Subtitles can be invaluable when you watch movies, especially if they have some commentary or if the video is in a foreign language that you don't understand. Do you know how to create or convert subtitles?
If subtitles are provided in the right format and language, then there is nothing that you need to do as you can play them just fine in the media player or on a device. Some subtitles may be in the wrong format or language, or you may want to create a subtitle from scratch for your favorite TV show or movie.
Tip: check out the following subtitle resources and tools that we reviewed previously here on Ghacks:
An easy way to do it, is by using Subtitle Edit. It is an open source subtitle editor and converter which is available for Windows. I wouldn't call it user-friendly, but it's not too difficult to learn either. The program supports over 200 subtitle formats that it may load and plenty of output formats.
One of the great features of the application is that it can play videos and subtitles simultaneously so that you can verify the timing, text position, and other parameters quite easily once you get the hang.
Subtitle Edit has a 4-pane UI with quite a few interface elements including several tabs. Core elements include:
The toolbar in Subtitle Edit's interface can be used to open/create/save your subtitle, find or find & replace text in a subtitle. There are options to enable visual synchronization, Google translate and spell checking, and to search for text online.. The toggles for the waveform and video player can be used to hide the respective panes from view. You can see the format of the loaded subtitle and the encoding it uses, right next to the toolbar.
This is all you need to know about the program. There are a lot more options available through the file menu, but most of those are self-explanatory.
In this example we are going to use VTT but you can load pretty much any subtitle either by dragging and dropping it or by using load options.
VTT is the extension used by the WebVTT (Web Video Text Tracks) format. It is used to display closed captions in streaming videos and is used by many services including YouTube. You may know what SRT subtitles are as they are quite common; well, a VTT is based on SRT but has some extra options.
One very important feature that is slightly hidden in Subtitle Edit is the subtitle converter. It can be accessed from 2 places: the easiest way is to use the "Save As" option from the File menu. The other way is to access the "Batch Convert" option from the Tools menu.
Run Subtitle Edit and open the VTT (or any other subtitle format) and click save as and choose SRT. For Batch convert, simply select a folder which has the subtitles in it (sub-folders will be searched as well). The program uses the Subrip format (SRT) as the pre-selected option. All you have to do is click the convert button and the SRT files will be ready in a few seconds
One of my friends asked me for help with a video that came with a VTT subtitle, it wouldn't work with MPC-HC. I played the video in MPV and the subtitle worked just like that. MPC-BE worked fine as well. This was a training video made by his office for their intranet portal, so there wasn't any way to download a different subtitle. I didn't want to force my friend to switch video players. So, the only fix was to convert the subtitles from VTT to SRT. I used Subtitle Edit for this. The batch convert option was handy since there were a lot of files in the folders. The resultant subtitles worked perfectly with the videos and this is what inspired me to write this article.
Note: Subtitle Edit requires you to install LAV Filters (also open source). If you don't want to install it, you can select the option to use MPV or MPC-HC or VLC from the settings. You also need Microsoft .NET Framework Version 4.0 or later to run the application. If you don't want to run software, you may also try the beta version of Subtitle Edit online which you can run in any modern browser.
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.