Hello again Folks: another post on my seemingly endless quest to make DVD subtitles look less amateurish than the format allows.
Let me first say that most of my video content is subtitled (big foreign film fan), and largely unavailable on BD (and never likely to be -- e.g., Zatoichi TV series anyone?), so it's SD for me for good, and video-quality wise, I'm happy with that. What I'm not happy with, however, and seek to change, is the absolutely dreadful quality of SD-DVD format subtitles -- 4 colours only (background, text, outline, and anti-alias). They look every bit as lousy as that spec would suggest, and I'm sick of this crappy, aliased mess on the screen that looks like it was composed by a kid with MS Draw.
Trying Criterion-type fonts just doesn't do it for me, and neither does changing size and colour to fool the eye. So, what about using the four colours more creatively, e.g., drop the text Outline and use two colors to anti-alias the font against the background -- is there ANY software that will permit this level of user intervention when creating the sup from the srt file?.Is 'Background' colour even necessary, given that it's usually set to be completely opaque? That's a waste of 25% of avalable colour space that could be better used for anti-aliasing. Similarly for 'Outline', drop that and have a white subtitle with 3-colour antialias.
I do hope I'm not whistling in the dark here, as this would be a great solution to the problem (and a lot easier than turning all my SD DVD content into BD ISOs just to use the 8-bit multi-colour capability of BD subtitles -- I'm not interested in high-def video for the aforementioned reason, but I sure like those hi-res subtitles!)
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There are tools: $$$.
Yes, you can drop 2 of the colors, leaving you with text, background, and text AA1 and textAA2. You must keep the background, as it needs to know which color to "cut out" for keying.
You could do:
Text=White @ 100% opacity
AA1=Lt Gray @ 75% opacity
AA2=Dk Gray @ 25% opacity
Bkgd=Black @ 0% opacity (whatever color, doesn't really matter)
I don't often recommend this, as it really helps legibility to have the contrast of an outline.
It's not possible to do any better than that with DVD subtitles.
Much obliged to you both for your responses.
Cornucopia/Groucho: can you elaborate on "...there are tools" please (preferably list)? I've not seen this capability in the tools I've used (e.g., subtitleCreator)...
I shall try this I think, as although it won't meet the 32-colours needed for full anti-alias, it will (should) be 100% better than the current set-up.
N.B. I wonder if my BD ISO wheeze would work..?
Last edited by palaeo7; 31st Jul 2014 at 12:36. Reason: typo
Sonic/Rovi Scenarist, Spruce DVDMaestro, Sonic DVDCreator, some others (the subtitle/subpicture tools integrated with them). All out-of-circulation, and all $$$.
A "full" anti-alias would be 256+ shades (full 8-bit alpha channel, such as PNG).
What the heck is "wheeze"?
A pointless exercise, if you ask me, to try and make do without an outline color. If you use some sort of a 'normal' main color (white, grey, even yellow unless the movie is black and white), sometimes the video behind it will be of the same color and there goes your easily readable subtitles. If you use a 'different' color (lavender, fuscia, taupe, whatever) your subs will just look ridiculous. In my opinion an outline color (black or nearly so) is indispensable.
I find nothing at all wrong with Criterion-type subtitles and try to emulate them myself. Just my opinion.