formatting problem creates that "the importer reported a generic error" error.

 

I did some youtube downloads about a week ago. The regular youtube SRT download looks just like the PR one. Comma, not period before the milliseconds and the dash dash arrow instead of a period between the start and end timecode.

 

Stan

 

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New Here ,
Jun 09, 2022 Jun 09, 2022

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That's weird that YouTube gave me a different type of download--and I don't see an option to change its output. But at least it can be overcome, so that's something, lol.

 

A colleague of mine pointed out that the file extension on what YouTube exported for me was .sbv – and I had noticed that, but I took it to be much like a .txt file in that you could just change the extension (I frequently change .srt files to .txt files and back again), which was obviously not the case. I mention this because he had the ideo to see if there was a converter tool and there is! This is the link: https://www.public.asu.edu/~saghafoo/sbv-to-srt/. I tried it with one of my files and it worked instantaneously (at which point I felt quite dumb for having manually converted my file…but oh well, now I know…). Thought I would share for anyone else who comes across this thread.

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Community Expert ,
Jun 09, 2022 Jun 09, 2022

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Congrats on finding a workaround.

 

See this post regarding the 3 file formats Youtube offers for download:

https://community.adobe.com/t5/premiere-pro-beta-discussions/automatic-transcriptions-is-awesome/m-p...

 

And this post regarding how to avoid the two line rollup format that you want to avoid:

https://community.adobe.com/t5/premiere-pro-discussions/srt-files-don-t-import-correctly-into-most-r...

 

Stan

 

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New Here ,
Jul 26, 2022 Jul 26, 2022

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I ran into this same issue and was able to resolve it by changing the time-code, as you did. However, it is happening again and nothing that I do is fixing it. I've tried changing the time-code, using different sources. I tried it as a VTT and an SRT. Nothing is working. 
Were there any other solutions that you came across? 

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Community Expert ,
Jul 27, 2022 Jul 27, 2022

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Abigail, I just did a new round of tests, and the only option that will work is a "non-automatic," .srt download. In the edit mode in Youtube, in the subtitle section, if your subtitles have one line that includes, for example, "English (Automatic)," then the download will be overlapping timecodes and will not work.

 

You can create a non-automatic version. In Youtube edit mode, subtitles section, click on "Duplicate and Edit" on the Automatic line. Then, "Publish" that "draft." It will create the nonautomatic subtitles. You should now see a second subtitles called, for example, "English (video language)." Download the .srt from that one.

 

If that .srt does not work, you are having a less common problem. Report back and we'll get it sorted.

 

Stan

 

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New Here ,
Nov 03, 2022 Nov 03, 2022

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I wish I could kiss you through a screen....THANK YOU for solving this. It has always driven me absolutely bonkers. This finally solves it

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 08, 2022 Dec 08, 2022

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I have this same problem where I get a generic error when attempting to import a .srt file. I'm running Premiere Pro 23.0.0. I've stripped the .SRT file to one line and I still get a generic error. See attached. Any suggestions as to what migth be causing the error? Note that for the attachment I had to add a .txt extension because this forum doesn't allow an unrecognized extension. As a side I note, I don't get the generic error if I rename as a .txt but then Premiere Pro doesn't recognize it as a caption file.

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Community Expert ,
Dec 08, 2022 Dec 08, 2022

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Are you sure you have a regular srt file?

 

This is what a properly formatted srt file looks like:
Caption number, new line

Timecode (semicolons for drop frame, otherwise colons; milliseconds after comma, converted to frames on import), new line

Text of caption with separate lines of caption on separate lines

Empty line (one and only one)

 

1
00:00:00,000 --> 00:00:02,986
MP4 Caption One

2
00:00:04,204 --> 00:00:07,190
MP4 Caption Two

 

Stan

 

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 09, 2022 Dec 09, 2022

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You can look at the text file I attached, but it looks like what you have there unless I'm missing something. I should note that this .SRT file works fine when I use VLC. I thought maybe there was a funny character, but I've stripped it down to the basics. Maybe it's the encoding of the file?

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Community Expert ,
Dec 09, 2022 Dec 09, 2022

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Chris,

 

I see what you mean now. What the forum display shows is without line breaks:

100:00:00,000 --> 00:00:02,882A message from Canada

 

Yes, encoding can be an issue too, but it is almost always an extra line or some other formatting. Once upon a time, it was UTF8 with BOM. But I have successfully imported other file types since.

 

Stan

 

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Community Expert ,
Dec 09, 2022 Dec 09, 2022

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The file is UTF8-BOM, but it uses line endings with only <CR> (Mac style). I am on Windows 10, and they do not import for me to PR 2023.0.

 

I edited in Notepad++ (Windows). When I convert them to <CR><LF> (Windows style) or <LN> (Linux), they import. I don't recall this being discussed as to what line endings work on Windows vs Mac. The CR only is the old Mac style?

 

Are you on Mac?

 

Curious for anyone who can test: what are the srt line endings for srt exported from PR on Mac (what Mac OS)?

 

Do Macs (what OS) import srt with <CR><LF>?

 

Stan

 

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Community Beginner ,
Dec 19, 2022 Dec 19, 2022

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Thanks Stan! Yep, that worked. I am editing on a PC, but I'm guessing the .SRT file came from a Mac. Just for clarity on the solution, I opened up the .SRT file in Notepad, then I clicked "Edit->EOL Conversion->Windows". Then I saved it as a different file. Just clicking save didn't appear to change the file. I then imported the .SRT file without any issues. 

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Community Expert ,
Dec 19, 2022 Dec 19, 2022

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Chris, Wow. When such oddities fix something I am always amazed.

 

Thanks for reporting back!

 

Stan

 

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