Convert VOB w/ subtitles
October 23, 2008 10:46 PM   Subscribe

How can I convert VOB files to AVI or some other format, but with embedded subtitles?

I have VOB files which have a selectable subtitle track when you play them in VLC. I want to convert them to AVI or some other format, but with the subtitles embedded. Is there any simple way to do this? Please keep in mind I know next to nothing about video editing/compressing etc. Thanks!
posted by pravit to Computers & Internet (11 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: Handbrake might be able to do this.
posted by jjb at 10:56 PM on October 23, 2008

Or AutoGK. Just make sure to select whichever way you want to package the subtitles (Hard subs = subtitles encoded into the video itself and permanent)
posted by cyanide at 12:12 AM on October 24, 2008

When you say "embedded subtitles" do you mean you want the subtitles included in the video stream? (That's known as "hardsubbing".) Or do you want a separate subtitle track which can be turned on and off?

Hardsubbing is more difficult, but it's also more portable. I'm not sure that AVIs played on VLC can support subtitle tracks. (Windows Media Player can do it, but the subtitles go into a separate text file in a special format.)
posted by Class Goat at 12:25 AM on October 24, 2008

Just in passing, the VOB files may be encrypted. If so, you'll need a decryptor. I use "SmartRipper" but there are several others around. None of them are quite legal, strictly speaking; all of them violate the DMCA. (But no one is being prosecuted for it.)
posted by Class Goat at 12:27 AM on October 24, 2008

What are you using to play the encoded file? Do you want it softsubbed or hardsubbed?

There are a few choices:

1) Softsub, video and subtitle go into separate files. This way you can turn off the subtitles as needed. Hardware support of subtitles is required, hence the first question. Most DVD players can do this nowadays and it definitely works on a computer.

2) Hardsub, video and subtitles into the same file. Subtitles are always present and cannot be switched off. Subtitles are visible on all hardware that can playback the file.

3) An intermediate option, encodes subtitle and video into one container file (usually mkv). You can have multiple subtitles and can switch these on/off. I'm not so sure of the compatibility of this option on standalone players.
posted by wei at 1:49 AM on October 24, 2008

.AVI is just a container format for codecs such as MPEG4, Theora, etc. You'll need to give us more info about what kind of AVI you want.
posted by holloway at 2:55 AM on October 24, 2008

Virtualdub is quite a useful utility for video conversion, see also VirtualDubMod which has a few added features, including Matroska support. Matroska is an alternative to the avi container, as mentioned above, but with more obvious support for subtitle streams. Another container format is ogg. All of these can be played by VLC.

There are quite a few tutorials out there for converting DVDs to divx, so that's probably a good place to start for more detailed instructions.
posted by kothar at 6:04 AM on October 24, 2008

Response by poster: Specifically, I want hardsubs, and the type of video file does not matter at all to me - I just want something most people can play back, and with hardsubs.

I am going to check out AutoGK - looks promising.

posted by pravit at 8:51 AM on October 24, 2008

AutoGK is definitely the right way to go. You just pick how you want the end file, and it tells VirtualDub what to do. Trying to set up VirtualDub manually can be a real pain in the overcomplicated behind for the inexperienced user.
posted by Sys Rq at 1:28 PM on October 24, 2008

AutoGK is overly complicated. I use a tool called DVDFab which is a ripper/encoder. Since your source is still in VOBs, it should be able to handle them.

Theres an option called direct render to video that will hardcode subs for you.
posted by wongcorgi at 3:37 PM on October 24, 2008

Response by poster: Handbrake worked! I did try AutoGK, but found that when it rendered the subtitles they wouldn't fit in the frame because the original video was so low resolution. Thanks!
posted by pravit at 11:06 PM on October 24, 2008

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