Forced subtitles!

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by stevol, May 15, 2010.

  1. stevol macrumors member

    Apr 20, 2008
    I know this has been discussed before, and I am sure someone will try and tell me to read the forums more, but I have already read a lot and I am still confused. I am fairly happy right now with my blu-ray rips from makemkv and my converted files from handbrake for ATV, using the latest nightly build of HB and changing the resolution to 1280 x 720. All I want to be able to do now is get the forced subtitles only (most of you know what this means but for those of you who don't -- the subtitles pertaining to a foreign speaker so we can understand what they mean, etc.). I know there are various ways to do it, but I don't want to spend six hours reading every single post on this. Someone out there who understands the issue and can explain in plain english -- please do so for the benefit of us all. If the issue is not so simple, at least summarize what is and is not simple about it. And handbrake people, please work on a solution so we don't have to rely on an three or four programs to get blu-ray ripped to ATV (two is enough!). Thanks!
  2. tbayrgs macrumors 603


    Jul 5, 2009
    I really don't have much expertise in this matter but like you was looking for a relatively easy solution for the same problem. There are supposedly ways to extract the subtitle tracks from MakeMKV rips and convert them to a usable format (more available via Windows, it appears) but I wasn't having much luck. This simplest solution that was suggested to me, IMO, was to find the appropriate subtitle track (.srt format) from an online resource. I've had the most luck with but was also directed to Unfortunately, this can take a bit of trail and error as often the file descriptions may be limited. Also, I have found subtitle tracks that weren't in proper sync with the movie. I believe lets you preview the track (time stamp for each line). You can open your .mkv rip in VLC and go to that time stamp in the film to see if it looks properly synced. You can also open the subtitle track in a program called Jubler to preview it. Jubler also allows you to edit the text but I didn't have luck with that--just use it to preview now.

    My process is to download the track and then use Subler to add the track to post encoding (done using Handbrake). Open the encode file in Subler, click the + button and highlight the saved subtitle file. Save the movie and you should be good to go. You can also add the .srt file to the encoding job in Handbrake. Go to the Subtitles tab and click the Add External SRT button. Tried it once but of course, the file I used wasn't properly synced (thus my previously mentioned workflow to preview the file) so I just use Subler now--very easy to use.

    Sorry, my reply makes it sound more complicated than it is. I prefer this process as it doesn't require any other software than I'm already using (I use Subler for HD/SD and cnID tagging already so adding subs takes an extra few seconds).

    Also, don't quote me but I believe I saw Dynaflash (a HB dev, I believe) mention in one of these threads that the latest HB snapshot can now encode soft subs included in a MakeMKV rip. If so, the process should now be similar to that for encoding DVD rips and you should be able to select the sub track from the dropdown in HB. If I'm wrong (very possible ;)), I'm sure he'll chime in to set us straight.

    Hope this helps.
  3. BigAudio macrumors member

    Jul 15, 2009
    OK. I have played a lot with subtitles lately, and here is how I do it.

    First, I should say, I have a PC running side by side with my mac. I use the PC and anydvd to rip the whole bluray to the PC. (of course, you could use bootcamp, or another virtual machine program to run anydvd on a mac)

    Once it is on the hard drive I use Clown BD, and it can find the movie file on a bluray, extract the forced subtitles, and convert a DTS track to an AC3 Track. It produces a .TS file of the movie, with a ac3 soundtrack, and it will also leave you a chapters.txt, and a subtitle.sup. I dont bother with subtitles, unless there are forced ones, like avatar, 2012, or defiance....

    You can handbrake the .ts file, I usually use the apple tv preset, and just change the picture settings size to 1280 X ???? (I check the "keep aspect ratio" button, so the height is dependant on the aspect ratio of the movie)

    I also change the on the video tab, i make it avg bitrate, 3500 (maybe too low for some people.. but i found it a happy medium between quality, and making the apple tv not get super choppy at the start)

    While that is running, you can use another program suprip to look at the subtitles, and convert them to an SRT file. The only problem i have found with this program is the OCR.. its not very good, it never recognizes an ' and it cant tell a capital I from a lower case L.. But regardless. It works OK. I then take the output from there.. and bring it to my mac. I have found its actually faster to fix the subtitles in the text editor. Make sure you save it as a Unicode UTF8 File. You can double check your work in jubler then.. Usually if there is an issue in jubler, it will appear as a pink highlighted line.. (usually just a line that is too long, you can insert an enter/second line and all is well. )

    From there.. you can tag your finished M4V file, (windows side.. MetaX by Dan Hensley.. or Subler on mac) In either case, I open the file in subler, and add the subtitle .SRT file, and now you can add the chapters.TXT file too. Save it, and then import to Itunes. From there, just resync you appletv, and CRITICAL.. Make sure you turn on subtitles on the apple TV.. I forgot about that.. and was pulling my hair out.

    Thats about it. Its a little bit of a pain, but once you make a work flow.. its not really a big deal. Im just happy i found clown BD to make eac3to more of a GUI program, rather than command line. and it converts the predominant DTS files on blurays to an Atv friendly AC3..

    Hope that helps!

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