How to embed Subtitles into Videos

How to embed subtitles into Video?

Subtitles are used in videos for many reasons and almost all the films in DVD format include subtitles in one or more languages. A few reasons for adding subtitles for videos;

• Narration
• To help deaf or persons with hearing disabilities

When embedding subtitles to a video, two main methods are used depending on the usage of subtitles. If subtitles need to be permanently embedded, then subtitles will be displayed throughout the video and users will not be able to turn it off. Otherwise, subtitles can be supplied as an external file (usually .srt format) and a capable video player can display them on the video when required.

There are dozens of software available for embedding subtitles to videos and a few of them are;

• VirtualDub
• AQTitle
• MicroDVD
• MPEG-4 Timed Text
• RealText

There are three main categories of subtitles and they vary depending on their characteristics. To summarize the features of the three categories;

Hard subtitles

• Cannot be turned off during the video playback
• If multiple language subtitles are available, all the languages are displayed at the same time.

This makes the viewer’s experience unpleasant.

• Subtitles are not editable
• No special players are required
• Usually carries a low video quality
• Embeded directly in to the video files
• There is no additional overhead to the video player for displaying subtitles
• Makes the videos low quality in the process of embedding subtitles

Pre-rendered subtitles
• Can be turned off/on during the playback
• Multiple languages are supports and displayed one at a time when selected
• Players supporting DVD formats are required
• Editing the subtitles is hard but possible
• Displays a low visual appearance
• The subtitle video layer runs separately to the main video layer and commonly multiplexed.
• A high overhead for the video player

Soft subtitles
• Can be turned off/on during the playback
• Multiple languages are supports and displayed one at a time when selected
• Requires special software for reading subtitles
• Easily editable in many cases and subtitles are provided in text format
• Distributed in a small subtitle file
• Minimum overhead to the player

How to embed Subtitles into Videos
To embed subtitles into any movies, you will be needing .srt file (subtitle files). For almost any movie, english or foreign, you can get its subtitles by searching in Google. Say if the movie is “XYZ” then put XYZ susbtitles in Google and you can find tons of websites having subtitles for the movie. The problem is, since many a times, movies are edited to reduce size, they also get cut/edited so may be the subtitles are ahead of time and lagging. Anyway it should not be that difficult to find the working subtitle as most often I get it in the first time itself. :)

.srt files can be played in any media player like windows media player, VLC, BSPlayer though I prefers the later two. To embed the subtitles in the video, you need to make sure both the .srt file and movie have same name.

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3 Responses to “How to embed Subtitles into Videos”

  1. 1embed videos on Mar 14, 2009 :

    some parts are not clear to me but still a very nice tutorial on embedding Subtitles into Videos. Personally I just uses VLC or BS Player and download .srt files from varioous subtitle websites. The best and simple method.

  2. 2Kllaus on Mar 23, 2010 :

    Lol i was searching the web to find out how so i can watch HEROES on my xbox 360, and u showed heroes in the example xD

  3. 3alkedias on Jan 6, 2011 :

    Thanks a lot mate
    with your help i didnt have to even download those apps for embedding the subs. your final sentence helped me

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