This is going to be complicated, so bear with me.
I want to author a DVD with Polish subtitles to make it playable on a simple DVD player connected to a TV.
I'm using AVStoDVD, but unfortunately it won't read the UTF-8 encoded .srt file because apparently managing character sets is still a big problem in 2014 for some reason. Jesus Christ.
What I do:
- play the original MKV file in MPC HC
- download the subs using its download engine
- Options -> Subtitles -> Default style is set to EASTEUROPE because ANSI changes Polish characters into a useless mess
- File -> Save subtitle (encoding is set to UTF-8 because... see above)
- then I add the .srt file in AVStoDVD, but of course it shows an error ("Warning! SRT subtitles file has 1 error(s)!" etc.)
- if I click YES, it converts the file somehow (I guess it just changes it to ANSI). If I click NO, it just doesn't add the subs at all
- I start the whole conversion process anyway to see what it'll look like
- I play the VOB file that contains the subs on my PC and of course they're a mess
So here's my question: is is it even possible to have non-ANSI characters in DVD subs? The way I see it they're either in ANSI or not and that's it.
Maybe I can use a subtitle editor to convert the UTF-8 file to something that AVStoDVD can stomach without spoiling everything?
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Yes, I am familiar with your problem. I can speak Russian and I've worked with Russian subs before. Since I live in the USA and we are pretty xenophobic here in general, working with foreign language subs is difficult. Nobody sees any need to support "foreign" characters in their programs. Most of the subtitle programs CANNOT work with UTF-8. Isn't that great?
You've got a few choices, but none are pleasant.
1) If you have Win 7 Ultimate (and maybe Professional - I know only that Ultimate works) you can install a Polish language support pack for free. That may fix the "Polish characters look like a useless mess" issue.
2) You can go into Control Panel -> Region and Language -> Administrative and under "Language for non-Unicode programs" change it to whatever character set Polish uses. I don't remember what that is. But you will then have to convert your subs from UTF-8 to that character set. That should make the subtitle programs accept your Polish subs and display them OK. But any non-Unicode programs on your PC will be renamed to Polish names. I assume that is OK for you as you must read and write Polish. If you are doing this with a language you cannot actually read, I don't recommend this as you may not ever be able to change it back after you finish the subtitle work if you can't read the new language.
3) You can use Xvid4PSP as it can open UTF-8 subs. You can hardcode the subs into an Xvid format AVI file and then re-encode that to MPEG-2 for DVD. It's very ugly, but it was the only way I could get some Chinese subtitles hardcoded for a friend. Fortunately the video was animation, so encoding to AVI and then to MPEG-2 was OK and looked fine. Use a high bitrate on the Xvid encode - at least 4000 Kbps. Please be careful and notice that here I am talking about hardcoding subtitles - you can't use this method to make selectable subtitles that can be turned on or off. Hardcoded subs are always on.
It IS possible to have non-ANSI characters in DVD subs, but the real problem is that most of the subtitle programs can only accept ANSI input and the subtitle format that DVD requires is a picture based format and the few programs that I know of that can produce it require ANSI character sets. Someone else may know of a subtitle program or two that can actually work with UTF-8 and may be able to produce DVD subtitles.
DVDStyler ONLY accepts .srt with UTF-8 encoding.
However, personally I find you get nicere looking subtitles with hardcoding - and since your source is MKV you have to encode anyway?
Perhaps use QtlMovie to either create a menuless DVD or a DVD compliant .mpg you can author with AVStoDVD without encoding.
This is the way I attack the problem: convert the UTF-8 SRT to UTF-16 SSA, then use MaestroSBT for converting the SSA to a format suitable for the DVD-authoring application. I was a regular user of DVD-lab PRO, so the output format I chose was SST. Probably someone else knows an "easy" way for converting SRT to SSA, I myself prefer to do it manually.
Ugh. So the Polish characters display correctly, but the subs look like crap. I have no idea what caused this.
Unfortunately I have to wait for the whole encode to complete (which takes about an hour) to see what the final result looks like.
To clear things up: I opened a UTF-8 .srt file with Subtitle Edit and exported it to VobSub. Here's how I set it up:
Then I added the IDX file in AVStoDVD. Adding SUB doesn't seem to work, the subtitles are just unavailable.
Last edited by Ygramul; 3rd Aug 2014 at 12:13.
Usually there is no alpha channel (i.e. one of colors is transparent by default) thus anitaliasing trough transparency may not work correctly...
I figured it all out and everything's fine.
Th reason I had all those problems is that I completely missed an important setting in my Windows 7. I didn't change Region and language > Administrative > Language for non-Unicode programs to Polish.
Thanks anyway, guys.