About subtitles in DVD projects

Subtitles generally translate the audio track, but also can be used to supplement the video, such as by providing captions, lyrics, hints, or different perspectives. Some designers create simple graphics by using subtitle image files to add pointers or to mask, highlight, or overlay areas.

You can type subtitles directly into a timeline or the Monitor panel, or import subtitles using scripts. Subtitle scripts can contain the subtitle text or can reference image files. Keep in mind the following information:

  • Each screen of subtitles appears as a separate clip in the timeline, including subtitles you type in the Monitor panel.

  • A timeline can include up to 32 subtitle tracks for standard, fullscreen video, and 16 subtitle tracks for widescreen video. However, a DVD or Blu‑ray player can play only one subtitle track at a time.

  • Subtitles are not incorporated into the video stream. Each track becomes a separate overlay, making it possible to display any one of the subtitle tracks over the same video.

  • Subtitles are subpictures and have the same restrictions.

  • Subtitles are limited to three colors, which map to the stroke, the fill, and partial anti-aliasing of the characters.

  • You define the colors used in subtitles in a timeline color set.

  • For Blu-ray projects that have video sizes larger than or equal to 1280x720, the gap between subtitle clips must be at least 5 frames.

Note:

You may not be able to burn the Blu-ray project if the subtitle clips are placed without this gap.

Create subtitles manually

Using the Monitor panel, you can step through your video and type subtitles where needed. Just as when you type text on a menu, you can enter subtitle text either freely or constrained to a bounding box. If you first create a bounding box for the subtitles, the lines of text automatically wrap to the next line when they reach the edge of the box. You can resize the box to reflow the text. If you enter subtitles without a bounding box, the text is not constrained, and you must use the Enter key to break the text between lines.

  1. Open the timeline to which you want to add a subtitle.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • To add a new subtitle track, choose Timeline > Add Subtitle Track.

    • To add subtitles to an existing track, click the Track Selector (to the left of the subtitle track name) of the desired subtitle track.

  3. Choose Window > Monitor to open the Monitor panel, and click the Show Safe Area button to display the safe area guides.

  4. In the timeline, drag the current-time indicator to the first frame in which you want to add a subtitle.

  5. Click either the Horizontal or Vertical Text tool.

    The pointer changes to an I‑beam within a dotted box. The small horizontal line near the bottom of the I‑beam marks the position of the baseline, the line on which the type rests.

  6. In the Monitor panel, do one of the following:

    • Drag the I‑beam pointer to define the bounding box for the subtitle.

    • Position the baseline of the I‑beam pointer where you want the subtitle to begin, and click to set the entry point for the type. The insertion point appears.

    • Click the Add Subtitle button at the bottom of the Monitor panel, which opens an empty box with blue corner handles.

  7. In the Character panel, select the type attributes and alignment options you want for this subtitle. You don’t set the color for the subtitle text here, however. That is determined by the Highlight Group you specify in the Properties panel, which is based on a timeline color set. 

  8. In the Monitor panel, click in the text box and type the desired text.

    Note:

    To reposition the subtitle text, hold down the Ctrl key (Windows) or Command key (Mac OS) to temporarily activate the Move tool, and drag the text as needed. When you release the Ctrl or Command key, the text tool becomes active again.

  9. Click the Selection tool to exit text editing mode and select the subtitle clip in the timeline and the Monitor panel.

  10. To change subtitle properties of the selected clip, set options in the Properties panel. (See Set subtitle properties.)

  11. Move the current-time indicator to the next frame to which you want to add a subtitle, and continue adding subtitles.

    Note:

    When you click the Add Subtitle button  in the Monitor panel, the new subtitle matches the same character and paragraph attributes as the previous subtitle on the track.

    You can place only one text box per clip. You cannot place subtitles in separate areas of the frame unless the text is all within the same bounding box.

Set subtitle properties

  1. In the timeline, select a subtitle clip.

    Note:

    To preview changes as you make them, make sure the current-time indicator is located over the selected subtitle clip in the timeline and the subtitle track is selected.

  2. Change any of the following options in the Properties panel:

    • Choose the desired color group from the Highlight menu.

    • Set the desired width option from the Stroke menu. The stroke outlines the type to increase the contrast and improve readability.

    • Change the duration of the subtitle. (See Change the display time of subtitles.)

    • In the Alignment box, type a value from 0% to 100% and press Enter. For horizontal text, 0% aligns the text with the top of the bounding box, 100% aligns it with the bottom, and 50% aligns it with the horizontal center of the bounding box.

Edit, reformat, or move subtitles

You can edit subtitles that you typed in Encore or imported from a text subtitle script. You can modify either individual clips, a range of clips, or all the clips on a track.

Subtitle text is either constrained to a bounding box or typed in freely. (Subtitles that you import using a text subtitle script are placed in bounding boxes.) If text is constrained to a bounding box, you can change the line breaks by resizing the bounding box. If text is typed freely, you must manually change the line breaks.

Note:

Subtitles imported from an image-based script cannot be changed because they are imported as rendered images instead of text.

  1. Open the timeline containing the subtitle you want to change.

  2. Make sure that the Track Selector on the track you want to edit is selected, and then select the subtitle clip.

  3. Choose Window > Monitor to open the Monitor panel.

  4. In the timeline, move the current-time indicator over the selected clip. You do not need to land on the first frame in which the clip appears; anywhere within the clip is fine.

    Note:

    To select all the subtitles on a track to make global changes (such as changing the font or color group), double-click the track name. Then make the desired changes in the Character or Properties panel. To select several subtitle clips, either Shift-click the desired clips in the track or drag a selection box around them.

  5. Do any of the following:

    • To edit the subtitle, using the appropriate text tool, click an insertion point in the text or highlight the words you want to change. Then, type the new or replacement text.
    • To restyle the text, using the appropriate text tool, highlight the words you want to change. Then, select the type attributes you want for the text in the Character panel.
    • To reflow the subtitle, using the appropriate text tool, click an insertion point in the text. Then, place the cursor over a handle of the bounding box. When the cursor changes to a double-headed arrow, drag the handle to resize the bounding box. The text reflows as necessary to fit the new bounding box dimensions. (If you do not see a bounding box after you click an insertion point, you entered the text freely without a bounding box. You must manually change line endings in free-flow text.)

    Note: Be sure to use a text tool when resizing the text block. If you drag a bounding box handle using a selection tool, it scales the text as if it were an object and the text does not reflow.

    • To reposition the subtitle, click a selection tool, and place the cursor over the subtitle text. When the cursor changes to a black arrow, drag the subtitle to the desired location in the Monitor panel.
    • To change the color group, stroke weight, or alignment, click a selection tool, and select the clip in the timeline. Then, change the appropriate option in the Properties panel. (These properties apply to the entire clip, not to individual characters.)
  6. Move the current-time indicator to the next subtitle you want to edit, select the subtitle clip, and repeat the previous step.

    Note:

    To move the current-time indicator and select a subtitle clip at the same time, click the Next Clip or Previous Clip button in the subtitle track, or use the Previous Subtitle or Next Subtitle button in the Monitor panel.

Automatically fix subtitle frame gaps for Blu-ray discs

Adjusts the gap separating consecutive subtitle clips in a timeline to five frames if the gap is less than five frames.

Encore displays an error if the gap between any two subtitle clips in a timeline is less than five frames. The Auto Fix Subtitle Frame Gaps feature automatically resizes one or both the flanking clips in a manner that the gap separating them is five frames.

However, the feature does not resize subtitle clips shorter than 12 frames in duration. In this case, fix the problem manually. Use the feature for all timelines on blu-ray discs, except for timelines with frame dimensions 720x480.

To use Auto Fix Subtitle Frame Gaps:

  1. Right-click a problematic subtitle clip.

  2. From the context menu, choose Fix Gaps

Note:

Fixing gaps is not required for DVDs. You can successfully burn Encore projects on a DVD even if the gap between any two subtitle clips is less than five frames.

Change the display time of subtitles

Subtitles that you import into a timeline come with preset start and end times. When you create subtitles in Encore, the default duration is initially set to 2 seconds. You can change the display time by shortening or lengthening a subtitle clip in the Timeline Viewer, using the Trim Subtitle buttons in the Monitor panel, or by editing the Duration value in the Properties panel.

Note:

To change the default duration for subtitles, choose Edit > Preferences > Timelines (Windows) or Encore > Preferences > Timelines (Mac OS), enter a length of time for the Subtitle Duration, and click OK.

Change the display time of a subtitle using the Timeline Viewer

  1. Open the timeline containing the subtitles you want to change.

  2. To view your edits in the Monitor panel, make sure that the Track Selector (next to the track name) is selected on the subtitle track you want to change and the current-time indicator is over the subtitle clip.

  3. Click a selection tool (either is fine), and position the pointer over the beginning or end of the subtitle that you want to adjust. The pointer changes to a red bracket with a double-sided arrow.

  4. Drag the end of the subtitle to the desired frame to increase or decrease its length. As you drag, the Monitor panel displays the current frames so that you can judge where to position the clip’s new start or end point.

    Note:

    You can’t increase the length of a subtitle unless there are empty frames adjacent to it.

Change the display time of a subtitle using the Monitor panel

  1. Open the timeline containing the subtitles you want to change.

  2. Make sure that the Track Selector (next to the track name) is selected on the subtitle track you want to change.

  3. Select the clip you want to change.

  4. Move the current-time indicator to the frame where you want the new In point or Out point to be.

  5. In the Monitor panel, click either the Trim Subtitle In Point To Here button  or the Trim Subtitle Out Point To Here button .

Change the display time of a subtitle using the Properties panel

  1. Open the timeline containing the subtitles you want to change.

  2. Make sure that the Track Selector (next to the track name) is selected on the subtitle track you want to change.

  3. Select the clip you want to change.

  4. In the Properties panel, specify a different Duration, In-Point, or Out-Point value.

    If you change the Duration value, the Out-Point value increases or decreases, depending on whether you increased or decreased the duration. If you change the In-Point value, the Out-Point value changes automatically. If you change the Out-Point value, the In-Point value changes automatically.

Change the default display time of subtitles

  1. Choose Edit > Preferences > Timelines (Windows) or Encore > Preferences > Timelines (Mac OS).

  2. For Subtitle Duration, type the number of seconds you want subtitles to display, and then click OK.

    Encore changes the display time of all new subtitles. Existing subtitles remain unchanged.

Duplicate entire track of subtitles

After you create the first set of subtitles for a timeline, you can duplicate the entire track and use it like a template for other languages you need to create. Before you duplicate the track, make sure the subtitles are adjusted properly for each scene. This way, you need to change only the content of each subtitle. All other attributes, such as location in the scene, duration, font, formatting, color and position, will match the original set.

  1. Click the track header of the subtitle track to duplicate.

  2. Choose Edit > Duplicate.

Export subtitle

You can export subtitle tracks as text files. You can reimport the text files into your projects.

  1. Do one of the following:

  • Select Timeline > Export Subtitles > Text Script.

  • Right-click on the subtitle track and choose Export Subtitles.

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