Seeking how-to on displaying forced ("burned-in") subtitles on bluray rips

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by JimBanville, Jan 18, 2015.

  1. JimBanville macrumors member

    Nov 18, 2014
    I've gathered the equipment and am preparing to start ripping my bluray collection to a hdd. This is going to be a time consuming task and I'm seeking a correct how-to on the work flow for getting subtitles that used to be "burned in" to the image of movies, such as English translation of Klingon, to automatically show on my ripped movie files. I'll be using MakeMKV and Handbrake to convert the files for my Apple TV (MP4/h.264/720p). I've only ripped one film so far as a test. Haven't touched HB yet. Thank you so much in advance for the help
  2. GhostMac24 macrumors 6502


    Jul 27, 2011
    I rip my BR discs in MakeMKV to output a .mkv file and I always select EVERY english subtitle (forced and not) so I have all the info possible.

    Then I use Handbrake to convert the .mvk to a .m4v file and I use the ATV3 preset in Handbrake.

    Now here is where it gets time consuming and frustrating. Since you really have no idea (unless you have already seen the movie) you have to play trial and error until you figure out which subtitle track is the correct one. For example, while watching Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit there was a scene that Russian was being spoken and I got nothing on screen. I didn't select any subtitles in Handbrake as I didn't think there would be any in the movie. Since I save ALL my mkv files for this very situation, I figured out what chapter that scene should have a subtitles. I opened the mkv in VLC and watched that chapter selecting each subtitle one by one until I figured out which subtitle track it was. I think in VLC they are 1 through n but in Handbrake they are labelled 0 through n so I just figure out if it's subtitle 2 in VLC then it's the second one and in Handbrake that would be track 1. I rip it first forced and then burned playing each one once it is complete in order to figure out what option I need. THen I have to go back and redo the entire movie in Handbrake. This is time consuming and a PITA.

    WIth that said, if you know the movie has subtitles in advance then it makes the process much easier.

    If there is an easier way, I'd love to hear it. There isn't exactly an option in MakeMKV to do this from the get go. Wish there was, but I understand why. Many of the movies label their subtitles differently than you'd think when you are wanting the ones that only display when a foreign language is spoken in an english speaking film.
  3. RhythmAndBlues, Jan 18, 2015
    Last edited: Jan 18, 2015

    RhythmAndBlues macrumors regular

    Jan 3, 2015
    I seem to recall using something called SupRip in the past, which scans Blu-ray subtitles streams and uses OCR software to produce graphic files (I think they might be .PNGs...?) that can then be overlain and burned-into the video stream. This is a quite monumental ball-ache, that I do not recommend if you can possibly avoid it.

    In the end, I gave-up. I made do with naming a file so as to identify which stream was correct (e.g. "Annie Hall (1977) [Subs Track 3]"), so that I knew which stream to turn-on manually when I started to watch that movie. It's not as elegant as I'd like, but the laboriousness of burning subs into my rips by hand, over time, disintegrated my soul. I just couldn't face it, anymore.

    In terms of identifying which streams are likely to be the 'mandatory' subs streams, if you can view the streams by their size then it's likely to be the smallest. If you think about it, if there are two English streams in a rip - one of which is 120MB, one of which is 9MB - then the larger one's going to contain subs for every piece of dialogue, whereas the smaller one's only going to be for certain, specific scenes.

    I don't know whether my advice has helped you at all but - if nothing else - just know that I feel your pain.
  4. JimBanville thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 18, 2014
    Thank you!
    I haven't played with VLC and HB yet, so...
    "I think in VLC [subtiles] are [numbered] 1-n but in Handbrake they are labelled 0-n so I just figure out if it's subtitle 2 in VLC then it's the second one and in Handbrake that would be track 1"... is a little confusing, but I get the gist of your methodology :)
  5. mic j macrumors 68030

    Mar 15, 2012
    First let Handbrake scan the mkv for forced subtitles using the "forgein audio search" option. I have found HB to do and excellent job of locating forced subs.

    From the Handbrake website:

    Forced Subtitles
    With some DVD sources, there is a subtitle track which only displays during foreign language sections of the video. On some titles this is a unique subtitle track in the same language as the main audio track, on others it uses the standard subtitle track in the same language as the main audio track except marks a subset of the subtitles as forced.
    In order to select this track, HandBrake can scan the source for subtitles that appear only 10% (or less) of the time in addition to scanning for the presence of any forced subtitles.

    To enable this functionality within the HandBrake user interface, from the “Subtitles” tab select the “Foreign Audio Search (Bitmap)” option from the “Track” dropdown menu and click the “Forced” Checkbox.
    If you do not get a foreign section only subtitle track in your output file, then you may have to manually find and select the correct subtitle track from the “Track” dropdown menu.
    In order to determine which subtitle track to select open the Activity Window and look for the following text:

    [10:08:16] Subtitle stream 0x20bd 'English': 421 hits (0 forced)
    [10:08:16] Subtitle stream 0x34bd 'English': 1640 hits (0 forced)
    [10:08:16] Subtitle stream 0x35bd 'English': 3829 hits (0 forced)
    [10:08:16] No candidate subtitle detected during subtitle-scan
    In this case you can see that subtitle 0x20bd should probably be selected manually. The subtitle numbers may be obtained by looking for the output of the scan, the number will correspond with where in the drop down menu that subtitle will appear in the GUI.

    [10:07:40] scan: checking subtitle 1
    [10:07:40] scan: id=20bd, lang=English, 3cc=eng
    [10:07:40] scan: checking subtitle 2
    [10:07:40] scan: id=21bd, lang=Italiano, 3cc=ita
    [10:07:40] scan: checking subtitle 3
    [10:07:40] scan: id=22bd, lang=Nederlands, 3cc=dut
    [10:07:40] scan: checking subtitle 4
    [10:07:40] scan: id=23bd, lang=Arabic, 3cc=ara
    [10:07:40] scan: checking subtitle 5
    [10:07:40] scan: id=24bd, lang=Bulgarian, 3cc=bul
    [10:07:40] scan: checking subtitle 6
    [10:07:40] scan: id=25bd, lang=Hrvatski, 3cc=scr
    [10:07:40] scan: checking subtitle 7
    [10:07:40] scan: id=26bd, lang=Dansk, 3cc=dan
    [10:07:40] scan: checking subtitle 8
    [10:07:40] scan: id=27bd, lang=Suomi, 3cc=fin
    [10:07:40] scan: checking subtitle 9
    [10:07:40] scan: id=28bd, lang=Greek, Modern, 3cc=gre
  6. JimBanville thread starter macrumors member

    Nov 18, 2014
    Thanks! I've downloaded HB but have yet to play with it. I imagine if I only select the main movie and smallest subtitle track during the MakeMKV rip process, this should help HB find it later, yes? Or am I overlooking something? Thanks again!!!
  7. mic j macrumors 68030

    Mar 15, 2012
    Just set MakeMKV to keep main movie and forced subtitles (it's a preferences setting) and let it do it's thing. Load the file into HB (it will contain 1 video track and possibly multiple subtitle tracks...that's fine) and set HB to my instructions above and you are ready to roll. Should work well in most cases. Although they have a great algorithm for identifying forced sub tracks, nothings perfect. So check your transcode out and if the subtitles are not burned in, you will have to use the manual method to identify which subtitle track is the forced track. Let us know how it turns out.

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