Subtitling Multiple Language Streams from VOB to MP4

Subtitling Multiple Streams from VOB to MP4

This is my tutorial on my own workflow for doing subtitling, and how to add your own subtitles to a movie. It is also a workflow for converting DVD (.VOB) files to MP4 and displaying multiple subtitle streams simultaneously on the end movie for studying languages on the computer or with your iPod, PDA, PSP, MP4, or other portable device.

I use this to add Pinyin to movies, as well as to add my own, more Literal, English translations, but you could also use it for correcting subtitles, displaying multiple languages (such as french, Spanish, and English) at the same time for study and comparison, or even for adding your own commentary or study notes to your movies, by replacing the original subtitles, or by displaying them in addition to the original subtitles, etc.. It has many educational applications for studying any language.

Most common uses may be for people with MP4 or AVI files they have downloaded and wish to create study material. Or to convert their DVD’s to portable format with multiple subtitles displayed for study. There can be as many subtitle streams displayed as you would like, but generally speaking, two on the top and two on the bottom would suffice..

(This Tutorial assumes the DVD is PAL, 25 fps (frames per second) , as used in China, Asia, and Europe; It has never been tested on the North American NTSC system which runs at 29.97 fps, but it is assumed that, in each step below, you would simply enter 29.97 as the fps instead of 25)

Tools I use: 

1. Subrip (free)

2. eRightsoft’s “Super (free)

3. TitleLab (free)

4. QuickTime Pro (not free, but very worth getting) 

5. DVDdecrypter – needed if you have copy-protected disks, (also free)

Step 1. Rip the DVD to your hard disk

a. – explore the DVD contents then open the “VIDEO_TS” folder

b. – find the first file over 1GB in size, for example “VTS_01_1.VOB”

c. – select it and all of the files after that file :

* you dont need any files before the largest one (for example VTS_01_0.VOB or VTS_01_0.IFO), but you do need the .IFO file with same name as your first big file (e.g. VTS_01_1.IFO)

** you also do not need anything with different first VTS numbers, (for example VTS_02_1.VOB)

d. – put them all into a folder on your hard disk drive, which has alot of free space, and name the folder the same name as the movie.

*** if you have a copy-protected DVD, then you will need to use the freeware “DVDdecrypter” to rip the Files to your hard disk drive before you begin the rest of this tutorial

Step 2. Rip the subtitle streams from the VOB files

a. – open Subrip (its freeware you can download from many places online)
b. – select the first large DVD VOB file (VTS_01_1.VOB for example)
c. – select the matching IFO file (VTS_01_1.IFO)

* if there is no IFO file with the same name as your first largest VOB file, then your subtitles are hard-coded (non-extractable).

** However, if your subtitles are only in Chinese or only in English and it matches the talking in the movie accurately, and you would like to add Chinese or English (or any other language) subtitles of your own for study, you may download subtitles for movies online. If your movie has bad subtitles hard-coded onto it, the bad subtitles cannot be removed, and the good subtitles will have to be put either on the top of the screen, or on a black box covering the bad subtitles (and the lower portion of your movie)

d. – Use Subrip’s OCR (Optical Character Recognition) to recognize the subtitles contained in the IFO. You must enter each character in the movie only once, (for example A, a B, b, 1, 2, !, ?, etc..) and after that, the OCR will remember the character throughout the rest of the movie’s subtitle track. If it doesn’t recognize something correctly, you have the option to manually type it in
e. – Once finished, save the OCR that was just learned as a template for future use.
f. – under options, select: the following:

~ “Extend Format (with picture coordinates)
~No color tags

g. – Save the file as an .SRT file, the default encoding is fine, if you run into problems with some languages, you may want to try Unicode encoding. the default worked fine for Chinese..

h. – Repeat this process with every language stream that you wish to extract from the movie. Then save each SRT under a folder with the name of the language which it contains

Step 3. Subtitle Customization/ Alteration

a. – Open the .SRT by right clicking on the file and selecting “open with” from the cursor drop-down menu, and choose to open it with “notepad.exe”

You will now see all of the words and lines with built-in timecodes

b. – you may simply make a copy the SRT, then keep the timecodes and type in your own notes for learning, or in my case, I change the Chinese to Pinyin, or my own translation of the English meaning which may be more accurate than the translation that comes with the movie, or English which is easier for me to understand in relation to the the Chinese that is being spoken, or better for my studies, etc.. I may want the original English as well as my own English on the movie at the same time, or on a different version of the movie for advanced study

Step 4. Super – Convert: 

a . – Using eRightsoft’s freeware movie conversion tool, “Super”, select all the .VOB’s you have ripped to your harddrive, and drag them into the super work area box
b. – we are going to convert the VOB files to .MOV files, using the H.264/AVC codec
c. – select MOV as the output container
d. – select H.264/AVC as the output video codec
e. – select AAC LC as the output audio codec
f. – under VIDEO options, in “Video scale size” select “no change”
g. – under frames/sec, select 25fps
h. – under AUDIO select “Stream Copy”
i. – click “Encode”, default save directory can first be changed by right-clicking super and going to save options, otherwise it is saved in the default installation directory on the drive you installed the software, at (D):\program files\eRightsoft\Super\Output

Step 5. Combine movies in QuickTime Pro, (VOB Splicing)

a. – open the first new MOV files with QuickTime Pro (e.g. VTS_01_1.VOB.MOV)
b. – go to File>New Player>Open> and select the second one, (e.g. VTS_01_2.VOB.MOV)
c. – in the second movie, go to Edit>Select All
d. – then, go to Edit>Copy
e. – now go to the first VTS clip (e.g. VTS_01_1.VOB.MOV) and go to Edit>Select All, then go to Edit>’Add to Selection and Scale’
f. -then close the second clip and open the 3rd, leaving the first window open, and repeat with the third and fourth clips the same, Using “select all” then “add to selection and scale” on each one, consecutively, onto the first movie each time, be sure not to get the order wrong.

Step 6. TitleLab: 

TitleLab is a freeware program that can convert SRT’s to QuickTimeText Files

a. – Open the SRT in TitleLab of the Language you want to add fist, Chinese, for example
b. – in the “Styles” tab, in “font” choose the Chinese font you want to use
c. – select the font size, around 50 perhaps, Bold, Outline (no shadow), and select a color, then select “change” to apply the changes
d. – in the “Settings” tab, select “Keyed”, and “Anti-alias” (Anti-alias means there will be some dithering between the font color and the back ground, rather than a hard line, the pixels will fade out gradually, giving it a softer, smoother look ). Do not select a drop shadow, it is not useful for subtitling
e. – Save as a QT Text file
f. – repeat that process with each subtitle stream you want to add to the movie

Step 7. Combine the subtitles and the QuickTime Movie: 

a. – open the QT text subtitles in QuickTime, by going to File>Open File
b. – go to Edit>Select All, then Edit>Copy,
c. – go to the movie file window and select Edit>Select All, then go to Edit>’Add to Selection and Scale’
d. – Repeat that process with all subtitles you wish to add to the movie , remember these will be hard-coded onto the final movie and cannot be removed or turned off
e. – once they are all in the movie, go to Window>Show Movie Properties
f. – select each subtitle one by one, and adjust the position in the window, so that they are not overlapping, center them, move them up/ down etc, until they all fit on the screen (you can do this with as many subtitles as you like, which is very important for studying, they will all be displayed at the same time)

Step 8: Export the Final Movie

a. – select File>Export…
b. – Export the Movie to MPEG-4, choose “options”, select “AAC LC Audio”, and 25fps

*Quicktime is highly WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get), meaning anything shown in the video window will be burned into the final movie, including fast 2X play, or muted sound, etc.. so be careful!

And there you have it! You now have a file that can play on any iPod, PDA, PSP, or any MP4 player, with all of your personalized subtitles burned on

if you dont need to alter your subtitles, you can skip step 3. Or, if you would like to do this with your own MP4 or AVI movie, you can just rip or download your subtitles and alter them as in step 3, then go right to steps 6, 7, and 8… Quicktime supports most universal formats, but converting the DVD’s VOB files to Quicktime’s native MOV format is important for seamless splicing of the seperate VOB files into one continuous movie, and allows QuickTime to work in its native format for the best possible end results, when converting DVD’s to MP4’s. Again, if you already have one continuous movie, you dont need to convert anything before adding the subtitles. If by chance Quicktime doesnt support your format due to container or codec incompatibility issues, use SUPER to convert your movie to a MOV or other compatible file, first.

remember that each time you convert your movie, it will loose quality, so try to start with a DVD-9 if possible, for your studies.. if you need to convert your files, to another format, be sure you keep the movie as large as possible until the final conversion.

you can also make different versions of the same movie for studying.. such as one with all chinese and english, one with english and some chinese hints and interpretations, and another one with only the english, or english and spanish and french all displayed together, for comparing and learning; and also so you can choose to watch each different version you create based on your current study level (e.g. once you have leaned a movie pretty well, you may want to remove some of the chinese subtitles and instead switch to hints in chinese, or to another version you have created)

If you have any problems or questions, let me know

There are many subtitle websites that have the subtitles for most Hollywood or other movies, including many English subtitles for Chinese movies; and many other languages as well, in case you are interested in studying any of these languages other than English. Also, those subtitles will need to be imported into TitleLab as in step 6 above and exported as QuickTime Text files, at 25fps. Some subtitles you download from the internet may be set at a different frame rate, or a slightly different start/stop time than your movie. When you add the subtitles to the Quicktime movie, go through the movie at some beginning middle and end points to check that the lyrics are timed with the voices throughout the movie. If you find they are out of sync, return to TitleLab and adjust the offset times, or start and end times, until you get it synced up perfectly.throughout the movie

Subtitle Sites

Multi Language: – Bollywood/Indian subtitles – Subtitles mainly in Eastern
European Languages – Eastern Languages, English – Bulgarian, English – Checz, English (registration required!) – Checz, English

Bulgarian Language:

Czech Language:

Chinese Language:

Dutch Language:

German Language:

English Language: – Subtitles for various language – English subtitles for Asian movies

Finnish Language:

French Language:

Hebrew Language:

Hungarian Language:

Polish Language:

Portuguese Language:

Romanian Language:

Russian Language:

Spanish Language: – Spanish subtitles for Asian movies (registration required!)

Swedish Language:

Turkish Language:

Disclaimer and Rights to Usage:
This process is “Intellectual Property” and belongs to my brain. My brain demands money from you if you use this process. Each time you use it, you shall pay me a royalty fee of 10% of the cost of the computer or hand-held device you are using, the cost of your shoes, or $1,000, whichever is higher. If you really enjoyed it, you shall pay 25% of the cost of your education or $2,000, whichever is higher. If you conceive a child while watching a movie made with this process, your child shall pay me 30% of his gross earnings once he or she grows up and gets a job, for life. If you fail to comply with these rules, or try to think of something on your own, we will promptly remove your brain and place it in cryogenic stasis for a period of no less than 500 years or until copyright laws change, whichever is longer, for violating intellectual patents and copyrights.

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