Close captioning confusion

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joedy
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 1:18 am

Close captioning confusion

Post by joedy »

On the release documents with the latest 0.9.4 release today, there was the following mention:
* Soft subtitles and Closed Captions:
- DVD Closed Captions
- ATSC Closed Captions
- SRT subtitle import
- Text soft subtitles in MP4 and MKV output
- Bitmap soft subtitles in MKV output
As a hearing impaired iPod Touch user, I've been using Handbrake to "burn" subtitles into the ripped movies for some time now.

Am I correct in understanding that the new version of Handbrake will allow me to encode a .mp4 file and allow for closed captions that can be turned on and off while playing on the iPod Touch?

I don't quite understand the difference between, "Text soft subtitles in MP4 and MKV output" and closed captions which can be either displayed or turned off. At first reading, this statement seems to imply that Handbrake will now allow me to make Closed Captions as I encode the movies for the iPod.

When I attempted this evening to encode a short chapter with the Closed Captioning option selected in the Subtitle tab in Handbrake, the resulting movie played in Quicktime, but the options to turn enable and disable the captions from the Quicktime menu was grayed out and not selectable. The subtitle text was displayed as if it were "burned" into the movie (although the color and the font style was presented differently and was thus, easier to read.)

Could I beg for someone to explain the difference between Text Soft Subtitles and Closed Captions insofar as they are practically effected in Quicktime and on the iPod?

I know that deaf and hard of hearing folks are often forgotten in the larger scheme of life in general and that things like closed captions and subtitles are easily overlooked as being a critical and vital necessity for this part of our demographic to enjoy movies.

While almost all new movies are being produced with subtitles, there are many older movies and foreign movies which only feature closed captions. For these movies, deaf and hard of hearing folks have no way to enjoy them on an iPod to date.


And finally, I don't know the members of the team that have maintained, added, improved and modified Handbrake over the years, but I would like to extent a sincere and wholesome "Thank You" for all of the hard work that you have put into making this program an essential part of our movie enjoyment and pleasure. The maxim that the best things in life are free doesn't really apply to everything, but in the case of Handbrake, it most certainly does.

Keep up the good work. I appreciate everything that you've done to make this an exceptional program to depend upon.

-joedy
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Rodeo
HandBrake Team
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Joined: Tue Mar 03, 2009 8:55 pm

Re: Close captioning confusion

Post by Rodeo »

HandBrake passes through Closed Captions as QuickTime subtitles (the devs haven't figured out how to pass them as Closed Captions to MP4), so they'll be accessible via View > Subtitles instead of View > Show Closed Captioning.
joedy
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 1:18 am

Re: Close captioning confusion

Post by joedy »

Does this mean, then, that a movie with only a Closed Caption option (and NOT a subtitle option) will then have the Closed Caption text "burned" into the movie when watched on an iPod Touch?

I hope that this is the case. This will allow me to watch many older movies which have this issue.

I thank you for your reply, by the way.

-joedy
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Rodeo
HandBrake Team
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Re: Close captioning confusion

Post by Rodeo »

joedy wrote:Does this mean, then, that a movie with only a Closed Caption option (and NOT a subtitle option) will then have the Closed Caption text "burned" into the movie when watched on an iPod Touch?
No. As a matter of fact, since Closed Captions and SRT files are text-based and HandBrake doesn't have a text renderer, neither can be burned in the video (only picture-based DVD VobSubs can be burned in).

However, HandBrake will pass through the Closed Captions to the MP4 container, and you should be able to turn them on or off on the iPod touch.
joedy
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 1:18 am

Re: Close captioning confusion

Post by joedy »

Rodeo,

Thank you for this clarification. What was confusing me was that the created MP4 files of which I had selected Closed Captioning before the Handbrake encoding, were not displaying the Closed Captions on the computer when played in Quicktime.

However, these very same files when transferred to the iPod Touch DOES, indeed, allow me to turn on the Closed Captioning text!

What is even better is that the Closed Captioning text is colored white and on widescreen format movies (which feature the black bars on the top and the bottom of the iPod Touch screen,) the Closed Captions are displayed in the black "bar" area under the movie. With the burned-in Subtitles options, the text was always on top of the movie and never displayed in the bottom black bar area. It was a workable solution, but a distracting one.

I'm still a little confused as to why Quicktime won't show these Closed Captions by either the "Subtitles" or "Show Captions Options" in the VIEW pull-down menu. I would suppose that if the iPod Touch can display these Closed Captions then surely the Quicktime player on the Mac would be able to as well?

Nonetheless, this is a minor issue. I only use Quicktime to verify a successful encoded file before copying it into iTunes for uploading into the iPod Touch.


I can't say how extremely pleased and overjoyed now that I will be able to watch movies on the iPod that only feature Closed Captions!

Thank you, everyone, for making this happen. I am deeply humbled at your efforts to allow deaf and hard of hearing people to enjoy movies on their iPods. You guys are truly awesome in my opinion.

Sincerely,

-joedy
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Rodeo
HandBrake Team
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Re: Close captioning confusion

Post by Rodeo »

Unless your extension is somehow set to .mp4, QuickTime should be able to display the subtitles (accessible from View > Subtitles).

If the extension is set to .mp4 for some reason, change it to .m4v - otherwise QuickTime won't let you select the subtitles.
joedy
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 1:18 am

Re: Close captioning confusion

Post by joedy »

Rodeo,

Bingo. You've hit the nail on the head.

I had been changing the extension of my recently completed encoded files from .m4v to .mp4 as a matter of practice. Double clicking on the .m4v files automatically adds them to iTunes. Occasionally I would discover a movie that did not encode properly after syncing it to my iPod. To check that the movies had encoded properly before spending all of the time copying them into iTunes and then the extra time spent syncing them into the iPod Touch, I would change the extension to .mp4 and check it quickly with Quicktime. If it looked OK, then I would manually copy it into iTunes and then sync the iPod.

Now that I know WHAT was causing my confusion, do you happen to know why this was the case? I don't quite understand why the Quicktime program won't display Closed Captions on the renamed file with a .mp4 extension but the iTunes Player will display the Closed Captions on the very same file with a .m4v file extension?

I was under the impression that the iTunes Player (at least on the Mac) was just a scaled down Quicktime program, but apparently these two programs treat the encoded Closed Caption track quite differently.

Rodeo, I thank you sincerely for your kind help. I appreciate your time.

-joedy
TedJ
Veteran User
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Re: Close captioning confusion

Post by TedJ »

joedy wrote:Now that I know WHAT was causing my confusion, do you happen to know why this was the case? I don't quite understand why the Quicktime program won't display Closed Captions on the renamed file with a .mp4 extension but the iTunes Player will display the Closed Captions on the very same file with a .m4v file extension?

I was under the impression that the iTunes Player (at least on the Mac) was just a scaled down Quicktime program, but apparently these two programs treat the encoded Closed Caption track quite differently.
There's no real secret or mystery to this one - iTunes and Quicktime use the file suffix to differentiate between your common or garden mpeg4 and one with Apples's own "secret sauce"... in this case embedded chapters, subtitles/captions and AC3 audio tracks. If you're using any of these features you're best bet is to keep the suffix as .m4v and use right-click to open with Quicktime. ;)
joedy
Posts: 12
Joined: Thu Nov 26, 2009 1:18 am

Re: Close captioning confusion

Post by joedy »

Ted,

Thanks for the clarification. I appreciate your time.

Wow! Now with Closed Captioning support, Handbrake just went from being a great program to being a phenomenally outstanding one!

-joedy
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