Add .ass subtiles to MP4 to burn on DVD, keeping subtitle features (font type & size, shadow, ecc)
Thread poster: Tommaso Martelli

Tommaso Martelli  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 02:55
Member (2013)
German to Italian
+ ...
Nov 9, 2017

Hi All,

I'd like to ask you your advice regarding a technical matter:

- I have a MP4 file and an .ass file with subtitles and I need an output file that can be played on a DVD player.

- I also need to deliver 2 different DVDs with 2 different subtitles styles (different font size, w/o shadow, ecc)

I edited the subtitles in Aegisub and created 2 different .ass files with different styles.

Can you suggest me a software which allows me to encode the subtitles in the MP4 file KEEPING THE ORIGINAL FORMAT STYLE (font size, positioning, shadow) I set up in Aegisub?

Better if free, anyway an affordable solution could work too.

Last question: is it necessary to encode the subtitle into the MP4 in order to be played in a DVD player? Or is it somehow possible to add soft subtitles to the MP4 and the burn the two files into a DVD?

Thanks


 

Sergei Leshchinsky  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 03:55
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
just for understanding Nov 9, 2017

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/DVD-Video

Subtitles are stored as bitmap images and therefore can contain messages in any language. Subtitles are restricted to four colors, including transparent "color", and thus tend to look cruder than permanent subtitles on film. Transparency allows laying subtitles over the video during playback. The subtitle tracks are contained within the VOB file of the DVD.

https://www.winxdvd.com/resource/add-subtitles-to-dvd.htm


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 21:55
English to Portuguese
+ ...
A few points here Nov 9, 2017

Burning (after authoring) a DVD with subtitles, and burning subtitles on a MP4 video are different things. For the record, a DVD contains *.VOB files, which are a variation of MP2 files, not MP4.

In the days of VHS tape, the only way to subtitle a video was like in the days of 16 mm and 35 mm films: making the subtitles part of the image on each frame. Digital video (which includes DVD) allows for generating and superimposing subtitles on the image in real time, i.e. image & subs come from different sources (files), and are put together seamlessly during playing. This has not eliminated the possibility of burning the subtitles as part of the image.

Hence there are two basic strategies to have a digital video subtitled.


1. Subtitles are part of the image

IOW, the only way to watch the video WITHOUT subtitles is by covering the lower part of the screen.

Subtitle formatting is defined:

a) in the subtitle file generating program. Such subtitle files are usually SSA or ASS, as they contain all the formatting parameters (font type & size, color, border, shadow, etc.). Burning software is usually free or cheap, e.g. VirtualDub, Format Factory, AVC, AVS4you, MovAvi, etc.

b) in the subtitle burning program. The most common files are SRT or varied forms of TXT, which only contain in/out times, and the subtitle text. Burning sofyware is usually high-end video editing software like Premiere, Vegas, Final Cut, etc. The font features are set in these programs.


2. Subtitles are overlaid on the video

Video and subtitles are kept in separate files, hence it is possible to switch between subtitles (viz. languages) on-the-fly, during video play.

a) on DVDs, the subtitles "array" is assembled during authoring; switching from one to another, or turning them off altogether, can be done via a menu at the start and/or via the Subtitles key on the player remote control. This requires a DVD authoring program, the only free/cheap option that I know of is DVDFlick.

b) on YouTube, the user can select subtitles (if uploaded) and font format options.

c) playing with the (free) VLC VideoLAN player, which AFAICR will preserve the SSA/ASS formatting, and allow user to setup formatting if a SRT is available.


If you need more info, search on http://www.videohelp.com .


 

Sergei Leshchinsky  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 03:55
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
my way Nov 9, 2017

I more often work in Option 1 (option 2 is usually not my task, I only translate the SRT, and the rest is done in post-production). It is easily done with VirtualDUB (free) and TextSub.vdf plug-in. The text size, color, font, and position are adjustable.

[Редактировалось 2017-11-09 12:11 GMT]


 

Sergei Leshchinsky  Identity Verified
Ukraine
Local time: 03:55
Member (2008)
English to Russian
+ ...
free tools Nov 9, 2017

http://subtitlecreator.sourceforge.net/AddingSubtitles2aDVD.htm

 

Tommaso Martelli  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 02:55
Member (2013)
German to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Issue with DVDFlick Nov 10, 2017

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:

a) on DVDs, the subtitles "array" is assembled during authoring; switching from one to another, or turning them off altogether, can be done via a menu at the start and/or via the Subtitles key on the player remote control. This requires a DVD authoring program, the only free/cheap option that I know of is DVDFlick.



Thank you for the exhaustive information! Since i need to add 3 selectable subtitles, I've tried DVDFlick. It is actually pretty easy to use and the end result is aesthetically very nice, but I had one major issue that made all my work useless: it deleted all commas!!! In the .ass file there are commas, but in the end DVD the subtitles have no commas at all. Aside from this, the result woudl be perfect...

Do you have any ideal what could be the reason for it? Maybe the .ass subtitle format is not suitable to be used in DVDFlick?

Any help is really appreciated.

If I don't find any solution for this, I think I'll have to create 3 differente files with hardcoded subtitles. Unfortunately VirtualDub seems not to support MP4. Should I convert it to AVI to edit it with VirtualDub?

[Edited at 2017-11-10 21:53 GMT]


 

José Henrique Lamensdorf  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 21:55
English to Portuguese
+ ...
This is normal with freeware Nov 11, 2017

Tommaso Martelli wrote:

Thank you for the exhaustive information! Since i need to add 3 selectable subtitles, I've tried DVDFlick. It is actually pretty easy to use and the end result is aesthetically very nice, but I had one major issue that made all my work useless: it deleted all commas!!! In the .ass file there are commas, but in the end DVD the subtitles have no commas at all. Aside from this, the result woudl be perfect...

Do you have any ideal what could be the reason for it? Maybe the .ass subtitle format is not suitable to be used in DVDFlick?

Any help is really appreciated.

If I don't find any solution for this, I think I'll have to create 3 differente files with hardcoded subtitles. Unfortunately VirtualDub seems not to support MP4. Should I convert it to AVI to edit it with VirtualDub?


VirtualDub will burn the subtitles onto AVI. You'll end up with three subtitled files, which you can put on a DVD, however you can't switch languages on-the-fly, only going back literally to frame one.

Now and then I have a problem with SSA italics that appear only in the last part of the first line of a two-liner subtitle, created with Subtitle Workshop. I discovered that the solution is to add one extra space after the command.

Maybe the problem is with the font you are using, for some reason DVDFlick fails to "see" the commas there, perhaps there is some charset issue. A commercial software seller has an obligation to solve such issues. With freeware, you are left to trial-and-error or the help from peer groups.


 

Tommaso Martelli  Identity Verified
Italy
Local time: 02:55
Member (2013)
German to Italian
+ ...
TOPIC STARTER
Commas issue solved, now unfortunately I get some 3 line subtitles Nov 11, 2017

José Henrique Lamensdorf wrote:
Maybe the problem is with the font you are using, for some reason DVDFlick fails to "see" the commas there, perhaps there is some charset issue. A commercial software seller has an obligation to solve such issues. With freeware, you are left to trial-and-error or the help from peer groups.


I solved the commas issue converting the .ass file into .srt.

Now unfortunately I have another problem:

- some subtitles (the longer ones, but always under 40 characters per line) are split over 3 lines, whereas in Aegisub they are all in 2 lines and do not exceed che character limit.

I tried to adjust the side margins for subtitles in DVDFlick (setting them to 0), but the first attempt was not succcessful.

Any advice?

PS. I also tried the trial version of ConvertXtoDVD, it's easy to use, no format issue but the quality of the subtitles produced is not very satisfying (not very sharp, with fragmented contours)

Thanks!

[Edited at 2017-11-11 21:32 GMT]


 


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