subs on AVI?
February 23, 2009 12:16 AM   Subscribe

Two-part question about subtitles and DVD-to-AVI conversions: 1) How do I, using open-source software, "hard-burn" a subtitle file onto an AVI from a DVD source? 2) Even better, is there a video player that can load and display subtitle files to an avi format? What software & subtitle formatting should I be using? Extra points all around if your solutions handle Mandarin without encoding hitches.

This would, if we can peg it down, revolutionize our translation workflow and save my organization innumerable hours of volunteer labor. We organize a film festival in Beijing, and currently, here's our translation workflow process:
1) Receive DVD from filmmaker
2) Convert to AVI for volunteer translators (and to avoid sub timing problems)
3) Receive finished subtitle file
4) Remux subtitle file back into DVD format
5) Burn & deliver DVD's to venues on show night and hope their players can handle our burns (or go to venue an extra time before show night to test)

If we could stamp out the remuxing phase, we can do one conversion to lossless AVI, and then play the lossless AVI on show night.
AND, we can avoid the headache of dealing with films that aren't English or Mandarin (we're in China and get movies from all over the world), because while we need to burn the discs to AVI for sub timing, we have a hard time importing English subtitles. For those we either have to find a native speaker of the languages concerned (and try to find a Dutch volunteer in Beijing who'll sit with you for 3 days while you attempt to translate his English explanations of dialogue into Chinese, just try it) or run a pesky time-consuming dual-machine setup.

Any answers would be much appreciated, and would save us tons of sleep deprivation this week as we approach the festival!
posted by saysthis to Computers & Internet (6 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Pretty well all of the open source players will display subtitles in the way that you want. Personally, I use GOM Player, which is free but not open source. VLC Player is the best of the Open Source players IMO.

When I hard-code subtitles into AVI's, I'll use the VOBsub filters in conjunction with VirtualDub. Both free, both really to use. Here's a brief HOW-TO:

For converting AVI back to DVD, there are plenty of freeware solutions. Avi-to-DVD, for example. The same goes for DVD to AVI. DVDFlick works well.

The guides and articles at Afterdawn, Videohelp or Doom9 really cover everything you ever needed to know on these topics.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 1:06 AM on February 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

Best answer: KMPlayer is the answer to (2). You can load & display multiple subtitles at once. Have each of them placed on the screen wherever you wish, including beneath the video image, so no overlapping. Align the subs vertically, for instance. Also assign custom fonts to each subtitle stream ..etc etc.

I should also add that I think KMPlayer, in general, is better than VLC.

(OK, that should be enough. KMPlayer devs, I'm checking my Paypal) j/k
posted by Gyan at 3:51 AM on February 23, 2009 [1 favorite]

AutoGK has the ability to "burn" subtitles onto the .avi file when converting from a DVD. I don't recall if it's a lossless solution, though. Don't know if it handles Mandarin subs, either.
posted by jabberjaw at 4:51 AM on February 23, 2009

I have had good success using DVD flick. See instructions here:
posted by 1-2punch at 6:08 AM on February 23, 2009

Best answer: Pretty sure that KMPlayer isn't Open Source, Gyan. But I am impressed by how good it has become. I'm currently trialing it, with a view to dumping GOM.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:27 AM on February 24, 2009

Response by poster: KMPlayer's done it! We've been using that every night at the festival for a week now, and it's saved us innumerable headaches. Thanks!
posted by saysthis at 3:13 PM on March 7, 2009

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