Project: “Squeak the Squirrel” with Subtitles

Project: “Squeak the Squirrel” with Subtitles

Published 1957
Usage Public Domain
Subtitles Transcribed July 31, 2016

This video shows how a gold-mantled ground squirrel at Crater Lake National Park has learned to solve problems connected with getting food. It illustrates how an animal can learn to find food that is hidden from view, or is out of reach through a series of exercises and with many peanuts. To license this film and get a higher quality version for broadcast/film purposes, contact A/V Geeks LLC.

Run time 10:00
Production Company Churchill – Wexler Films
Audio/Visual sound, color

Film downloaded from:

(Did you read what squeak had to say? Scroll to bottom for next scavenger hunt clue)

Challenges and Surprises

Overall this was a very enjoyable project. The most challenging part was selecting an appropriate video. Many that I was drawn to initially didn’t have much content to transcribe, or had long periods with only instrumental music. It took some time to watch through several selections before I hit upon “Squeak the Squirrel”.

I was surprised by how interesting I found it to sync the subtitles with the action in the scene. Also, being sure to display the subtitles long enough to comfortably read, but not so long that it was a distraction from the scene. I watched it through several times just to add or remove a few seconds from the subtitles in order to improve the flow.

Project Workload

It took longer than I anticipated to complete the subtitles based on estimations expressed in our assignment video, which suggested about 20 minutes for a 5 minute video. The video I selected was 10 minutes long, but took several hours to properly transcribe. This may be due in part to my own inexperience and also the fact that it is a documentary with more spoken content to transcribe than other types of video.

YouTube Tools

YouTube didn’t generate subtitles for the first film that I selected. This was likely due to poor sound quality on the recording, or because there wasn’t any spoken dialogue for the first minute.

For “Squeak”, the auto generated subtitles worked, but it did require a lot of editing to make them into grammatical sentences. That said, having them as a framework made it much easier than transcribing from whole cloth.

The interface provided by YouTube was relatively simple to use. Being able to see the captions in a strip along the bottom of the video, was extremely helpful. It made syncing the text with the scenes much easier.


I’m satisfied with the outcome of this project and look forward to doing more like it. There is definitely an art transcribing, especially in cases where there are sound effects, or music that must be interpreted. I plan to continue acquiring more skills like this that improve user experience and access to media.

Stretch Goals

For a stretch goal, I downloaded a copy of the subtitles and shared them with the members of the I posted a link to the file in the comments for the film.

It can be found here:

Clue 4

You have almost finished the hunt. The next item is a 4 digit number. To find it you’ll have to play a game.
(Hint: Look up!)