A lot of filmmakers are not from english spoken countries. That is why they have to subtitle their films with at least english subtitles if they want to submit to international film festivals.

This articel will give you an overview of tools that can be used for encoding a subtitled version of your film.

If you have already a subtitled DVD of your film you have two alternative tools:

  1. handbrake is a freeware encoding tool for video files and DVDs. If your DVD contains at least one subtitle track you can choose one of it to ‘burned in’ these subtitles into your film file.  (see How to prepare a DVD or film file with handbrake).
  2. DVDx is also freeware and is available for Windows and MAC as well for Linux. This tool from labDV is able to encode video-DVDs into several video formats (.mov / .mp4 and .mpeg and so on) with intergrated subtitles if available on DVD. We suggest you use the following tutorial copy DVD to Apple QT video with the settings as follows -  format:.mov / video codec: h.264 / audio codec: aac (mpeg 4) / at ‘fair quality’ (selectable in Configure…)  / and select the desired subtitle track.

Our recommendation is to use handbrake first!


Do you have no subtitled DVD or any subtitled version of your film?

  1. First of all you need an english translation of your film – please note that english subtitles are mandatory for non-english dialogues if you want to submit your work to international film festivals.
  2. Time your subtitles according to your film file and create a valid subtitle file like SRT or SSA ( standard formats). This is possible with the following freeware software: DivXLand Media Subtitler (only Windows) and Jubler (Linux, MAC, Windows). These tools are self explanatory but there is also a guide for DivXLand Media Subtitler. If you don’t want to use these tools you can embed subtitles in your film file just as well with your video editor by inserting text in your film project (works with every common video editing software).
  3. If you use DivXLand Media Subtitler or Jubler you have to merge your film file and subtitle file together. For this last step you need VobSub (only windows / freeware) or MKVtoolnix (Linux, MAC, Windows / freeware). You will find a lot of tutorials on the linked pages for these tools.
    Another way to render subtitles into an avi file has been provided by VirtualDub. Tutorial about embedding diverse subtitle file formats into an avi file  by using the tools VirtualDub (subtitler filter) and DivXLand Media Subtitler  (both only available for windows / freeware).
    We just mentioned handbrake above. This tool is also able to add external srt or sub files as hard-subbed subtitles (seen anytime on the film file) or soft subtitles (selectable in almost every common player). Just follow the instructions explained in How to use handbrake to attach a subtitle file to a movie.

If you have anything to add or another tool or software I forgot to list, please don’t hesitate to write a comment.


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