Subtitle location is often bad on DVDs

Discussion in 'DVD' started by John Lloyd, Nov 28, 2003.

  1. John Lloyd

    John Lloyd Stunt Coordinator

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    I really enjoy foreign films and don't mind subtitles. However I am getting annoyed at the number of DVDs that make movies unwatchable when they try and guess how the movie will be viewed at home.

    Of course I am talking about the annoying practice of placing the subtitles UNDER the frame (in the black bar) instead of leaving them in the frame, as they were shown in the theater. Unfortunately when a sophisticated DVD player has a "zoom" mode, you end up seeing only half the subtitles, as the aspect ratio changes and more of the picture fills the screen.

    I just finished watching "Man on a Train" window boxed, using only the center of my 8 foot screen, just so I could read the subtitles when they were longer than a single line of text.

    I realize that they are probably trying to solve another problem: subtitles that are difficult to read because they blend into the picture. Can't they solve this problem by just choosing a better color for the subtitles? If the movie is watchable in the theater with subtitles, I want the same experience at home.
     
  2. Christ Reynolds

    Christ Reynolds Producer

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    Real Name:
    CJ
     
  3. TedD

    TedD Supporting Actor

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    CJ, You are definitely not understanding.

    Many of us have setups that NEVER show black bars on the screen.

    The widescreen image is expanded so that the black bars are no longer visible. It may be done by utilizing a constant height setup with a scaler or HTPC, or by using the zoom feature of a DVD player.

    Certain studios (coughfoxcough) (and others) have a bad habit of placing subtitles in the the black bars. In some cases it's only the second line, in others it's the whole blasted thing.

    The only way we can read the subtitles is by using less than the full area of our screen in the horizontal dimension and showing the black bars (which are never ever seen in a theater) that contain the subtitles.

    This totally destroys the illusion of a real theater that many of us here spent good money to create.

    Note that this only applies to those of us who have widescreen (1.77:1 or better) display devices.

    If a person still has a 4:3 standard TV, it's not a problem.

    Ted
     
  4. Roman T

    Roman T Extra

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    Ted,

    The real problem, as I see it, is that the dvd is widescreen but not anamorphic.

    If it'd been anamorphic, then there wouldn't be any spce left in the black bars for the subtitles...

    But I know what you mean, since I got my Momitsu I find myself ocassionaly using the Zoom button to scale non-anamorphic dvds, only to find I'm cropping the subtitles..
     
  5. Blu

    Blu Screenwriter

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    I could see this being a major problem for a person who can't hear very well or is deaf all together.

    I don't have a 16x9 tv yet but was curious how this would work with the subtitles.
     
  6. John Lloyd

    John Lloyd Stunt Coordinator

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    I think that the issue of subtitle color is really a red herring. If there was a color selected for the theater release, use that for the DVD.

    The best solution would be for the DVD player to allow the location of the subtitles to be moved by the user.
     
  7. greg_t

    greg_t Screenwriter

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    Sometimes it's not where the studio places the subtitles, it's where your dvd player places them. It seems as if most movies do not use the original burned in subtitles, but use player generated one. Any dvd I've had that has the original burned in subtitles places them appropriately. I think this is more an issue of how dvd players add in generated subtitles.
     
  8. Tom Tsai

    Tom Tsai Supporting Actor

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    I have the same problem too...especially with so many foreign films released non-anamorphically [​IMG]
     
  9. TedD

    TedD Supporting Actor

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  10. greg_t

    greg_t Screenwriter

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    Ted,

    Could you list a few of the Fox titles you are referring to? I didn't see any particular titles listed in your first post.
     
  11. TedD

    TedD Supporting Actor

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    The Longest Day, and Tora, Tora, Tora ate two that come to mind immediately.

    Ted
     
  12. Roman T

    Roman T Extra

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  13. MatthewLouwrens

    MatthewLouwrens Producer

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  14. Randy A Salas

    Randy A Salas Screenwriter

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  15. greg_t

    greg_t Screenwriter

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    Too bad the quality of their players has taken a downturn.
     

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