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Posts: 364
Joined: Wed Jan 01, 2014 12:27 pm
Location: Spain

subtitle formats and cultural differences

Thu May 26, 2022 12:40 pm


I wanted to share some thoughts. There are here a lot of messages dealing
withh concrete problems or issues. That's OK but I wanted to do some
general talking. I wanted to talk about principles and more general

And this is about subtitle formats. From what I understand there are
like 5 or 6 different formats. By far the most used is SRT (SubRip)
followed by SSA/ASS (Substation Alpha) and SUB (MicroDVD). I think a
good classification of these would be time-based formats and
frame-based formats. Most formats are time-based (SRT, SSA, SMI) with
SUB being almost the only one using frames for synchronisation.

What is better? Like always, it is a matter of taste, but frame-based
formats have a clear advantage: they don't go out-of-sync when you
change the exhibition FPS. The main cause of out-of-sync subtitles is
PAL-speedup. Motion pictures are typically shot on film at 24 frames
per second. When telecined and played back at PAL's standard of 25
frames per second, films run about 4% faster. Frame-based formats like
SUB avoid this problem.

And finally, the SAMI case. This is kind of funny because I've never
seen a SMI for a language that's not Korean. I wonder why this is. No,
let me correct myself. Recently I found a Swedish subtitle in SMI what
really surprised me. If the format is SMI it's Korean with a
probability of 99%. And if it is Korean there's a probability of 90%
that it is SMI (just guessing here). I wonder why this format exists
at all. It adds nothing but verbosity, duplicating the storage needs
in comparison with the corresponding SRT. Luckily they are compressed.

Something similar happens with those TMP and Polish.

Of course you cannot impose the use of a certain format but please,
stop using those one-country/one-language formats. Tnank God
there is no Spain-only format. Or France, or Romania...

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