Subtitles: Most Useful Information about Video Subtitles


Any of you, when watching video materials, have come across subtitles more than once. First of all, subtitles are the textual accompaniment of the video. They help the viewer understand what the speech is about, can be of an advertising nature, and most people use them to learn a foreign language.

It is worth noting that it is most pleasant to watch the film in the original language. If you do not speak it well, then subtitles will help you understand the essence of what is happening without unnecessary problems and inconveniences.

Types of Subtitles

 Subtitles will Help You Understand the Essence of Video

Subtitles can be divided into two groups:

1. Hard Subtitle

The first is the so-called rigid sub or embedded subtitles. It means that they come with the video and are an integral part of the image. The main advantage of this type of subtitles is that they do not need to be additionally turned on, and computer resources are not required to display them.

There are also many disadvantages: they cannot be turned off, and the size of such subtitles cannot be scaled. These problems become especially obvious when you play a movie on tablets or smartphones; it is simply unrealistic to consider subtitles on these devices.

In addition, difficulties arise when viewing subtitles on large diagonals. For example, suppose you are playing a video file on a widescreen TV. In that case, the image is proportionally stretched, while quality is lost, and the subtitles become unreadable, losing the clarity of the text outlines.

2. Soft Subtitle

The second is soft subtitles or external subtitles. Their peculiarity lies in the fact that they are superimposed on the video always to turn them off or select other subtitles. In contrast, the video quality will not change.

The downside is that subtitles of this type are supplied separately, and not all players support their playback. Also, the soft sub can always be edited without damaging the video file.

External subtitles are always distinguished by good clarity, and they can also be scaled to a size convenient for you. Therefore, in recent years, external subtitles are increasingly used.

Subtitle Formats

Subtitle Formats

External subtitles are widely used in the following several formats: SUB, SRT, SSA. There are many other formats, but they are less common or only locally; for example, subtitles for the TMPlayer are mainly used in Poland.

Each of the popular subtitle formats has its subtleties and features.

Sub Format

The subformat is quite common; if you open it through a regular text editor, the structure and way of writing them will immediately become clear. The first couple of lines is a header, which is informative and also contains a description of the style, font color, font used, and size.

Synchronization with a video file is carried out frame by frame. The video file consists of many separate frames that have their score. It is where subtitles are set. The first curly brackets indicate the starting frame, upon reaching which the subtitles will appear, and in the following brackets – to which frame they should be displayed.

It is most convenient to write soft subtitles of this format in some specialized programs.

SRT Format

The SRT format is also standard. The main advantage of this format is that you can write it in a regular text editor. The simplicity of the language and its good functionality are the main advantages of this type of subtitles.

If you open such subtitles through notepad, you will immediately understand their writing principle. The first thing that is put is the phrase number; then the time is indicated in the format hours: minutes: seconds, milliseconds.

Start time and showtime are separated by a particular character set “->.” After that, there are text comments that you will see when watching a movie.

Synchronization in such subtitles is carried out by time. Composing such subtitles will not be difficult for any of you since you do not need specialized software; therefore, subtitles of this type are still widely used.

SSA Format

The next subtitle format to look out for is the SSA subtitle. This format differs because it allows you to control many parameters of the text: font format, color, height, transparency, the position of text on frames.

This type of subtitle even has event control – this is what distinguishes this format from the rest since it is a progressive and modern technology. Thanks to such good functionality, this format has become more common, and its use is always justified.

Since you can do whatever you want with the text without having solid restrictions. The structure of a file with such subtitles is as follows (we will consider the latest version of the script): a title that contains basic information about subtitles, as well as authors and developers, then styles are described, followed by the subtitles themselves.

There may also be sections on fonts and graphics, which will tell the used fonts and images.

Subtitle Containers

Subtitle Containers

In addition to embedded and external subtitles, the existence of so-called containers should be noted. Containers are a particular type of file that can contain both video and several audio tracks, and several subtitles.

The advantage of the container is that it is one indivisible file, during playback of which you can easily select the desired track and subtitles or altogether disable them.

Recently, the most popular container is MKV, or more simply called: Matroska. Such a container consists of video (MKV), audio track (MKA), and subtitles (MKS), as well as service information.

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Subtitle Plugins

Most popular video players can play subtitles, but only in a specific format and with some restrictions. Therefore, it is highly recommended to download an additional plugin that will correctly handle subtitles.

The best option is DivX. This plugin allows you to view and work with almost all subtitle formats and display them correctly without cutting off the latter’s functionality.

For most players, there are general criteria for connecting subtitles. One of the main ones is the presence of a subtitle file in the same folder where the video file is located, and the name of the subtitles must be the same as that of the video file, differing only in the extension.

Most players automatically pick up subtitles and automatically recognize their format, but sometimes this does not happen. In this case, you need to open the video file, open the file with subtitles and check if the subtitle display function is enabled in the player settings.

If your subtitles are not displayed correctly, they look like squares or questions, or even incomprehensible characters are shown, then this is a problem with the font. It means that the font cannot be displayed usually or is not supported by the player.

The solution is simple – you need to select a different font to display the Cyrillic alphabet through the subtitle display settings menu.

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Using External Subtitles in Videos

If you have a movie with no subtitles, and without them, there is nothing, then the subtitles can be downloaded separately. For the correct selection of subtitles for a video, you should always pay attention to such landmarks as the total video time and the right choice of a media player.

The subtitles must be synchronized with your video, and the player recognizes their format. After downloading and moving to the video folder, it is worth renaming the subtitles the same way as your video file.

Thus, subtitles are a powerful tool thanks to which you can easily watch films in the original, understanding everything that happens.

Note that it is better to install the required software once and configure all this for standard playback of external subtitles than to search for the necessary format each time.

The best option is by far the containers, which already contain everything you need. All you need to do is select the required subtitles or altogether disable them.

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