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Subtitling and Compression

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John Kroil
Subtitling and Compression
on May 23, 2013 at 10:25:10 am

Hello Folks,
I am going through my old films and currently trying to create subtitles and hardcode them on video so that I can upload them to Vimeo. I am running into so many problems, and I think it is because I am not using the right tools or the right workflows, and could use some advice for the right workflow/tool. I have played with ffmpegx, Jubler, Belle Nuit Subtitler, Handbrake, Subler, Submerge, and Subs Factory (Because I'm doing this for the first time, and want to find the best/easiest workflow) and I am having problems with everything (amazing huh?. I am sure this is due to my ignorance, as much as anything else, but I wanted to see what people's experience are. I am working on a Mac.

So my objective is to take all my videos (I have some in HD and some in SD) and convert them to the Vimeo recommended format, and then hardcode the subtitles (is this wrong? is there one way to do both at the same time?

So what I did so far.

Step 1 - I used Handbrake to compress the nearly 4GB file with Vimeo's standards into a 720p HD file. It made a file about 400 MB big. All well and good because I have as of yet no PRO account on Vimeo.

Step 2 - I already have an .srt file in hand, which I had made at some point (I think with Subtitle Edit on a few years ago). So I want to hard code this on the video, and so far have been stumped as to the best way to do this.

The things I have tried so far:

Submerge - Okay this is the wrong tool. Only good for muxing subs into Mp4s, and no help for hard coding (right?)

ffmpgex - I wanted to try this, but when I open the already converted MP4 file, the option for burning in subs is greyed out. From reading around, it seems like you can only hardburn subs in Avi files. (right?)

Handbrake - Apparently I cannot hardcode subs from an .srt file, so this won't work.

Submerge - Okay this one worked, but with terrible results. It took my 400 MB file, added subs and made it into a 3 GB file. yay. Not seeing any pass-through options I selected the same setting as my original video file, and I got this bloated useless monster. Delete.

Belle Nuit Subtitler I haven't tried this one yet, although apparently I can output an Avid EDL, export Tiffs and then go through Avid to import them on my timeline (although I don't know yet how to do this). This seems like a lot of work, and I prefer to go around the Avid if I have other options.

Sooo what is the best way for me to go from here?
1. Is there some way (like with Compressor) to simultaneously compress and hardburn the subtitles? Is this a better way?
2. Would going through the Avid be giving me the best results?
3. Is there any way for me to make a file (i.e. with Belle Nuit) that either Handbrake or ffmpgex can us to hardcode the subtitle?

I am lost in the many programs and options, and have been struggling with this for two days, and would appreciate any advice for workflow/programs.

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Rich Rubasch
Re: Subtitling and Compression
on May 24, 2013 at 1:26:41 am

I know MacCaption makes a module that will ONLY stripe a .stl file into any's a snap.

It's not the full MacCaption product, but just the Quicktime module. Is best on the Mac.

Rich Rubasch
Tilt Media Inc.
Video Production, Post, Studio Sound Stage

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