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I have a video in mp4 (MPEG-4) and I would like to add subtitles to it. What tool or application would you recommend to help me write and sync the subtitles with the video?

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I'd say this is the kind of thing iMovie should do. But I think it doesn't. –  Cawas Jun 14 '11 at 13:18
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6 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

An open-source, cross-platform solution is Jubler

I didn't try it, but it has a good amount of users on iusethis.

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It doesn't seem to work well on my system (Snow Leopard, if it matters). The application starts, and I'm able to load a video, but while trying to preview the application throws an "Abnormal player exit java.lang.NullPointerException" –  Juan A. Navarro Jun 14 '11 at 12:33
    
On a second try, I'm having some better luck with this app. First it seems that you need to have some particular version of mplayer installer, and then one has to click on preferences, wizard to have the program find the path to mplayer. If only the error message would be more informative the first time! Will update later if I have success using this app. –  Juan A. Navarro Jun 15 '11 at 9:18
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After some test drive of all the available options, I'm staying with this. The interface is decent, and it is easy not only to add subtitles, but also move them around and shift them a bit. Looking at the audio wave is also very useful to correctly put the subtitles in place. Not perfect, but definitely the most usable. Thanks! –  Juan A. Navarro Jun 24 '11 at 15:38
    
That looks very cool! I will have to give it a try when I have a chance. –  daviesgeek Nov 23 '11 at 17:36
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While I've never used this to create raw subtitles, here's the couple of programs I've tried for a similar purpose:

  • Subs Factory for creating the subtitles. I've actually used it to editing subtitles, but well.

  • Subler for embedding them into the mp4. I've used this once or twice about a year ago, and it did what I needed. And it's always good to see such a nice project is still active!

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Although Subs Factory has a very ugly interface, it does seem to be functional and I was able to quickly add a couple of subtitles to my video. My biggest problem with this app is that (for some bizarre reason) neither the meter nor the subtitle display work; so the only way to see if the subtitles appear at the appropriate moment is to save the subtitles file and then load both the video and subtitles in something like VLC. Not very good for a long-ish project! –  Juan A. Navarro Jun 14 '11 at 21:14
    
@Juan it is an ugly interface indeed, but I could see the subtitles appearing last time I've tried. Wondering what could be wrong there... –  Cawas Jun 14 '11 at 21:23
    
No idea either, I've sent an email to the developer and see if I have any luck. –  Juan A. Navarro Jun 15 '11 at 9:13
    
It works! Just got back an email from the developer: there is a small bug in which neither the counter not the subtitles work if you are editing a new subtitles script. If you close the app, load a video and some partial script then both meter and subtitles work correctly! Despite the horrible interface, this is perhaps the most functional of the alternatives (it just does what I want to do, easily); but I'll experiment a bit with all the suggestions before accepting an answer. –  Juan A. Navarro Jun 15 '11 at 18:56
    
@Juan I'm glad to know both that it worked despite such an annoying bug and the developer is so responsive! Thanks for the feedback. :) –  Cawas Jun 15 '11 at 19:03
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Sublime HD is great, but its price is just crazy - 230€

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I got the demo, this is good! It is precisely what I need but, indeed, the price is just crazy! I won't pay all that money just to subtitle one video for personal use! +1 for the effort. –  Juan A. Navarro Jun 14 '11 at 12:43
    
two hundred and freaking thirty euros?! I wonder how many copies they've sold and if it's more than a couple. –  Cawas Jun 14 '11 at 13:09
    
I guess that is the price if they expect to sell to professionals, not to hobbyists. –  GEdgar Jun 14 '11 at 17:55
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@GEdgar, c'mon, a brand new FinalCut Express is U$200 - which means it's cheaper to create the whole video than to add subtitles to it?! Still sounds like pushing too hard on the price. –  Cawas Jun 14 '11 at 21:19
    
and Avid is $2295.00 . –  GEdgar Jun 14 '11 at 23:50
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Never tried this, but is is cross-platform: http://www.aegisub.org/

After i read your comments - IMHO you will need:

  1. Make .srt subtitles in any tools what you can manage to work (timing)
  2. Optionally repair .srt files in any texteditor - skip this if not needed
  3. Test the .srt subtitles with VLC or Quicktime/Perian
  4. If everything is OK - embed subtitles into video with http://code.google.com/p/subler/
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Thanks for the recommendation. I tried, and it sort of works. But not quite. First it always crashed on start, then I managed to get it to start by disabling automatic updates. Now it works, but the interface is very strange and confusing. Anyway, probably I need to play a bit more with it. +1 for coming up with a suggestion, though. –  Juan A. Navarro Jun 14 '11 at 12:29
    
More problems with this app: for some reason it doesn't allow me to enter accented characters (áéíóú) in the subtitle edit box, making it pretty useless for me as I want to write spanish subtitles. I also couldn't figure out how to enter a new line in the subtitles (why is it so difficult??) –  Juan A. Navarro Jun 14 '11 at 21:05
    
as i told above - never tried the app, so sorry for the wrong suggestion. I think, the hardest thing on subtitling is the right timing. Editing the .srt .sub or like files is easy and can be done in any tex-editor, so if you can manage timing in the App, you can edit the text in the TextEdit.app. What type do you use? .srt? .sub? –  jm666 Jun 14 '11 at 21:17
    
What you suggest might be a good solution. Basically use Aegisub to get the timing right and then edit the file on a text editor to fix for special characters, etc. I'll play a bit with the suggestions posted here, and then give an update on which combination seemed to work the best. –  Juan A. Navarro Jun 15 '11 at 9:20
    
@Juan - just wondering about your final solution –  jm666 Jun 23 '11 at 13:14
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A little bit of digging around turned up Submerge from bitfield. I have not used it, but it looks pretty decent and is listed on Apples's Downloads site. bitfield also has an app named iSubtitle in the Mac App Store which appears to do the same thing.

iSubtitle is $19.99 in the Mac App Store, while Submerge is only $9 from bitfield's web site.

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Hmm.. neither of them seem to do what I need. Submerge and iSubtitle respectively add hard and soft-coded subtitles to a video file; but in either case they only work if I already have the subtitles file. Which I dont. I want an app that helps me create the subtitles file. –  Juan A. Navarro Jun 14 '11 at 12:26
    
Oh, I misunderstood. In that case, check out www.opensubtitles.org it's a great place to find crowdsourced subtitles. Also, you can use Vuze (FOSS) to automatically add subtitles to movies in the HD Player. You can drag in any video file to Vuze to play it in the HD Player, then hit the little subtitle icon in the controls bar of the video window and there is an option to add subtitles from a file you already have or to try and find the subtitles automagically from opensubtitles.org. –  freerangemonkey Jun 15 '11 at 4:05
    
Thanks for the suggestion, but this is a personal video; the subtitles of my video probably wont be available anywhere unless I type them first. –  Juan A. Navarro Jun 15 '11 at 9:16
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Not mentioned yet is Annotation Edit.

Probably not suitable at consumer level (€245), but at prosumer or professional level it is a good option. I've worked with it in a movie producing company and it delivered very well.

It has FinalCut integration (import/export) and works with tons of formats.

From the site:

zeitAnker Annotation Edit gives you a sophisticated interface to attribute and subtitle video or audio in very short time. Therefore we developed techniques hardly found elsewhere and took the chance to build a clean and extensible product from scratch.

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