July 22, 2009

How to integrate subtitles to a video quickly and neatly

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I am a movie freak. And I know many of you also are. I love to see hi-res DVD and Bluray films on my laptop but many films does not have subtitles and it sometimes gives me hard times to grope up that important word. That’s why I download proper subtitles from OpenSubtitles, AllSubs, DivXSubtitles, etc. There are times when subtitles become inevitable when you watch movies in languages you don’t know.

Here, I am going to show you how to integrate the downloaded subtitles seamlessly and quickly to your video file. The point here is, we are not going to encode the video by hardcoding the subtitles on it. This will degrade the quality of the video and the subtitles will look jagged and tacky. We will use a tool called MKVToolnix to overlay the subtitles onto the video. So first, download MKVToolnix, install it and run it.

1) Drag and drop the movie file in the ‘Input files:’ box. Then, drag and drop the downloaded subtitle file into it.

2) The subsequent box will show the video, audio and subtitle tracks individually. You can keep or remove any of them by selecting/deselecting the checkbox. But you don’t want to do that. Keep everything checked. Once you click on the individual track (say, video) the ‘General track options’ will become active. Set those preferences accordingly. (See the image below)

Note: Set the ‘Default track flag’ to ‘yes’ for all tracks. This will enable subtitles (and ofcourse, video and audio too) to display by default.

3) The next step is to set the destination for the output. Note that the file thus generated will be a .mkv file. Click on ‘Start muxing’ button. For a movie size ranging from 700MB to 1.5GB, it will take upto a maximum of 5 minutes on a decent computer with 1GHz or more processor.

Now you can enjoy the film with decent looking subtitles. The best part is that the video does not get encoded which saves the quality of the video and the muxing time. This is what the final output will look like:

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