If your film is going to be exhibited at foreign film festivals or distributed overseas, a CCSL can be used for translation, dubbing and other post-production purposes.

A sample of the information contained within a CCSL. CCSL creation provides a detailed picture of your film, as required by distributors and festivals around the world. 


Answer all of your questions about CCSL creation and learn more about dialogue spotting lists and what is required for distribution and film festival submissions. 

CCSL Services – Combined Continuity Spotting List

The letters CCSL are an acronym that stands for “Combined Continuity Spotting List”. Here’s what that means, and a description of the varying types of CCSL documents:

CCSL Creation

This is a written record of scene-by-scene detailed descriptions for all camera shots, camera movement and actors within the shot, and all of the verbatim dialogue spoken within the film. A Combined Continuity Spotting List acts as a legal description of the film/television project for copyright purposes. 

Spotting List

A spotting list is a document that contains the timed subtitles for a film. This includes the in and out  times, calculated duration of each subtitle and the subtitle identifier. The document acts as a ‘blueprint’ for any translation and localization service to create language masters from.

What is included in CCSL creation:

  • Table Format
  • Cut-by-cut of general scene descriptions
  • Time Codes to the Frame
  • Scene Numbering
  • Scene Headings/Slug Lines
  • Subtitle
  • Character Names – Who’s speaking to who
  • In and Out Times
  • Calculated Duration
  • Title Numbering
  • Main/Narrative Titles
  • In and Out Times
  • Calculated Duration
  • Sound Effects
  • Complete List of Credits
  • (Annotations are an optional additional service)

What is included in a Spotting List:

  • Table Format
  • Character Name and Dialogue/ Subtitle
  • Who’s speaking to who
  • In and Out Times
  • Calculated Duration
  • Main/Narrative Titles
  • In and Out Times
  • Calculated Duration
  • Title Numbering
  • Complete List of Credits
  • (Annotations are an optional additional service)

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Film Localization Services & The Importance of CCSL Creation

It all starts with CCSL creation services. 

To prepare the continuity list for a movie, our writers go through the video to capture the time code for each individual camera shot. After which they carefully evaluate each shot (which can average 1200-1600 per for a one hour movie, to determine the type of shot, the characters in the shot as well as any pertinent objects or scenery, and any action that happens during the shot.

Continuity Script: The left part of the CCSL is the continuity list, often called action continuity, which is the visual part of the video or film.

Spotting List: And to the right side is the ‘spotting list’ which is the audio part of the video or film.

For creating the spotting list, we follow our normal closed captioning procedures. Once the text of the video is transcribed and timed, an editor proofreads the dialogue, as well as adding speaker and subject IDs.  The spotting list includes all dialogue, music, and sound effects, structured as they would appear as captions, with speaker and who is being spoken to identification.

The document is formatted so that the two documents run concurrently, meaning that all captions are displayed adjacent to the shot during in which they occur, in chronological order.

CCSL creation can be used as a road map for translation and localization services. If your film is going to be distributed abroad for foreign language speaking audiences, it’s critical to have a CCSL created as part of the process for archival, legal and practical purposes. 

Dialogue List

Spotting List

There are other film industry standard documents as well. For example, a Dialogue List is a time-coded post production script and a critical deliverable that a producer will then use to submit a network or a production company as part of their DCP (Digital Content Package). It can also be used for translation and localization purposes to create subtitles or audio descriptions in any foreign languages. Having subtitles for film can expand an audience beyond the language the film was created and produced in.  

Nearly all major feature films exhibit in foreign language markets. Overseas sales can often be a higher income stream than domestic releases and offer an alternative revenue stream. The Dialogue List portion contains a complete account of all the dialogue contained within the production. The Spotting List portion contains the subtitles of the production, the time they begin and end, and their duration. It is used by translators and language subtitling groups to express an actor’s words in an individual country’s native tongue. 

With the multitude of media platforms such as  Netflix and  Amazon Prime, who distribute content to a global audience, capturing accurate dialogue with time codes is an essential part of taking content global.

A Dialogue List Example: 

Below is a brief example of what a  simple Dialogue List for film looks like. This example of a dialogue list includes the exact time code where the dialogue starts, the name or identity of the speaker, and the verbatim transcription of the dialogue itself.

Dialogue List Example

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