How to deal with subtitle desynchronization ?

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How to deal with subtitle desynchronization ?

Post by Annelise »

There is nothing more annoying that watching a foreign movie with subtitles that are not in synch....
but unsynchronized subs are not a fatality!

Here is a guide to show you how to re-synchronize your subtitles and finally be able to watch that underground Russian movies form 1925 in English (well OK they only had silent movies at that time, but still :-))

Case n°1: The subtitles are delayed in a "constant" way throughout the movie. They are either displayed before or after the audio, but the offest remains the same until the end of the movie.
In that case "Good ol" ConvertXtoDVD 5 (not that old actually!) will do the job just fine. All you need to do is use the offset feature in the Subtitles section:

1. Click on the "Subtitles" tab under the preview, and insert your subtitle file (you cando this with any sub format)
2. Click on the ... icon at the right of the subtitle file , then click on "show advanced" in the window that opens.
3. You will see the "offset option". If the subtitles are displayed BEFORE the audio, enter a "positive" value (the value is in milliseconds). If they are displayed AFTER, then enter a negative value (ie - 600). The preview is here to check the result. Enter a value, then play the video. It is a matter of "tiptoing" here until you get the right result: try with a low value first, then increase or decrease it until the audio and the subtitles match.

Case n°2 The offset is too big or grows bigger within the movie.
Then you need a specialized software to correct the delay. We recommend Subtitle Workshop:, because it's free, easy to use and it does the job very well.

1. Open the program, click on "File" "load subtitles" at the top left side to load your subtitle file. If your video has the same name as the sub file, it will also load automatically. Otherwise click on "movie "open" and load your video.
Note: Subtitle workshop doesn't support a lot of video formats, meaning that most of the time it will be unable to display the video image. However it will play the audio, which is only what you need anyway.

Your subtitle will display with the exact timings, and you can play the video with the player, the video (or audio) will play with the subtitles, so you can realize how bad the desynch is. I will not detail all the options offered by the software, fell free to explore it further. One nice feature for instance is that you can change/ rewrite the text in the big square at the bottom.

2. To fix the suntitles delay, you need to identify two things: the exact timing of the first spoken line (which should also be the timing of the display of the first subtitle line) and that of the last spoken line. For this play the video and regardless of the subtitles display, note down the first lign and the last one of the movie.

3. Click on "Edit/ Timings/ Adjust/ Adjust Subtitles

4.There enter the values of the first and last lign, then click on "Adjust"
Tah-dah, as by magic, the software has rearranged your subs and the desynchronization is gone. Bye bye !!!

You need to save the file with the new timings, simply go to "file" save as"
You can now insert the video and subtitle file into ConvertX to convert your video to DVD :-)

NB: if this doesn't work that I strongly advise to drop the subtitle file which certainly corrupted or badly timed, and download the file from another source.
Some good websites for downloading subs are: for series subtitles

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