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manfromearth
Posts: 59
Joined: Sun May 14, 2017 8:15 pm

Seeking "Man From Earth" subtitlers!

Sun May 14, 2017 8:37 pm

Hi -
In 2007 I directed and produced "Jerome Bixby’s The Man from Earth". About a week before it was to be released on DVD, a copy appeared online and was widely shared. It became an Internet sensation, with millions of people downloading & sharing it; even now, ten years later, thousands of people still download & stream the movie daily.

I saw quickly that the movie’s fans were so motivated that they took it upon themselves to create subtitles in their own languages, so that people sharing the movie around the world could watch it and understand every word. It seems that people do this for free... I guess they are all part of an international subtitle sharing community.

Now it's 2017, and I am nearing completion on a sequel, entitled "The Man from Earth: Holocene". It is my plan to use current technology to make sure that people everywhere on the planet can stream and download the movie on the same day, for a small reasonable fee. We also plan to release the movie for free on a "pay what you will” honor system, and we will be the first ones to upload it for torrenting on that basis.

In order to do this most effectively, I want to offer the movie with as many subtitled versions as possible, and that's why I'm posting here: How can I most effectively contact the subtitles creators, and ask them to craft subtitles for the new film? I can't really pay them anything more than a token, but I was hoping they might do it out of affection for the first film, and out of a desire to be the "first person on the block" to see the new movie.

What do you think?

Thank you very much,
Richard Schenkman


[Edit SmallBrother]

ADVICE
Any translator who wants to join in, do not contact directly and do not provide any personal information.
Just reply to this topic and I (admin SmallBrother) will guide you.

UPDATE (10-Oct-2017)
- We have created a forum section dedicated to this project. Access to this section is restricted to people joining this project.
- A step-by-step tutorial and guidelines are available.
- For translations, we have an English subtitle file available, with all synchronisation done and the exact verbatim script inserted.
- Of course, a video file is available.
- Release date DVD/BD: January 2018 (deadline subtitles expired)
- Release date on-line versions: December 2017 (deadline subtitles still open)
- By now, we have subtitles in English, English HI, Dutch, Swedish, German, Spanish, Icelandic.
- Specifically searching for translations in (Brazilian) Portuguese, French, Russian, Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, Hindi, Hungarian, Greek, Romanian, Hebrew, Czech, Japanese.
- Any other translation is very welcome too!

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SmallBrother
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Re: Seeking "Man From Earth" subtitlers!

Mon May 15, 2017 12:10 am

First of all, please do not be offended by my addition to your post. This is the internet and not always everything is what it seems. The security of our users comes first.

That being said, I like what you write and I will think about it if I can and want to contribute one way or another. For spiritual and privacy/security reasons ;-) I would not want to get paid anything though. Money I mean. Maybe a different kind of reward would be nice, but that's secundary. I'll think about that too. Anyway, I am Dutch, my English is not good enough, so I wouldn't be in the first step (see below) anyway.

For now, a few things for you to know:
The Man from Earth 2007 is a 1.5 hour movie and -depending on the language and the subtitler- the subtitles consist of 1100-1900 lines. This is roughly double the average. If the 2017 sequel is similar (and slightly longer), this means making subtitles would take (again roughly) 30 hours. Add another 10 hours if text is complex or difficult and another 10-15 hours for making synchronisation really nice and sharp. And that is if there is a written source - going from audio is slower and more risky. That, plus the fact that most subtitlers have other things to do as well, count on things not happening over night.

Anyway, the first step would be to have the English spoken text. Then transfer this into a subtitle, adding synchronisation (and possibly still ignoring technical limitations like CPS-ratio and line length). Then use this as source for other languages. At the same time the 'raw' English subtitle can (must) be edited so it falls within technical guidelines for CPS and line length. Technically/theoretically it is possible to have subtitles in any other language (not English) as the 'source' for other languages, but this wouldn't make it easier.

A few questions too, so other subtitlers know a bit better what to expect and what is being expected:
- Do you have anything already? I mean subtitles in English, so the synchronisation can some useful source for other languages? And/or the script in (any kind of) writing? This will be much easier and faster than going from audio-only. Keep in mind that 'subtitles' is not necessarily the same as 'script', due to limited amount of time and space.
- When will the movie be released? I mean two things: when will it be ready, so subtitlers can start? And when do you plan to have it officially released, so all subtitles should be ready?
- Why did you use a dedicated gmail.com email address as contact address? Why not an email address at your own domain name (richardschenkman.com)?

manfromearth
Posts: 59
Joined: Sun May 14, 2017 8:15 pm

Re: Seeking "Man From Earth" subtitlers!

Mon May 15, 2017 5:52 am

Hi, SmallBrother --
Thanks for responding so quickly!

I'll admit, I'm not sure I understand all of the technical aspects of your response ("CPS ratio"?), so I'll answer what I do know:

1) The new film is a little longer; the original had about 87 minutes of story, the new one has more like 95 minutes, but of course characters aren't talking the whole time. Indeed, there are multiple scenes where nobody says anything, so I would estimate that in the end, it has fewer lines than the original, or about the same number. As for the complexity of the language.... probably about the same level as the first one, no more so.

2) Yes, of course I have a script. Actors tend to change a few words here and there, however, so if it will make it easier for subtitlers, I will go through the entire script and make an accurate transcription of all the spoken dialogue as it appears in the finished film. This is usually called a "continuity script" and it's something I'm supposed to do anyway. (Although of course the people who created all the subtitles on the first movie in 2007 didn't have access to that!).

3) I'm not releasing the movie for several months -- that's why I'm starting this process NOW, so that people don't have to rush creating the subtitles. The movie itself IS complete, and ready for subtitlers to get to work on it. (It's having its world premiere on Saturday, June 10th, at a festival here in Los Angeles, but it won't be commercially released until the fall -- most likely October or November). I was never counting on things happening overnight!

4) I thought that using my [email address removed by SmallBrother] address would help establish my legitimacy. If people would prefer to contact me via my website or my personal gmail address, that's fine with me. I've always made myself very easy to find online. I'm not hiding!!

Having said that, trust works two ways... I'm going to have to deal with subtitlers whom I can trust to NOT upload the movie or show it to anybody until I release it myself. As I wrote in my post, my producing partner Eric Wilkinson and I WILL be uploading it ourselves for file-sharing, but we would like to "control the narrative," as they say, because I'm hoping that people treat us with the respect they gave Louis C.K., and actually pay something to watch the movie. (It took YEARS to break even on the first one because so many people just downloaded it).

If you have any more questions, or if there's more I need to know in order to get started, by all means please get in touch!!

Thanks again,
Richard

Martin1964
Posts: 104
Joined: Mon Apr 13, 2015 9:07 pm

Re: Seeking "Man From Earth" subtitlers!

Mon May 15, 2017 12:44 pm

Dear Richard,
I will contact you directly regarding this.

Kind regards,

manfromearth
Posts: 59
Joined: Sun May 14, 2017 8:15 pm

Re: Seeking "Man From Earth" subtitlers!

Tue May 16, 2017 8:13 am

Thank you, Martin1964, Do you have a way of doing that? I see that SmallBrother removed my email address....

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SmallBrother
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Re: Seeking "Man From Earth" subtitlers!

Tue May 16, 2017 8:47 am

manfromearth wrote:Thank you, Martin1964, Do you have a way of doing that? I see that SmallBrother removed my email address....

With a PM ("Private Message") through this forum it would be possible. Once again, this is THE ONLY SAFE WAY to communicate in private.
However, this project would need some coordination, private messages would only complicate that. So if anything, I would recommend posting in this forum topic and in this forum topic ONLY. Not by email, not by web form, phone, skype, facebook, or anything like hat. Not even smoke signals. ONLY through this forum.

minouhse
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Re: Seeking "Man From Earth" subtitlers!

Tue May 16, 2017 7:28 pm

@Richard; you have a PM ;)

manfromearth
Posts: 59
Joined: Sun May 14, 2017 8:15 pm

Re: Seeking "Man From Earth" subtitlers!

Wed May 17, 2017 12:29 am

SmallBrother, what precisely is the problem with allowing people to contact me directly? Perhaps they prefer to be discreet..... I don't mind. I do find the PM's at this forum hard to access. It seems as though they need to be downloaded as files just to be read, and that's time-consuming and bothersome. Or am I doing it wrong?

Flitskikker
Posts: 135
Joined: Sat Jun 25, 2016 1:03 am

Re: Seeking "Man From Earth" subtitlers!

Thu May 18, 2017 11:56 am

I've sent you an email! :)

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Funchalense
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Re: Seeking "Man From Earth" subtitlers!

Thu May 18, 2017 2:34 pm

manfromearth wrote:SmallBrother, what precisely is the problem with allowing people to contact me directly? Perhaps they prefer to be discreet..... I don't mind. I do find the PM's at this forum hard to access. It seems as though they need to be downloaded as files just to be read, and that's time-consuming and bothersome. Or am I doing it wrong?


Maybe you are doing it wrong.
Go here : ucp.php?i=pm&folder=inbox
An then click on pm you want read,only that, no need to download or anything else.
It's simple! :wink:

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SmallBrother
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Re: Seeking "Man From Earth" subtitlers!

Fri May 19, 2017 10:00 am

manfromearth wrote:I do find the PM's at this forum hard to access.

Forum PM's should be fairly easy to handle. Make sure you are logged in. Clicking on that link of Funchalense should do the job. Or (it's the same thing) click on the envelop icon on the top right side of the screen or the link "Private messages" and you should get to an interface very similar to an email client (inbox, sent items, etc.). Click on the subject and you should see the contents of the message. I don't know what you mean with "downloading as files" and what is bothersome nor what you could be doing wrongly. If for you none of this works and it's completely different, describe what's going on, maybe add a screenshot and we'll see.

manfromearth wrote:what precisely is the problem with allowing people to contact me directly? Perhaps they prefer to be discreet.....

Contacting you otherwise than by PM or a public forum post is not a good idea, simply because privacy is not guaranteed. Please note that subtitling is not legal everywhere and not all entities have kosher ways. My intuition says you are who you say you are and your intentions are good and genuine. That's why I cooperate and approved your post. But I am only human, so my intuition is no guarantee. And even if my intuition is right, there could be third parties which you and I are not aware of - they could intercept communication and reveal private data. That's why, as forum moderator, I am asking you not to ask people to contact you by email (for example) and I am advising users not to do so. We get ideas and proposals similar to yours every now and then, and they are treated equally (see search.php?keywords=warning+advice ). Please understand and, once again, do not feel offended.

I don't really see a point in "being discrete". Given what I wrote above, whatever should not be told to the world, should not be told to you, especially not by email or so. Further, I think in teamwork open communication is the key, not discretion.

Martin1964 wrote:I will contact you directly regarding this.
minouhse wrote:@Richard; you have a PM ;)
Flitskikker wrote:I've sent you an email! :)

:) Funny. But okay, so be it. Me myself, I am using VPN's and pissing-off-the-NSA-grade-encryption when writing an email to my mother to talk about the weather. About Man From Earth, I will make a public post.

So, back to the topic.

I like your idea. I think it's a modern and sympathetic way of looking at things. I appreciate that and I would enjoy cooperating.

manfromearth wrote:the technical aspects of your response

I think no need to explain what exactly is CPS and similar stuff. All you need to know is that subtitling is not the same as translating a book. The most important difference is the limited amount of time and space. Limited time, because the subtitle must appear when speech starts and disappear before the next dialogue starts. Plus the fact that average reading speed is limited and typically much slower than speech. Also space is limited, because only so much text fits on the screen. And the reader has only one chance. Confusion, distraction, complicated phrases and so should be avoided. So the subtitler must not only be a good translator, but also be a creative one AND know well about subtitling guidelines AND know how to compress and simplify.

manfromearth wrote:I have a script.

Hm, makes sense ;-)
Yes, it will help A LOT if you provide the script. It will make things easier and faster for subtitlers and avoid mistakes. If the actors only changed a few insignificant words here and there, the actual meaning never changed, and nothing was added or left out, then the original script would suffice. But I know actors sometimes can go quite far off-script. If that's the case, then a continuity script would be better. Otherwise a subtitler could wrongly translate the script instead of the actual speech.

manfromearth wrote:I'm not releasing the movie for several months

June 10th would be too soon to get anything done (but I guess you don't need subtitles for that), but October or November would be very possible.

manfromearth wrote:I'm going to have to deal with subtitlers whom I can trust to NOT upload the movie or show it to anybody until I release it myself.

That was gonna be one of my follow-up questions. I understand you want to keep control and you can count on me not leaking the movie. But then again, those are only words and that's only me. I would advice you to listen to your intuition ;-)

So now practically.

I don't know what the three other users wrote you and why they wrote privately, so all I can say now is that I would be happy to work together with them on this project. We would have to figure out who can/wants to do what.

This is roughly what I think needs to be done and in what order:
0. [Any cooperating subtitler] See the 2007 movie.
1. [Richard] Create a movie file (only ONE version, I think .AVI would be best) and make it available to the one(s) doing #4 and #5.
2. [Richard] Check the script and -probably- make a continuity script.
3. [Any cooperating subtitler] See the 2017 movie.
4. [Subtitler A] Transfer the verbatim English script into a subtitle file, accurately synched to the video file (in-cue, out-cue, spotting), but regardless of CPS and line length.
5. [Subtitler B] Audio/visual check and corrections of #4.
For each language:
6. [Language-specific Subtitler C] Translate the verbatim English file into a language subtitle file according to all technical and linguistic subtitling guidelines (so now including limited CPS, line length, etc. and with appropriate compression and adjusted outcues, merges and splits).
7. [Language-specific Subtitler D] Technical and linguistical check of #6.

And okay, some security stuff.

I think the MFE-team should communicate only by forum posts in this topic or if necessary by PM. If anybody prefers solely non-public communication, we can find a solution for that.

The video file should be .AVI without any alien codecs (720p or even 480p would be enough) and made accessible by private torrent. It could be password protected. The torrent file (plus credentials) can be sent to a protonmail account to be set up by the subtitlers. This account can also be used to send subtitle files up and down - if used with a VPN. The video file should be made available something like two weeks or so before the subtitlers actually need it. The video file should be downloaded only through VPN with IPv6 disabled. Please don't ask me why ;-) If some M-team subtitler currently doesn't have a VPN, he/she can ask me for help and advice on how to organise this. DO NOT mention publicly you don't have a VPN, tell me only by PM.

Btw, like I said before, provided you stick to the original plan ("people everywhere on the planet can stream and download the movie on the same day, for a small reasonable fee. We also plan to release the movie for free on a "pay what you will” honor system"), I don't care about money, but as reward for my (our?) work I would appreciate a line of written text somewhere:
"Thanks to the subtitlers of opensubtitles.org for their cooperation" or so. If anybody cooperating prefers something else or to get paid, that's fine with me. For security reasons, for payments I would advice Bitcoin (and done the right way).

That's all I can think of for this moment :)

manfromearth
Posts: 59
Joined: Sun May 14, 2017 8:15 pm

Re: Seeking "Man From Earth" subtitlers!

Sat May 20, 2017 3:45 am

Wow, thanks for that incredibly detailed message. Yes indeed, that's the plan. The only element I'm not seeing is how we make sure that all the major languages are covered. At the moment I've got a volunteer for Dutch... and that's it.

I've been buried this week prepping the movie (and ancillary materials) for this June 10th premiere, but I will turn to the continuity script over the next few weeks.

Yes, from the (very) little I know about the technical aspects of creating the subtitles, someone needs to create English subtitles first. So I guess I'm in the market for a volunteer to do that? Subtitler A, if you will.. that's where it all starts, right?

You're losing me a little bit with "password-protected private torrents".. I know nothing about that. And "protonmail"? Never heard of it.But if the cooperating subtitlers set it up and all I have to do is submit files, that's no problem. (For what it's worth, I have a VPN).

I can give people more than two weeks... I'd like to get going on this in July, if possible, August at the latest.

As for giving people credit -- that's my pleasure. When you see a foreign film in the cinema, the very last credit is always, "Subtitles by...." and that's fine with me -- I believe people should get credit for their work, including OpenSubtitles.org. I can post thanks on our web site, and I'm open to any other suggestions when it comes to thanking/recognizing people or organizations. But I don't know the first thing about using Bitcoin.

Finally... if you, or anybody else has concerns about me being who I say I am, I'm open to suggestions on how to address that. Can I post a video, maybe? My partners Eric Wilkinson, Emerson Bixby and I own the property, so nobody working on this project need fear that they are violating any sort of copyright if they are making subtitles at my request!

So, what's the first step?
Thanks,
RS

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SmallBrother
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Re: Seeking "Man From Earth" subtitlers!

Mon May 22, 2017 12:44 am

manfromearth wrote:So, what's the first step?

The first step is making a separate forum section, with access restricted to only you and the users involved (and the forum administrators and moderators). It is accessible and visible as "The Man From Earth Project" on the main forum page after logging in.
Here it is: viewforum.php?f=36

Let's continue the practical discussion there.

And let's keep this topic for anybody who has questions or translators who want to join in and announce themselves.


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SmallBrother
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Re: Seeking "Man From Earth" subtitlers!

Mon Jul 10, 2017 12:27 pm

Update (quite a bit is happening behind the curtains)

So far we have people for making the raw subtitle file (verbatim English script) and for subs in English, English HI, Dutch, German and Brazilian-Portuguese.

A few more languages would be very nice. With Spanish and French we would be covering a large part of the world. But of course any other language would be more than welcome too.

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