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Thread: VirtualDub & Subtitles

  1. #1
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: Pushing my luck with Dromed

    VirtualDub & Subtitles

    I'm trying to use VirtualDub to stitch together a set of short .avi files and add subtitles (not for speech, just to add comments or explain the context etc).

    Here's the procedure I'd like to follow:
    Load each .avi file, cut out unwanted frames (a feature I only recently discovered), and load and tweak a subtitle file (each one has a start and end time). Finally, export a new single .avi file. It mostly works (the subtitle file is plain text with simple formatting) but cutting out frames causes problems.

    The times displayed in VirtualDub no longer match what I need to type in the subtitle file. E.g. If I cut out 6 seconds of frames in VirtualDub, everything shown after that will display the edited times, but I still have to use the original times in the subtitle file. Cutting out more frames makes it harder and harder to work out what times I need in the subtitle file.

    So far the best compromise I've found is to select what I want to cut (Home and End), then instead of deleting, go to 'Mask selected frames' and then clear the selection. That leaves two keyframes that can be jumped to. The original timeline remains intact but when watching the video, the images freeze while the audio continues, so there is a visual sign that an edit is required.

    Screenshot showing where the video will freeze while the timeline slider continues moving:


    Once all the subtitles are complete I can go back to each pair of keyframes delete them. The drawback is that those frozen frames make it hard to get a feel for how the video editing is going.

    Does anyone know if there's a solution, so that I can actually delete the frames and watch the video properly, and easily have the subtitles display where I want them?

    In the past I've done it in two stages: Stitch together all the short videos (and I would have cut some frames out if I'd known about it), then export as a single .avi. Then I'd load that single .avi and start working on the subtitles (I used a program called Aegisub which makes the timing easier to manage) before going back to VirtualDub to bake the subtitles into the final video. Creating the video twice is something I'd like to avoid as it takes a while.
    Last edited by R Soul; 23rd Aug 2020 at 15:14.

  2. #2
    Member
    Registered: Nov 1999
    Location: Deck 4 Cargo Bays
    I personally use the OpenShot video editor for my videos, I think it would do a better job of fixing the timecodes than VirtualDub. It's free software, so all you'd have to invest is your time to learn its interface.

  3. #3
    Member
    Registered: Jan 2001
    Location: Pushing my luck with Dromed
    Thanks for the suggestion. I've given it a go and the video editing side looks good (just found right-click > slice). I'm sure there's a subtitle thing, or suitable equivalent, somewhere.

    While I was waiting I went ahead and used VirtualDub for my current project (just need to generate the video), but I'll give OpenShot a proper look for my next one.

    Edit:
    The video editing of OpenShot is fine but adding subtitles has proved too much trouble. We can insert titles but to change the style (including the position) requires exporting to Inkscape, which I happen to have, but I'd like the subtitles to have an autosizing black background (or any solid colour), that would mean an separate export for each one, which isn't good.

    I did some searching and found something that's very good:
    VSDC Free Video Editor
    It has better support for text (I can set the style of the first box and then copy and paste for further subtitles, with one button to shrink to fit and other to centre horizontally).
    It took a bit to get the hang of how to properly add new clips (it uses layers, but if you go with the default of inserting into the current layer it inexplicably shoves the previous clip to the end of the new one...)
    Last edited by R Soul; 28th Aug 2020 at 19:32.

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