Subtitles in multiple places with Subtitle Workshop?
Thread poster: Melissa Valeen

Melissa Valeen  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 05:57
Spanish to English
Mar 25, 2016

Hello there!

I'm subtitling a documentary for my dissertation. I am using Subtitle Workshop 6.0. It works pretty darn well for a open-source program.

However, I haven't found a way to add subtitles in different places on the image.

An example of this would be to caption a name as well as dialogue within the same time frames, or when there is a visual sign in the image.

I'd paste a screenshot, but I can't figure out the BBcode. So here's a link to an example:
https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B7EoWN-QGfUVbmFwUFJvd29SRmc

One possibility is to make a large subtitle that would cover the image (the background is transparent) and add the text where I would like it. But there must be a more efficient (and professional) way.

Can anyone offer advice?

Thanks so much in advance.
Melissa Valeen


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Max Deryagin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 16:57
Member (2013)
English to Russian
- Mar 25, 2016

Hi Melissa,

SW does not support positioning/alignment, so you won't be able to do that. I suggest you pick a better tool for subtitling, which is literally almost any other tool, free or not.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 09:57
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Dots on the is Mar 25, 2016

Max Deryagin wrote:

Hi Melissa,

SW does not support positioning/alignment, so you won't be able to do that. I suggest you pick a better tool for subtitling, which is literally almost any other tool, free or not.


Making a long story short, subtitle files like SRT, TXT are low-end subtitles, i.e. they leave text formatting, like font, size, color, position, style etc. to be defined by the burning, authoring, or playing program. Meanwhile subtitle files like SSA and ASS are high-end subtitles, because they have all these parameters included within.

(An obvious conclusion is that low-end subtitles need high-end software (Sony Vegas, FinalCut, etc.) to burn fancy subtitles, while high-end subtitles generally use low-end (free or cheap) software (VirtualDub, AnyVideoConverter, etc.) to burn them.

Most - if not all - non-proprietary subtitle file formats are text-only, they can be edited with the Windows Notepad. So if you open a SSA file on Notepad, you'll see the 0000,0000,0000 part of each subtitle, which determines the relative position (in pixels) of that subtitle to the default set on the (SSA file) header. You can edit these, save, and use.

However Subtitle Workshop (both v6 and v 2.51) will reset to zero all these position parameters as soon as you open such a file!

Now and then I burn multiple (usually two at most) subtitles using VirtualDub (using Lee Avery's - its author - 'Subtitler' plugin). As I said, it uses SSA files. There is NO constraint in VirtualDub to burn more than one set of subtitles at once. Just create and time as many SSA files as you intend to burn, and add them as Filter | Subtitler with the corresponding SSA file.

Keep in mind - in case they overlap - that VirtualDub will execute that list from top to bottom, hence the last Subtitler filter's subtitles will be as if on a layer on top/in front of all previous ones.

A couple of options to edit these parameters on SSA files are SubStation Alpha or our old friend, the Windows Notepad.


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Max Deryagin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 16:57
Member (2013)
English to Russian
- Mar 25, 2016

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
A couple of options to edit these parameters on SSA files are SubStation Alpha or our old friend, the Windows Notepad.


I think Aegisub is more user-friendly for SSA styling compared to SubStation Alpha, which is, indeed, quite old.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 09:57
English to Portuguese
+ ...
Quite likely Mar 25, 2016

Max Deryagin wrote:

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
A couple of options to edit these parameters on SSA files are SubStation Alpha or our old friend, the Windows Notepad.


I think Aegisub is more user-friendly for SSA styling compared to SubStation Alpha, which is, indeed, quite old.


I have never tried Aegisub, so I can't say a thing about it.
If it does the job, it's a good option!

As a friend who started out in computing with big IBM mainframes, the best software is always the one you know how to use inside out.


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Melissa Valeen  Identity Verified
Mexico
Local time: 05:57
Spanish to English
TOPIC STARTER
Thank you! Mar 26, 2016

Thank you to both of you for your help! I really appreciate the details on adjusting parameters, Jose. I am breathing a sigh of relief.

I am just beginning and didn't realize that SSA files could do what I needed.

At this point, I have only worked with Subtitle Workshop and a demo of Wincaps (the full version of which costs about 1500 USD).

But as this is my dissertation project, I want it to look as professional as possible. So I will try Aegisub or SubStation Alpha.

Am I correct in assuming I can convert my current .srt file (or the text file with the timings) into an SSA file? If so, I can breathe a final sigh of relief. In any case, I will try it.

Sincerely,
Melissa Valeen


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Max Deryagin  Identity Verified
Russian Federation
Local time: 16:57
Member (2013)
English to Russian
- Mar 26, 2016

Melissa Valeen wrote:

Thank you to both of you for your help! I really appreciate the details on adjusting parameters, Jose. I am breathing a sigh of relief.

I am just beginning and didn't realize that SSA files could do what I needed.

At this point, I have only worked with Subtitle Workshop and a demo of Wincaps (the full version of which costs about 1500 USD).

But as this is my dissertation project, I want it to look as professional as possible. So I will try Aegisub or SubStation Alpha.

Am I correct in assuming I can convert my current .srt file (or the text file with the timings) into an SSA file? If so, I can breathe a final sigh of relief. In any case, I will try it.

Sincerely,
Melissa Valeen


Melissa, yes, you can freely convert from and to the SSA format.

Here's the link to the full list of SSA tags for styling your subtitles in whatever way you deem fit: http://docs.aegisub.org/3.1/ASS_Tags/

WinCAPS would also work, but I'm afraid the trial version won't cut it.


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José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 09:57
English to Portuguese
+ ...
On SRT > SSA conversion Mar 26, 2016

Melissa Valeen wrote:

I am just beginning and didn't realize that SSA files could do what I needed.


SSA can't "do" anything. Please re-read my skimpy earlier explanation.

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
Making a long story short, subtitle files like SRT, TXT are low-end subtitles, i.e. they leave text formatting, like font, size, color, position, style etc. to be defined by the burning, authoring, or playing program. Meanwhile subtitle files like SSA and ASS are high-end subtitles, because they have all these parameters included within.


What can or can't do anything is the software that will use your subtitles (plain text) file to generate subtitles onscreen in sync. Subtitle Workshop (and many others) will deliver subtitle files in some 60+ different formats, each having their "service level".

Making an analogy, you can equate this to food service at home.

  • SSA/ASS would be comparable to a catering service. They'd park a food truck on your driveway, and their staff would step in to serve dishes on the table, your table, which could be a board on a couple of sawhorses (VirtualDub, AVC etc.).

  • SRT/TXT would correspond to food delivery, like pizza or Chinese. They bring you the food in some packaging adequate for transportation. Of course, you may move the food to luxury serving bowls/plates, and provide everyone with china plates and silverware (Premiere, Vegas, FinalCut). Otherwise folks may eat Chinese straight out of the boxes (uploading a SRT to YouTube) or hold pizza slices in their hands (playing SRT with VideoLAN VLC).

    Melissa Valeen wrote:
    At this point, I have only worked with Subtitle Workshop and a demo of Wincaps (the full version of which costs about 1500 USD).

    But as this is my dissertation project, I want it to look as professional as possible. So I will try Aegisub or SubStation Alpha.


    WHAT exactly do you want to look professional? Your dissertation or your subtitles?

    I can't figure out why there is so much excellent video freeware around, while a generalizing statement could be made on, say, CAT tools being abusively expensive and often very bad.

    I use mostly freeware for subtitling. In the very rare cases when I find commercial software performing better than equivalent freeware, I buy it. Yet my subtitles look dazzling on a 60" screen, while I've seen some horrible ones generated with 4-digit USD software. I think the output quality lies mostly in the operator.

    Melissa Valeen wrote:
    Am I correct in assuming I can convert my current .srt file (or the text file with the timings) into an SSA file? If so, I can breathe a final sigh of relief. In any case, I will try it.


    Subtitle Workshop (and many others) can open a subtitles file in any of its 60+ file formats and save it in any of these formats, HOWEVER if you are, e.g. opening a parameter-less SRT and saving it as a parameters-rich SSA, you must either config all these parameters or live with the default parameters left on SW from the last time a SSA file was saved.

    On a last note, you might find some useful info at http://www.videohelp.com . Search it, and have fun.
    Likewise, I've tried to make some useful info available on my own web site, for example:
    http://www.lamensdorf.com.br/subtitling.html
    http://www.lamensdorf.com.br/dub-or-sub.html

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