Forced subtitles

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mkvgrub
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Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2009 3:32 pm

Forced subtitles

Post by mkvgrub » Mon Aug 05, 2019 5:09 pm

Hello.

I just searched the MakeMKV Mac forum for this, and find many posts about Handbrake and subtitles. While it'd be great if I could transcode the rip to iTunes compatible, all I really need is to rip a BD w/MakeMKV and have the needed forced subtitles while watching the rip in, say, Kodi.

An example is Thor: The Dark World. I either get the full English subtitles (w/sounds and actions) plus the forced ones, or absolutely no subtitles such that the Dark Elves' language translation (forced, I assume) is not shown. If I watch the BD on my Oppo 203 or my iMac, the elves' language is translated via subtitles without setting anything, so I know it's there.

Is there a simple selection in MakeMKV to get the elves' (and/or any other non-English) forced subtitles?

Thanks very much.

Woodstock
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Re: Forced subtitles

Post by Woodstock » Mon Aug 05, 2019 11:49 pm

Depends on how the disk was authored. While there exists a "forced" flag for subtitles, it is rarely used. I've only seen it used in one movie (Avatar), although I'm told there are others.

The most usual method is a separate track. And often the only way to find it is by ripping all of them, and watching the movie while switching tracks (VLC works for this). Star Wars movies use different tracks for different movies.
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mkvgrub
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Re: Forced subtitles

Post by mkvgrub » Tue Aug 06, 2019 4:01 pm

Thank you! I will try VLC.

One other question: while looking through the other threads I noticed some folks check both Subtitles & Forced Only, other(s) just check Forced Only. I'm guessing your answer is to check both?

Thanks again!

Woodstock
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Re: Forced subtitles

Post by Woodstock » Tue Aug 06, 2019 4:12 pm

While it is rare that the "forced only" flag is used, it doesn't hurt to look for it. If none are found, MakeMKV will delete the empty track from the MKV file.

I leave both checked all the time (it's actually in my selection rule to take ALL subtitle tracks). So far, the only result is that the "even numbered" subtitle tracks (the "Forced only" ones) disappear at the end, leaving just the oddest of tracks. :)
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mkvgrub
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Re: Forced subtitles

Post by mkvgrub » Tue Aug 06, 2019 5:44 pm

Thanks again!

mkvgrub
Posts: 31
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Re: Forced subtitles

Post by mkvgrub » Thu Aug 08, 2019 11:01 pm

Interesting development. VLC sure showed the 3 subtitles, and elimination I found the 3rd one is the "forced" subtitles (of course I started with 1 and went down...). I ripped the MKV with the 3rd subtitle selected, played the rip with VLC with the subtitle on, and it works. So I then attempted to convert the file to M4V with that subtitle on, but no joy w/VLC. I have an app called MacX Video Converter Pro which I tried next, and it does convert w/subtitle active, but the resulting file is <5GB compared with the MKV rip of 36GB, and the video definitely is not as good as playing the MKV.
Attempting with Handbrake now...

Woodstock
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Re: Forced subtitles

Post by Woodstock » Fri Aug 09, 2019 2:29 am

M4V (also known as MP4) does not support the PGS subtitles found on Bluray.

Handbrake is going to burn ONE subtitle track in, and the others will be ignored. It's a limitation of the container. Technically, MP4 doesn't support DVD subtitles, but there is a popular extension that some programs (including VLC, not including Quicktime) to add DVD subtitles to MP4s. But no such animal for PGS.
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mkvgrub
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Re: Forced subtitles

Post by mkvgrub » Fri Aug 09, 2019 2:52 am

Well, rats! I was hoping to be able to transfer the MKV rip w/subtitle 3 to my TiVo... doesn't work, the rip goes but no subtitle. What's amazing is that the (unaltered) MKV rips of the BDs of season 1 of The Agents of Shield actually have the "forced" subtitles (or translations of foreign languages) when transferred to the TiVo (as well as when playing via Kodi on my iMac).

Oh well, I'll either put up with the video degradation or just play the BD directly.

I really appreciate your taking the time to explain this.


Oh, one last question if you will. Is the shrinking of the original MKV rip from 36GB to ~5GB during conversion normal? Maybe I'm just "seeing" video degradation because I know the size is so much smaller?

Woodstock
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Re: Forced subtitles

Post by Woodstock » Fri Aug 09, 2019 3:59 pm

How much a file compresses depends on a LOT of things. How much motion, "noise" (like film grain), detail, etc, in the source, and how picky YOU are about the result. You can play with the settings in handbrake by picking a short section and encoding it with different settings, and view the result.

I'm currently ripping the TV show "House"; episodes that start at 8.7GB become just under 3GB, using a setting of RF=20 in handbrake. Lower RF, bigger file, closer to "original quality". Higher RF, smaller file, but more potential for compression artifacts in the file.

When I do anime, a 6GB episode shrinks to .8GB with the same RF=20.
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mkvgrub
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Re: Forced subtitles

Post by mkvgrub » Fri Aug 09, 2019 4:34 pm

OK. So Handbrake recommends 20-23 for HD. I made it 22, so I guess I'm fine.

Thanks again for your time and patience.

mattyj2001
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Re: Forced subtitles

Post by mattyj2001 » Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:46 am

A little late to the thread, but here's what I do.

Only pick the 'Forced' subtitle of the language you want to read 'foreign' subtitles in. There may be multiples.

After the MakeMKV rip, play the video in VLC and check the subtitle(s). If it only has one, you're golden. If it has multiple you need to figure out which is the real one. If you happen to know where the subtitles should be you can jump there. Or you can rip them out with something like BDSub2Sub and look at the actual text. The aforementioned Star Wars disks will usually have subtitles for the commentary thrown in there.

You can then use something like MKVTools to remove the unneeded tracks and/or mark the correct one as the default.

I don't re-encode so I'm done at this point, but if you re-encode with HandBrake you need to just select that subtitle track and it will burn it right into the output video.

Alternately, rip all the subtitle tracks you want and set the first Handbrake subtitle track to Foreign Audio Search (or whatever it's called, don't have it installed any more) and let Handbrake figure it out. It's pretty good about it but not perfect 100% of the time.

I used to use Kodi on the Xbox to play videos and it found this track just fine. Once I got into 4K and Kodi couldn't play the videos (not in 4K/UHD, anyway) I switched to Infuse on the Apple TV and it finds it fine, also. As does VLC. But if you re-encode with Handbrake you don't have to worry about it because you end up with zero subtitle tracks and your subtitles burned right into the video.

I have around 15 movies I've needed to rip this way and it worked fine for all of them except for the Bourne trilogy (UK) set I have. On one the English subtitles were already physically burned into the video track on the movie, and one another they English track was actually Japanese and I had to poke around to find the right one.

mkvgrub
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Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2009 3:32 pm

Re: Forced subtitles

Post by mkvgrub » Mon Sep 23, 2019 2:02 pm

Thanks for the help. I managed to do something similar to what you've recommended, if not exactly it, by using Woodstock's suggestions. I just wanted the forced English translations of foreign languages, and the VLC method works, at least with Spider Man Homecoming and Black Panther, but it doesn't transfer to my TiVo. Using MacX Video does transfer to the TiVo with the subtitles but it really compresses the rip. In future, I plan to connect my MacBook to my receiver via HDMI and use KODI to play MKV rips.

Chetwood
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Re: Forced subtitles

Post by Chetwood » Tue Sep 24, 2019 4:22 am

mattyj2001 wrote:
Mon Sep 23, 2019 7:46 am
Only pick the 'Forced' subtitle of the language you want to read 'foreign' subtitles in. There may be multiples.
Why? If there's a single stream with forced subs where none are flagged (like on prett all disks I rip) the resulting stream will come up empty, right?
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philb1701
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Re: Forced subtitles

Post by philb1701 » Fri Feb 21, 2020 11:38 am

Assuming that you are not trying to transcode a UHD mkv file, Handbrake should solve your subtitle problems.
First off, check to make sure the subtitles you want are turned on in makemkv before you rip the media.
Then once you get the mkv file, do the transcoding in Handbrake. It will let you turn on or off any subtitle files its sees. If it doesn't recognize the subtitle file you want, then all bets are off.

I've been using Handbrake for non-UHD transcoding for years and have had no significant issues other then conversion time. It's usually 2 or 3 to 1. File sizes after you are done will vary wildly, mostly dependent on the compression of the original file itself. I think the largest non-UHD transcode I got was for Hitchcock's Marnie, which came in at a whopping 21.25 GB! It's an older movie, so I suspect the compression was pretty light.

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