CaptionMaker 6.4 User Guide
Subtitles are text that appears on a video or in a movie and typically contains only a
translation of the dialogue, usually because the dialogue is in a foreign language, or
because the dialogue was difficult to hear clearly. Unlike captions, subtitles usually do
not convey non-dialogue sounds such as background noise, sound effects, or music
cues, because it is presumed that the viewer is able to hear them. Subtitles have fewer
rules and limitations than closed captions, and generally have more fonts, styles, and
colors available to choose from.
Subtitles can be burned into the video so they can't be turned off. This is called "open
subtitles", "burn-in subtitles" or "hard subtitles," and is used when the subtitles must
always be available, such as when translating foreign language dialogue for a general
audience. This is also useful when working with a video format or player that doesn't
support soft subtitles or closed captions.
Some formats, such as DVD, Blu-ray, many web-based players, and a few other video
formats, can contain one or more tracks of subtitles which can be selected and turned
on or off by the player. This is called "soft subtitles" or "separate subtitles".
Subtitle tracks which contain non-verbal audio cues and mimic the look and feel of
closed captions are called "SDH" (Subtitles for the Deaf and Hard of Hearing) tracks.
SDH tracks are often used to emulate closed captions on formats that don't support
closed captioning due to technical limitations, such as Blu-ray.
Just as closed captions can exist embedded in a video file or in a separate sidecar file,
there are several ways you can export subtitles:
Burn-in. This permanently combines the subtitles and the video. They can't be
turned off, but you never have to worry about whether they will work or not.
Overlay for Later Burn-in. If you're working with a video editor that wants to burn-
in the subtitles, you can send them an overlay file. They put the overlay into their
NLE system and render the burn-in video from there. This way, the captioner
doesn't need the full resolution master video from the editor.
DVD/Blu-ray. Several prosumer and professional software packages for authoring
DVD and Blu-ray discs can accept subtitle files. In this case the viewer can turn the
subtitle tracks on or off. The type of file to export depends on which authoring soft-
ware is being used to author the DVD or Blu-ray.
For information about subtitle export see Exporting Subtitles in the Exporting /