After many attempts and many different programs I finally thought I could settle on one. Handbrake. That seems to have been a little premature though, as with all the programs I've tried for what you'd think would be a simple task, has turned up it's own little annoyance.
For some strange reason Handbrake messes up subtitles. Specifically the ASS format that I have them in. What I've been doing is re-encoding subtitled videos from MKV to MP4 (PS3 specific) so I can watch them with the subtitles hard-coded on my large screen TV and not my pathetic PC monitor. Like I said, I've tried many different programs to achieve something so simple, from AviDemux all the way up to XMedia Recode and just yesterday Xvid4PSP 5 (this one didn't really like the videos either). All of them have their quirks when it comes to subtitles though, but Handbrake really stood out for being the best and easiest to use when it came to that function. Or so I thought.
Turns out (and it could just be me, or my system) I don't think it really likes ASS subtitles. I've been using it for about two/three months now and I thought everything was going perfectly, until about a month ago I was watching a video and I noticed a newer subtitle pop up, but the older one hadn't been removed yet.
An example of an overlapping sub:
This is from a recent burn-in I did a week ago. The subtitle is displaying the older dialogue along with the newer on top, plus it's also displaying a sign for "No Smoking". I've checked the subtitle file and the dialogue parts are meant to display from 22:55.39 to 22:57.23 for the first line "I... I'm sorry!" and the second displays at 22:57.43 to 22:58.69 for "What for?". Two lines .20 of a second apart. The only thing the two lines have in common is the "No Smoking" sign being displayed at the same time they are. I first thought that that was the issue. Handbrake was having trouble with dialogue lines when signs were also to be displayed, but I think I can conclude that that's not the case because signs and other dialogue were playing through the entire video and others that I've done that have called for lines to play with overlapping times.
This next example is a fairly rare issue I've come across and that's disappearing subtitles and signs:
Now you see it:
Now you don't, but you do see a little blue "D" from the background of the first word.
The issue has come up quite a lot with previous videos done with Handbrake, but it only ever did it with signs. They would display for half a second then vanish and pop up again just before their time to stop would come. That's what it's doing with the subtitle in the above images. It's displaying at the beginning of it's allocated time, vanishing for the duration, and only reappearing as a flash at the end of it's time. The burned in background of the letter is a new thing though just for this series of videos that I've done. I've yet to see it on more recent ones, but I'm sure it's there.
I've searched around the net, and here, but I can't find anyone with a similar problem. I was using Handbrake 0.9.6 and updated this afternoon to 0.9.8 and tried the video with the disappearing subs again, but the result was the same. I've tried different settings for frame rate, filters, subtitle settings, everything I could think of with the program I've tried, but nothing fixes it.
Of all the other programs I tried AviDemux was the best when it came to subtitle handling, but it often messed up the video by putting audio out of sync, that problem was sort of solved by running the video through Avisynth proxy GUI's DShowSource tab/filter/whatever and adding the audio back in through AviDemux, but it was always hit and miss so I don't bother with it any more, along with various other issue.
I'd really like to get Handbrake to work properly because I think it's my one and only last shot program for what I want to do.
Any help would be greatly appreciated, and if any part of what I've written doesn't make any sense or you need more information please let me know.
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