Forced Subtitles: What Is Your Personal Process?

General questions or discussion about HandBrake, Video and/or audio transcoding, trends etc.
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JohnJ9
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Forced Subtitles: What Is Your Personal Process?

Post by JohnJ9 » Tue Jun 03, 2014 1:35 am

I didn't pay attention to subtitles when I was getting my whole conversion routine in place. I've now played around with it a bit, and I have no problem with burning in subtitles on my BluRay conversions. Where I am having troubles is a) remembering to look around to find out whether the movie has subtitles in the first place, b) where to find this information out, and then c) how to figure out which English subtitle track has the actual forced subtitles. I've seen posts in other fora talking about "the spreadsheet," but I've also seen people say "the forced subtitles are on the third English track," only to have someone else respond "no, they're on the fifth track." My normal routine is to use MakeMKV to pull the BD disc off to the hard drive, then use HB on a Mac Mini to do the conversion. Other than my subtitle processing, I've been a very happy camper for all my conversion work. I want to figure out the easiest way to finish this last little piece of the process off. Thanks.

mrhankey33
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Re: Forced Subtitles: What Is Your Personal Process?

Post by mrhankey33 » Tue Jun 03, 2014 4:29 pm

I just signed up with the forums this morning to ask this very question! My conversions are usually from MKV to HB's Apple TV 3 setting. Personally, I haven't had any luck finding a way to determine which of the 2 English tracks are the forced subtitle tracks. With the several MKV's I've tried, regardless of which track I select along with the "Forced Only" option, the resulting M4V either has wall-to-wall subtitles, or nothing at all.

I have had luck using the "Foreign Audio Search" option inside of HB. That seems to be a little smarter at finding the forced subtitles and including them in the M4V output. Maybe for your process, make sure you include all the subtitles when you rip your MKV, then try the Foreign Audio Search on your HB conversion.

The only drawback with doing subtitles directly in HB is that it forces you to "burn" them into your final video, which really isn't a good way to archive video. If someone has suggestions on how we can embed a forced subtitle track in an M4V, I'm all ears!

Woodstock
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Re: Forced Subtitles: What Is Your Personal Process?

Post by Woodstock » Tue Jun 03, 2014 11:43 pm

Where the subtitles are varies by title. I have MakeMKV pull ALL subtitles, and use VLC to sort through which ones I want to keep, before having Handbrake encode the files.

Some titles have a single subtitle track. Some have a single track with some marked as "forced". Some have multiple tracks, which may have "all" subtitles, or just "forced". Some of these put the forced track first, others the full track is first.

If you are encoding a series, the settings USUALLY are the same for all episodes within the series, but not always.

I use the command line interface for actual processing, because I mostly work with series episodes. I use an older version of the GUI to generate a batch file after I pick the settings I want.

drakanor
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Re: Forced Subtitles: What Is Your Personal Process?

Post by drakanor » Sun Oct 11, 2015 1:16 pm

I have the very same issue: how to detect forced subtitles in the original bluray for the language(s) I want to keep.

Woodstock, you are saying that you are using MKVmerge and VLC to find them. Could you please elaborate a bit more on how you are doing this exactly? I also use MKVmerge, but I dont see any information about "forced" subtitle tracks when loading the m2ts file from the bluray.

Thanks a lot in advance.

Woodstock
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Re: Forced Subtitles: What Is Your Personal Process?

Post by Woodstock » Sun Oct 11, 2015 9:52 pm

Not mkvmerge. I extract everything for a title (all audio and subtitle tracks) with MakeMKV, the view the resulting MKV file with VLC to determine which subtitle tracks are "correct".

Then I use handbrake to encode the file, putting the forced subtitle track in the first slot. Most players will auto-play the first track, regardless of other flags (default, forced, whatever).

drakanor
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Re: Forced Subtitles: What Is Your Personal Process?

Post by drakanor » Mon Oct 12, 2015 7:51 am

Ah ok, I see. I was still hoping there is a way to automatically detect forced subtitles for a track / a language. Finding forced subtitles and other correct subtitles for selected tracks is the most annoying part of encoding.
On a pure logical level I still can't understand why there is no tool which behaves like a bluray player, which is always displaying them correctly. ;)

Woodstock
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Re: Forced Subtitles: What Is Your Personal Process?

Post by Woodstock » Mon Oct 12, 2015 12:00 pm

"Always displaying them correctly" is a function of looking at a lot of things. In the case of an MKV file, there are flags to look at, and some players actually do. But, with a BD, in addition to flags in the files, there is Java code in menus that can change defaults, and play lists that can override the flags in the transport stream files. Those things are (usually) not present when you do the encode, so you're left with flags.

The SCAN function of handbrake can work for a lot of this, so long as there is a clear difference between the total number of subtitles and those that would be considered "forced".

For me, though, it's just as simple to view a short segment of video in VLC, toggling through the tracks. I rarely deal with movies, usually multi-disk series, and it is rare that the subtitle order changes from disk to disk.

drakanor
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Re: Forced Subtitles: What Is Your Personal Process?

Post by drakanor » Mon Oct 12, 2015 1:25 pm

Woodstock wrote:For me, though, it's just as simple to view a short segment of video in VLC, toggling through the tracks.
That's what I have been doing all these years with my BD's. But since I'm mostly doing single BD movies for my collection, I find it a very annoying and error-prone process. For instance it's very easy to mistake a subtitle track with directors comments for a forced subtitle track, just because he is not talking at the test segments I was checking. And most movies have these comments tracks.

But I understand that automatically detecting subtitles is very difficult for an encoder tool. I just hope that Handbrake will improve at least for the cases where the forced subtitle tracks are just flags. That would probably help a lot. Right now there is no detecting/marking of them in any case.

Devore
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Re: Forced Subtitles: What Is Your Personal Process?

Post by Devore » Wed Oct 21, 2015 9:48 pm

Subtitles can be a pain. Aside from the obvious foreign-language bits which MAY have forced subtitles (or may just be burned into the movie itself), there might be other subtitles too. I think it was one of the Avengers movies or something like that, that has a subtitle track when new locations are established (to show the place name, basically) that's actually a forced subtitle.

For me, when the movie is not obviously all non-English (ie might have a line of two of foreign dialogue or signage), I use MakeMKV to get all the subtitles flagged English language, then use a subtitle converter (such as SubExtractor or SubtitleEdit) to scan each one for either a specific subset of forced subtitles, or a whole separate track of subtitles that represent the forced subtitles; different releases will use either of the methods, then convert that to SRT (my preferred format) and mux it into the Handbrake re-code. SubExtractor allows you to manually scroll through each subtitle, so you can quickly see what kind of text is included, that should be sufficient most of the time to identify what kind of subtitles they are.

In the MKV mux, I always select the Forced flag for forced subtitles, but it is obviously up to each media player to decide which streams to play. I know PLEX by default does not give you forced English subtitles if the Audio language is English, and neither does VLC I believe, so you have to select it manually or fiddle with settings maybe.

You also have the option of burning in forced subtitles when (if) you re-code, but I see that as a non-elegant solution that wastes tons of bits video encoding something that can be a tiny text file instead.

(Substitute English and non-English for your language of choice of course, this doesn't have to be English-centric.)

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