Hi All -- I'm looking for a freeware single-program solution to permanently embedding DVD-derived subtitles (e.g., .srt) in my standard DVD rips (ifo and vob-sets) without converting to XVid or anything like that. I understand that re-encoding is necessary to merge the subs and video, but I can't find anything that doesn't require lossy conversion of the video as part of the deal. 'Submerge' seems ideal for this, but it's a MAC-only solution (and a paid one at that). Is there anything PC that will do this whilst letting me control the format of the subtitling (font, char-size, position, colour, etc.) in a real-time preview? I'm looking for something simple and GUI-based without the necessity for scripting. Do I understand correctly that the text of a 'hard' subtitle file,as exported from Subtitle Workshop as .srt or ssa, will be embedded as text rather than simply as a burned-in version of the vector graphics that I abhor (see below)? I dislike the jaggy, poorly-aliased look of graphic subtitles (particularly when italicised) and would much rather have the clean look that one gets with embedded subtitles, e.g., the plain white on-screen subtitles in 'Nightwatch'. I am aware that embedded subtitles are forever, but I don't ever plan on learning Japanese, Korean and Russian, so this is a suitable solution for me. Any simple advice much appreciated, and apologies if this exists elsewhere on the site or as a sticky, but I have been unable to find any reference to this question anywhere.
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Okay lets get a few things straight...
HardSubs is the act of applying Subtitles as a overlaying on a Video stream then encoded. So it's HARD encoded into the video stream.
SoftSubs is the act of embedding a Subtitle stream into a container which stores a Video stream. So it's SOFTware overlayed on a vidoe stream
SoftSubs are reversable, and possible multiple Subtitle streams can be embedded into a containers.
SoftSubs can also be defined as External Subtitle files being overlayed a Video stream.
If you are wanting control over Font, Size, Color, Position...you'll mainly looking at creating ASS or SSA (SubStationAlpha) based subtitles...SRT (SubRip) ones which are the most common just allow for basic markup (bold, italic, strike,...)
SubTitle Workshop is probably your best bet for creating General Subtitles. Aegisub is from what I understand the best for making ASS files...but I haven't used it myself...I'm a noob when it comes to Sub's.
Now if you want to embed the ASS/SSA into a container...you'll have to use MKV as the container...as MP4 only allows SRT...well a few others...but not any better than SRT.
You can Mux the Video, Audio & Subtitle streams with MKVToolsNix...however it has no preview...that will have to be done with SubTitle Workshop or Aegisub.
With MKV you will not need to encode your video or audio streams...as it accepts everything that I'm aware of...so you are not limited on formats like you are with MP4 or AVI...or other lesser known\used containers.
Anyways best of luck.
With Submerge you can easily add hardcoded subtitles to your movies and tv-shows.
And the third way is as Nologic described - embedding everything into an MKV container, with no reencoding of anything.
Last edited by manono; 30th Oct 2013 at 15:53. Reason: Forgot to add the 'anti' before the 'aliased'
I don't indeed '';...know how to create nice-looking aliased DVD subtitles...';. If you know how to ''...convert my text-based SSA subs directly into graphic-based subs for my DVDs...'' using anti-aliasing then I would be very interested to hear how because it is my understanding of DVD subtitles that they are limited by the bit-depth and colour-range (split between the background, the text and the two outlines) of the DVD format, and it is this that makes ant-aliased subtitles impossible. It is for this reason alone that I've moved toward the idea of hardcoded subs, as these can be encoded and rendered as 'text' rather than limited-range graphics.
I am happy to use .ssa subs (if indeed these are compatible with the DVD format), but the lack of anti-aliasing in DVD would seem to make this a non-starter, I have used Subtitle Workshop and Creator, and neither provide an option for this. DVDSubedit is good for colour, transparency and position, but the only software I have found that easily allows me to edit font and font-size (if not aliasing) is DVD Styler. cheers, Palaeo7
SSA subs aren't allowed for DVD, of course, although some authoring programs accept them and convert them. For DVD subs must be converted to some graphical format. Muxman, for example, accepts both SUP format subs and SST subs, and it's SST subs I make using MaestroSBT (in which you open an SSA sub). And, of course, aliasing is allowed in DVDs. There are 4 colors allowed. Usually three of them are the background color, the main color, and the outline color. If you like to use 2 main colors (to differentiate between two different speakers, for example) then the fourth color can be used for that. Me, I use that fourth color for the antialias color. Nothing says you have to use the Tahoma font, or the light grey/dark grey/black colors I do, but below are examples.
Looking at your 'aliased' example and those that I've made using MaestroSBT, as suggested, I'm not sure that I really see that much evidence of any anti-aliasing going on, and I suspect that the final appearance is as much to do with the font chosen as the limited anti-aliasing available for 4-bit bitmaps. In this vein, is there anywhere within a DVD structure that details the font and text-size of the subtitles (i.e., in the .ifo file, inspected by IfoEdit?).
If you look at the enclosed screenshot of the subtitles from Criterion, Bo and Tartan DVD releases of Ozu's 'Late Spring' (different translations notwithstanding), you can see how the Criterion (top) is much more aethetically pleasing than the truly-wretched Bo (bottom) with the Tartain (middle) somewhere in-between.
It is this variation in dvd subs that originally pushed me toward sub-hardcoding (which will be fully anti-aliased, using the full bit-depth pf the video), but if I can match that Criterion appearance in terms of colour, font and size, I would be content (I rip all my dvds for use on a WDTV Mini media player, so can format all my subs to one consistent appearance). Support for the importance of the right combination of subtitle font-parameters can be found in the Criterion example -- zoom this to 200%, and it looks just as jaggy as the Tartan example (i.e., is just as limited by what the DVD spec allows), but the subjective appearance at normal magnification is much better -- to my eye at least.
So, would IfoEdit tell me what I need, or is it a matter of trial and error?
Looks like the criterion titles are "not quite" white, while the border is "not quite" black giving an overall perception of more subtle gradation.
Last edited by smrpix; 1st Nov 2013 at 11:21.
It is this variation in dvd subs that originally pushed me toward sub-hardcoding...
I'm not sure that I really see that much evidence of any anti-aliasing going on
I've played SSA subs muxed/embedded into an MKV through my Roku player to my TV set and they look as they do when playing a DVD. As I mentioned, I have no interest in 'burning' them into the video.
Interestingly enough, you used as an example for the fonts my all-time favorite film. I own 2 different version, the Hong Kong Panorama as well as the Criterion. You must like it a lot too, if you have 3 different versions. Me, I used a film I had been working with recently. A good film, but not extraordinary like Late Spring.
Last edited by manono; 1st Nov 2013 at 19:21.