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Add Subtitles to Videos

2017-12-30

Subtitles can be added to videos without modifying the video data itself. This allows to enable the subtitles in the video player on demand.

Create a subtitle file in srt or ass format

This example shows a srt file

1
00:00:02,440 --> 00:00:05,375
line A1
line B1

2
00:00:05,476 --> 00:00:08,501
next line

Embed Subtitles in Video

In order too keep the video as is the streams are copied to the output file. For the subtitles a separate data stream is added which contains the subtitle information. Adding subtitles to MPEG4 video from a srt file

ffmpeg -i <videoInputFile.mp4> -f srt -i <subtitles.srt> -map 0:v -map 0:a -c copy -map 1 -c:s mov_text <videoOutputFile.mp4>
Adding subtitles to MKV video from a srt file
ffmpeg -i <videoInputFile.mkv> -f srt -i <subtitles.srt> -map 0:v -map 0:a -c copy -map 1 -c:s srt <videoOutputFile.mkv>
For specific cases ffmpeg supports a lot more subtitle options. When using vlc for playing MKV videos make sure it contains libmatroska support, otherwise the subtitles will not be shown.


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